Over 6 million fatal, injury, and property damage car crashes occurred in the US in 2015 alone.
While some people walk away from car crashes with minor injuries, other car crashes can lead to life-changing injuries. Car accident amputations are injuries that can alter the course of a person life. It can also affect their financial situation.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that led to the amputation of a body part, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about car accident amputations and understand your rights, keep reading.
Car Accidents: A Worldwide Epidemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified road traffic accidents as a priority. In their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they seek to halve the number of deaths and injuries from car crashes worldwide.
Every year, 1.25 million people in the world die from car crashes. If road traffic accidents continue to increase, they’re predicted to be the 7th leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. As of today, car crashes are the leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 29.
With 264 million registered vehicles and 218 million valid drivers, the US has some of the busiest roads in the world. The amount of traffic is one of the largest contributors to the number of car crashes in the US every year. The over 40,000 deaths resulting from car crashes has led policymakers to label traffic-related death a public health crisis.
Amputation Statistics in the US
When all or part of a limb or extremity is surgically removed for medical reasons, that’s considered an amputation. In the US alone, there are over 2 million people living with an amputated limb. Every year, that number increases by approximately 185,000 people.
The leading cause of traumatic amputations is car accidents. This is followed by:
- workplace accidents
- agricultural accidents
- firearms and explosives accidents
- ring traction accidents
- building and car door accidents
Of all trauma-related amputations, the upper-limb or arms are the most common. The risk of traumatic amputations also increases with age. Those age 85 and older are the highest risk for traumatic amputations.
Causes of Car Accident Amputation
The most common reason for an amputation is poor circulation. When a limb or extremity is damaged and the arteries become more narrow, your cells don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need from the bloodstream.
When that tissue dies and/or becomes infected, a disease known as peripheral arterial disease develops. When the tissue can’t be salvaged, this may lead to an amputation.
Sometimes, a traumatic injury can damage the tissue beyond repair. When reconstructing a limb or extremity isn’t an option, surgical amputation may be the only option. This could mean the amputation of an arm, leg, finger, toe, etc.
Amputating a body part usually prevents further damage to the affected body part. It may also be the only option for saving a person’s life.
When any of the following 3 situations occur, amputations might be the only option:
- Vascular disease. This is the number one cause of amputation at 54%. When your body doesn’t properly carry blood throughout the body, your blood flow is decreased. When the blood flow is decreased to a particular limb, that extremity requires amputation.
- Trauma. The second most common cause of amputation, trauma makes up 45% of all annual amputations. Trauma might involve a car accident, a work accident, or even burns.
- Infection. Infections can kill skin tissue. It’s possible for an infection to become so severe that the affected area requires amputations. Sometimes, traumatic amputations can lead to profuse bleeding. This can cause life-threatening complications such as shock and infection.
When an amputation occurs as a result of a car accident, it falls under traumatic amputation or infection.
Complications with Amputations
Having a limb amputated can be a life-changing event. When complications occur, the adjustment is made more difficult.
A car accident amputation can be complicated by the following:
- Phantom limb. Phantom limb pain occurs in 50-80% of all amputees. It’s a phenomenon causing amputees to feel discomfort or pain in the part of the body that was amputated. It can also cause a sensation that the body part is still attached.
- Infection. Because of the size of the incision, infection is a possibility after an amputation. The stump can also form painful blisters. It’s not uncommon for the skin to break down.
- Mental health. Performing daily tasks can become more difficult after an amputation and require significant adjustment. The amputation may also affect body image and cause psychological and emotional issues. This may lead to depression and anxiety as well as other mental health complications.
- Muscle weakness. Because an amputation can cause immobility or reduced mobility, the muscles become weak. During recovery, some muscles will be reconditioned to carry more weight or perform new tasks.
When a doctor mistakenly amputates an extremity, there are legal complications to consider. If a doctor made a mistake in performing an amputation, this may be a case of medical malpractice.
Recovering From an Amputation
Immediately following an amputation surgery, the wound should be sealed. This involves surgical staples or stitches as well as draining fluid from the affected area. Thick layers of bandage will prevent the wound from developing an infection.
Sometimes, a limb or digit can be reattached. Depending on the nature of the injury, it may be possible to reattach the body part as long as it’s cared for properly.
However, patients often experience a significant loss of nerve function following reattachment, which limits the feasibility of the option. In the majority of cases, a car accident amputation will require a prosthetic limb.
A prosthetic limb may be fitted between a few weeks and a few months after their initial surgery. How quickly they’re fitted and able to adjust depends on how their wound heals.
Prosthetics that mimic the shape, texture, and appearance of a limb, have changed in the last while. New prosthetics work better than their predecessors and are customizable.
They’ve become a way for amputees to express their personality and to accessorize. Sports prosthetics are available to give amputees the opportunity to participate in activities.
A large part of the recovery process after a car accident amputation is rehabilitation. This involves both physical and occupational therapy.
Rehabilitation is focused on strengthening the individual. It works on improving endurance and allowing the body to recover from losing a limb. Exercises will help your body learn how to perform daily tasks and functions as well as how to use a prosthesis.
Generally speaking, a car crash amputation requires a long period for recovery. Learning how to use a prosthetic device along can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, Coping with these changes may take a significant period of time to come to terms with.
Costs of an Amputation
The hospital costs for amputations totaled more than $8 billion in 2009. But the costs for an individual who experiences an amputation are more than just financial.
Beyond the medical expenses involved in the initial surgery, an amputation can lead to loss of wages. With car accident amputations, it’s very likely that the affected individual won’t be able to work while they recover.
During that time, they may be unlikely to support themselves or their family without compensation. While Social Security disability benefits are available, not everybody will qualify.
In addition to the costs of medical expenses and recovery time, the cost of prosthetics and rehabilitation has an impact on the well-being of the individual and their loved ones.
Seeking Help After a Car Accident Amputation
Fortunately, most people who experience a car accident amputation are able to recover. They have a high rate of recovery and a high degree of function.
The immediate period following an amputation can cause both physical and psychological damage that is difficult to recover from. Both the financial and physical costs of a car accident amputation have a lasting impact.
But if a car accident amputation is the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. An attorney can help you negotiate with your insurance companies as well as a defense attorney.
Lawyers with experience in car accident amputation will have knowledge around medical bills, investigations, as well as gathering witnesses. If you’ve been involved in a car accident that led to an amputation, you should contact a lawyer to understand all of your rights and entitlements.
Have You Been Involved in an Accident?
With some of the busiest streets in the world, the US is a leader in the number of traffic-related accidents, injuries, and deaths. While some people are lucky enough to walk away with minor injuries, others experience life-changing injuries. A car accident amputation is one injury that carries with it physical, psychological, and financial damage.
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, a legal professional can help you understand what compensation you deserve. Contact us to find out what your rights are.
If youve been injured, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you. Your case and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephens 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee. If you have any questions about this article or want to visit with a lawyer for free, call Stephen at (225) 500-5000 or contact us here. Or if you prefer, feel free to take advantage of our live chat system. Get Even! Call Stephen! Stephen Babcock