What Accidents Lead to Traumatic Amputations?

What Accidents Lead to Traumatic Amputations?There are millions of people across the country who live with limb loss. When that loss is the result of a traumatic event, the injury is called a “traumatic amputation,” and it happens more often than you mike think.

According to the Amputee Coalition, approximately 45% of all limb loss is the result of trauma. Unlike other types of injuries, the loss of a limb will always be permanent, and the effects of that injury will always be with the victims.

Traumatic amputations can be the result of:

  • Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents. Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of traumatic amputations. Body parts can be crushed in a crash, and motorcycle riders may be at greater risk of having a body part severed.
  • Industrial accidents. Industrial worksites pose a greater risk of amputation injury. People who work with power tools, heavy machinery, electricity, and machine presses can easily lose a hand or arm.
  • Defective products. If a product is designed to slice through material, it may also slice through a body part.
  • Dog bites. The risk of limb loss is higher for younger children simply because children are bitten by dogs more often than adults are, and because their limbs are smaller, meaning it may be easier for a dog to damage more of the limb or appendage.
  • Lawn maintenance. Along with dog bites, lawn mowers account for most childhood limb and body part loss, accounting for as many as 600 amputation injuries per year.
  • Another injury. Sometimes, the amputation is not the injury; it is the necessary result of another initial injury. Severe burns and crushing injuries, for example, may require amputation to stop tissue necrosis or life-threatening bleeding.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, other common causes are combat injuries, frostbite, and medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, or vascular diseases.

What are the complications associated with amputation injuries?

Traumatic amputations have risks of other conditions and complications, including:

  • Increased risk of infection. Any time a person has an open wound, he or she is at risk for infection. For some victims of traumatic amputation, there is also a risk of debris (including bits of crushed bone) entering the bloodstream. An untreated infection can quickly devolve into sepsis, a potentially life-threatening inflammatory reaction to that infection. But amputees who use prosthetics are also at increased risk, because the skin near the prosthetic can break down.
  • Muscle atrophy. The muscles around the “stump” of an amputated limb or body part will eventually begin to atrophy. This will lead to a change in the size of the stump at the end of the residual limb. It can also affect mobility and balance, making a person more prone to fall.
  • Muscle contracture. This is a “semi-permanent or permanent limitation of movement in the soft tissues. It is caused by shortening or stiffening of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin that is in close proximity to your residual limb.”
  • Blood clots. People with lower-extremity amputations are at particular risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Failure to identify and treat DVT can cause part or all of the clot to break off and travel to the lungs, where it blocks the flow of blood. This is called a pulmonary embolism, and it can be fatal.
  • Phantom limb pain. This is a concern unique to between 60-80% of all amputation injury victims. The person can still “feel” the missing limb or body part, and may experience occasional or chronic feelings of “shooting, stabbing, cramping, pins and needles, crushing, throbbing, or burning” in the missing limb, according to the Mayo Clinic.
  • Mental and emotional trauma. According to the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, the “prevalence of psychiatric disorders among amputees has been found to be in the range of 32% to 84% including depression rates 10.4%–63% [and] posttraumatic stress disorder 3.3%–56.3%.” The reasons for this can include everything from worrying about how you will walk or hug your children, to reckoning with disfiguring scars, to living in chronic pain every single day for which there can literally be no cure.

On top of all this, traumatic amputations are also incredibly expensive injuries; according to the Journal of American Orthopedic Surgery, the average cost of a hospital stay associated with an amputation is more than $51,000, and most victims will undergo “multiple procedures, readmissions, and reamputations.”

In short, losing a limb will not only affect a person’s entire life plan, but also create an unfathomable financial burden on the victim and his or her family. Insurance companies do not always cover revision surgeries, leaving families to deal with this burden on their own.

Who is liable for a traumatic amputation injury?

One of the first things your St. Louis limb loss attorney will do is review the circumstances of your accident to determine who is liable. It could be another driver, or the manufacturer of a defective product. It could be the owner or operator of a worksite that did not put safety precautions in place to protect workers or passers-by. It could be a medical professional who failed to diagnose a condition or infection that caused tissue necrosis.

We cannot know who is liable until we review the scene of the accident and the medical reports. But if another person or entity is responsible for your injuries, we can help you seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills, including future costs associated with home renovation, adaptive technologies, protheses, rehabilitation, and more
  • Wage loss, including a loss of earning potential if you can no longer work in your position or at all
  • Pain and suffering for you, and loss of companionship for your spouse
  • Property damage in the event of a car accident or other applicable accident

In some cases, victims may also be entitled to punitive damages. These are awarded as a way to punish a liable party who’s reckless or egregious behavior led to your injuries. Because these are complex cases, you want to speak with an attorney as quickly as you can, so you are not time barred from seeking compensation.

Traumatic amputations are truly catastrophic injuries. You should have to lose everything you worked for because of someone else’s negligence. To schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis injury attorney, please call The Hayden Law Firm Call at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.