A loss of limb, no matter how it happens, is a difficult and traumatic experience. However, losing a limb in a serious accident is an entirely different level of trauma, leaving a person in shock and being forced to deal with the aftermath of the incident as well as their medical and physical challenges. Amputation injuries can cost upwards of thousands and thousands of dollars, including prosthetics and rehabilitative therapy, as well as lost wages and disability.
What is a traumatic amputation injury?
Nearly two million Americans live with amputations, and about half of those injuries were caused by trauma, meaning they occurred in an accident. Some of the more common side effects experienced by traumatic amputation patients include:
- Infections at the site of injury
- Loss of dexterity and mobility
- Stump pain and phantom limb pain
- Muscle tightening and contracture
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Body image issues and social isolation
Further, the lifetime healthcare costs for a person with an amputation injury can run over $509,000, as compared to about $361,000 for those without. These numbers do not take into account psychological counseling, loss of wages, and the pain and suffering experienced by most amputees. These types of injuries are not just physical – they affect every single aspect of a person’s life.
What is a crushing injury?
A crushing, also called crush, injury happens when a forceful or prolonged compression to a part of the body causes damage. This damage can occur to the muscles, nerves, tissues, blood vessels, and bones. The majority of crush injuries affect a person’s legs, but can also affect the arms, hands, and fingers. Such injuries can be anything ranging from a worker being caught in a machine to a car door closing on your hand.
Crush injuries can range in severity from someone losing a finger to needing their leg amputated or even to a fatality . Post-injury complications can include:
- Compartment syndrome
- Paralysis of the injured limb
- Sensory and motor disturbances
- Acute kidney injury
- Amputation of the injured limb
One of the reasons crush injuries are so dangerous is because heavy compression on the body can damage the cells responsible for releasing calcium and potassium, and removing sodium. When this process fails, a person’s muscles can break down and release a protein called myoglobin into the blood, causing a condition called rhabdomyolysis. Also called rhabdo, this is a very serious medical condition. Per the CDC:
Rhabdo can cause many problems, including:
- Kidney damage or kidney failure
- Dangerous heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Permanent disability
Patients will require immediate medical treatment for rhabdo in order to prevent permanent damage. In some cases, amputation may be the only remedy to ensure the patient’s survival.
What are common causes of traumatic amputation and crushing injuries?
The majority of these types of injuries happen as a result of workplace or motor vehicle accidents. For example, employers must train their workers on proper safety procedures, provide the appropriate safety equipment, and a well-maintained work environment with suitable and safe tools and machines. Work-related amputation and crush injuries often occur during incidents involving:
- Moving machinery and blades
- Powered doors and elevators
- Dropped heavy loads and cargo
Outside of work, thousands of Americans also experience these types of injuries in things like car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Pedestrians and cyclists are also at risk of amputation and crush injuries depending on the circumstances of their accident.
How are amputation and crush injuries treated?
The treatments for traumatic amputations and crush injuries depend on the severity and extent of the trauma experienced, as well as how soon the patient receives medical attention following the accident. Treatments can include emergency hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and possible prosthetic devices.
Patients often suffer ongoing complications like nerve damage, chronic pain, and limited mobility, which may necessitate a lifetime of treatments and therapies.
There is also no set timeline for how long it might take these types of injuries to heal. Obviously, a traumatic amputation injury is permanent. Additionally, some crush injuries may never fully heal, while other minor crush injuries may heal in a few weeks. However, some are so severe they will require a surgical amputation or ongoing medical care.
Am I entitled to financial compensation for my amputation or crush injury?
If your catastrophic injury was due to the negligence, carelessness, or reckless intent of another – you are likely eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. Your claim can help you recover compensation for the losses you have experienced (and will experience) as a result of your injuries. The point of an injury claim, especially for a severe injury, is to both help right the wrong you have experienced and to pay for the medical care you need. This also includes any loss of income, as well as your pain and suffering, which we know can be overwhelming after a traumatic crush or amputation injury.
Financial compensation can also provide the support you and your family need for assistance with daily tasks, home and vehicle modification, physical therapy, and any other expenses related to your accident.
The personal injury attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP in Los Angeles are here to help. If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury like a traumatic amputation or crush injury, we want to help you protect your rights to financial compensation. Let us handle the legal work while you take the time you need to heal. To discuss your case, call our office at 310-474-1582 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, remote consultation with one of our experienced Los Angeles lawyers today.
Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
For more than three decades, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has built a reputation as one of California’s leading law firms. Founded by a family of attorneys spanning three generations, John McNicholas and sons, Patrick and Matthew, have tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict on behalf of clients. Learn More about McNicholas & McNicholas