San Antonio Amputation Lawyer
San Antonio Amputation Lawyer
An amputation injury is considered a catastrophic injury because it comes with immense physical, emotional, and even financial consequences. Amputations can be the direct result of a medical condition or a traumatic accident, such as a motor vehicle collision. No matter the cause though, amputations are life-changing. Many amputees face a lifetime of expensive medical care which causes them to miss work. The combination of medical bills and lost wages are incredibly stressful on top of the pre-existing physical and mental trauma associated with the loss of a limb. In order to take care of some of the financial stress associated with this injury, many amputees choose to hire a San Antonio amputation lawyer at Janicek Law and file a personal injury claim.
At Janicek Law, our team of amputation lawyers understands the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a complete amputation can have on a person. That’s why we dedicate our careers to fighting for the justice of amputees across the San Antonio area. In order to schedule a free consultation with us, call 210-366-4949 today.
What is an Amputation?
An amputation is basically a loss of limb. People can lose a limb either through a surgical amputation or a traumatic amputation. A surgical amputation generally occurs when a medical condition necessitates a loss of limb in an operating room. Meanwhile, a traumatic amputation occurs during some kind of accident.
How Many Amputations Occur in the U.S. Every Year?
According to the Amputee Coalition, approximately 185,000 amputations happen in the U.S. on an annual basis. The coalition also estimates that approximately 2 million Americans are living with an amputated limb.
Common Types of Amputations
There are upper limb amputations and lower limb amputations. Upper limb amputations involve the fingers, hands, and arms. Meanwhile, lower limb amputations involve the toes, feet, and legs.
Additionally, there are complete amputations and partial amputations. These terms are generally associated with traumatic amputations because a victim can either suffer a partially severed limb or a completely severed limb from an accident. In some cases of a partial amputation or a complete amputation, the doctor can save the limb and reattach it.
Common Causes of Amputations
Loss of a limb can be the result of a traumatic accident, medical malpractice, or a medical condition. Listed below are the most common causes of amputation injuries in the U.S.
- Motor vehicle accidents such as car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc.
- Industrial and workplace accidents at a construction site or a factory, for example
- Agricultural accidents during farming or just tending to a neighborhood lawn
- Explosions, shootings, and other domestic violence incidents
- Surgical errors, medication errors, and medical misdiagnosis incidents
- Gangrene, which is tissue death due to a lack of blood circulation
- Cancerous tumors in the limbs
- Neuroma, which is an overgrowth of nerve cells at an injury site
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) which is when the arteries become blocked or narrowed, therefore leading to little to no blood circulation
- Uncontrolled or untreated diabetes, which can lead to infected, unhealed wounds and tissue death
According to the Amputee Coalition, the majority (54%) of amputations in the U.S. are caused by vascular diseases such as peripheral artery disease, diabetes, and gangrene. Meanwhile, traumatic accidents cause 45% of amputations.
How Does Amputation Surgery Work?
Medical care for amputation injuries is often complex. Not one amputation case is the same due to the variety of incidents that can lead to limb injury. However, surgeons will generally accomplish the following during an amputation surgery:
- Remove all dead tissue and destroyed bone in the affected limb
- Smooth out the bone left behind
- Seal blood vessels in the stump in order to prevent excessive bleeding
- Shape the muscles in the stump so that they can fit comfortably in a prosthetic device
- Stitch up the stump
- Wrap the stump in sterile bandages so that it can heal properly
It may take several weeks or months to recover from amputation surgery. During that time, amputees must take a full round of antibiotics in order to prevent infection. Most amputees will spend a few weeks in the hospital post-op, and then either go home or go to a rehabilitation center in order to learn how to be independent again.
Amputation is often considered life-saving medical treatment for a victim of a serious accident or health condition. However, that doesn’t mean that amputation doesn’t come with its own set of serious complications, including:
- Phantom limb pain
- Excessive bleeding
- Edema, which is basically swelling
- Infection during the healing process
- Muscle weakness
- Emotional distress associated with learning how to continue life with a severed body part
What is Phantom Limb Pain?
Possibly the most common complication associated with amputation injuries is phantom limb pain. This condition is basically chronic pain and discomfort in the missing limb because the brain continues receiving signals from the nerves in the stump. The best way to describe it is a “nervous system signal mix-up.” The brain and nervous system expect the missing limb to still be there, even if it’s not, so it keeps trying to send and receive signals. The brain misinterprets the signals it’s receiving from the stump as pain. Many amputees describe phantom limb pain as throbbing, burning, shooting, cramping, and pins and needles.
This complication alone can cause severe psychological distress to amputees during their healing process. The good news is that phantom limb pain often subsides with time, physical therapy, and emotional counseling.
Other Catastrophic Injuries That Amputees Often Suffer From
It’s common for victims of traumatic accidents to suffer from more than just traumatic amputation injuries. For example, someone who suffers amputation injuries in a motor vehicle accident may also suffer from the following traumatic injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Internal organ damage
- Neck injuries such as whiplash
- Major burns, road rash, lacerations, scars, and bruising
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of vision and hearing
Can I Sue for Amputation Injuries?
Yes, you can certainly file a lawsuit if your traumatic amputation injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. For example, if a drunk driver caused a car accident with you which resulted in amputation or another catastrophic injury, you could seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer at Janicek Law and file a personal injury lawsuit.
How to Prove That an Amputation Injury Was Caused by Negligence
A crucial element in all amputation lawsuits is the legal theory of negligence. If you and your legal team can’t prove that your amputation injury was the direct result of someone else’s negligence, then you likely won’t be able to recover adequate compensation. When you hire Janicek Law to take on your personal injury case, we’ll work to prove the four elements of negligence listed below.
- Duty of Care: Everyone owes each other a specific duty of care. For example, all drivers have a personal responsibility to keep each other safe on the roads. Doctors owe their patients a certain duty of care as well.
- Breached Duty of Care: The negligent person breached this duty of care.
- Causation: You suffered an amputation injury as a direct result of the negligent person’s breached duty of care.
- Damages: You suffered a variety of damages due to the negligent person’s conduct, and therefore, you deserve fair compensation.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover for a Traumatic Amputation?
Victims of amputation injuries and other serious injuries can recover a variety of economic and noneconomic losses, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical therapy expenses
- Expenses related to necessary medical equipment such as prosthetic limbs, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.
- Counseling expenses for amputees who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other nervous disorders
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if the amputation injury prevents the person from completing all of their previous job duties
- Loss of enjoyment of life
San Antonio amputation attorneys at Janicek Law are passionate about providing closure and justice to those who have suffered traumatic and surgical amputations. Allow us to seek compensation on your behalf while you recover from the physical and mental trauma of your amputation injury.