The loss of a limb naturally has a devastating effect on your life and if the amputation is due to medical incompetence or occurs as a result of an accident, it is understandable for you to want to seek compensation.

Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence department at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, outlines your options for legal redress if you have suffered an amputation following medical negligence or a personal injury accident.

The need for amputation of  legs, arms, hands, feet, fingers or toes can happen because of a bad accident, for example at work or in a car crash, but it can also occur as a result of clinical negligence, where for example:

  • a surgeon operates in the wrong place;
  • there is a missed diagnosis, or a misdiagnosis, of a medical condition such as an aneurysm;
  • doctors fail to spot the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis orischaemia (a restriction in blood supply to tissues); or
  • you catch an infection in hospital which leads to complications.

Having an amputation can cause other complications, such as:

  • deep vein thrombosis;
  • pneumonia;
  • heart complications;
  • slow wound healing and wound infection; and
  • stump and ‘phantom limb’ pain.

You may also need further surgery, physiotherapy, counselling, and lifelong prosthetic limb fittings.

Negligence

To successfully claim compensation for your amputation, you need to prove the person responsible for your injuries was negligent. This means showing they owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty, and that you were injured as a result.

For injuries caused by a healthcare professional, the test laid out in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957) applies. This states that a medical professional is negligent if she or he fails to act in accordance with a practice that is considered acceptable by a responsible body of doctors.

How a solicitor can help

If you have had an amputation due to someone else’s negligence, you should get in touch with a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

They will be able to quickly assess whether you have a valid claim and if you do, will help you gather the evidence needed to strengthen your case, such as witness statements and medical reports. They can also arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will assess the cause of your injury and the effect it has had on your life.

As well as working hard to secure you the out-of-court compensation package you deserve or be with you in court if your case goes that far, a personal injury expert will help get you access to the care and support you require to adjust to life without your lost limb.

This includes liaising with specialist prosthetics providers and rehabilitation experts, as well as supporting you in getting any necessary adaptations made to your home or vehicles.

How much compensation you receive will depend on the effect your amputation has on your life and prospects, but could include damages for:

  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings;
  • medical expenses;
  • loss of potential earnings;
  • out of pocket expenses; and
  • adaptations required to your home.

For more information on claiming compensation for an amputation due to negligence, or any other personal injury issue, contact Therese Classon, a Partner at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot on 01626 202328 or email thereseclasson@wbw.co.uk.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.