Bartis Law Office, PLLC

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Bartis Law Office, PLLC

What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Amputation Injuries That You See When Clients Come To Your Office?

Trauma-related amputations are what I most commonly see and those stem from motorcycle accidents or motor vehicle accidents. The next type of amputations that I see stem from accidents like forestry accidents, construction accidents, and factory type work. It could be a simple negligence case, a simple motor vehicle-related case, or it may stem from an employer/employee situation where the employer failed to properly train the employee or failed to keep up with safety regulations.

How Do I Know How Much My Amputation Injury Case Or Claim Is Going To Be Worth?

There are so many factors that go into evaluating an amputee case. You will definitely need experts and their reports, life care plans, and documentation to outline the extent of the injury as well as the future care. With amputations, we have to look at the location of the amputation; is it a balance and mobility type assessment or dexterity assessment?

The loss of a lower limb is going to affect someone’s balance and mobility. An upper amputee situation is going to affect dexterity. What options do we have for prosthetics? Are there any expected surgeries in the future? What is the likelihood of infection to the stump? What are the emotional effects on the person? Is there post-traumatic stress disorder? What type of social limitations is this person going to have? Will it affect their marriage or their job? Having the right lawyer, who has handled these types of cases before, reach out to the experts to get all the reports that are necessary will help make a determination of what your amputation injury case is worth.

Do I Still Have A Case If The Accident That Caused My Amputation Was Partially My Fault?

Every single case is going to be assessed by who the parties involved are and who contributed to the accident and the injury. If your liability is determined to be greater than 50%, then that could prohibit a recovery on your part. If it is less than 50%, the insurance adjuster and the lawyers are going to assign a value to the case and then make a determination, based upon the percentage that is assigned, to reduce the overall value of the case. One of the things that you want to look at, if there is partial fault to the case, is pre-existing medical conditions. Did someone have diabetes or poor circulation prior to the injury that required amputation? That is the typical defense that the insurance companies try to use.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Filing A Personal Injury Claim For My Amputation Injury?

All injury cases in New Hampshire have a three-year statute of limitations. Sometimes, amputations occur immediately following the accident; they may even occur during the accident where the actual limb was severed at the moment of impact. Or, there may be traumatic injuries to the patient that result in medical personnel eventually making a determination to amputate a limb. Regardless of when the amputation occurs, if it is directly related to the injury, you will have three years from the accident to bring your claim. You do not have to settle your case within a three-year timeframe but you must file the initial complaint and start the lawsuit within three years of the accident or injury.

Will My Attorney Need To Retain Experts To Prove Liability And Damages Even Though My Injury Is Obvious?

Attorneys are going to need to prove every aspect of your case and every component of your damages. You, as the injured party, bear the burden of proving your case. To do so, the attorney is going to hire anyone and everyone who is beneficial to your case. We need to get records from the emergency room, your primary care physician, the surgeon who performed the amputation, and any psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor you saw. We will need to hire the equivalent of a financial planner or economist to demonstrate what type of lost earnings did occur and what future lost earnings are going to occur.

We are going to need a life care planner to work with your prosthetist. Every prosthetic is going to need adjustment and replacement about every three years. We have to map that out based upon your age, how often you are going to need treatment, and the aspect of future surgeries. When the initial injury occurs and the amputation is performed, there will be swelling to the stump and there will be some preliminary prosthetics applied. Once the swelling goes down, you will be fitted with a more permanent prosthetic. At some point, that stump is going to become problematic in circulation, blood flow, skin irritation, and abrasions. That will lead to infections and you may have to go back for future surgeries to have a rescission, where the stump will actually be shortened.

Whether it is an upper or lower body amputation, we need to assess if it affects balance, mobility, dexterity, and phantom pain versus stump pain. Stump pain comes from the actual damaged group of nerves at the end of the stump. Phantom pain is the sensation of pain in the brain. How does that affect you, from a psychological point of view? All of these need to be assessed for someone who has gone through an amputation. All of these factors need to be documented and if we go to court, all of these factors will need to have testimony provided by various experts and providers.

I Will Require Long-Term Medical Care For My Amputation Injury. Will Future Costs Of Rehabilitation Be Included In A Settlement?

Future medical costs should be included in any settlement. We need to make a determination of what medical costs, pain and suffering, and costs relating to prosthetics that you will need, plus what modifications to your home are needed. Can you drive the same vehicle or do you now need to modify the vehicle? You need to be able to get to medical appointments and follow through with the homecare that is provided. Will there be any type of future surgeries that are necessary? No one knows exactly what future costs are going to be but these are discussions that we need to have with the insurance company. We need to have some allocation of future costs, as speculative as they may be. Amputation cases are treated differently than someone who has a soft tissue injury or a fracture.

Do Amputation Cases Typically End Up Going All The Way To Trial Versus Reaching Some Sort Of Settlement Agreement?

As with most cases, everything comes down to the timing and the circumstances from which the injury is sustained. Plaintiff’s attorneys love bringing in an injured party to demonstrate to the jury the loss of a limb and the impact this has had on this person’s life, and seeking the best recovery for them. Defense attorneys and insurance companies do not want to walk into court, see someone come in with the loss of a limb, and have to defend that case. Oftentimes, what it comes down to is the settlement amount involving future costs.

You may end up going to trial on the issue of damages because the fault will be agreed upon or stipulated to but the number of future damages will be argued. You may see these cases settle because the insurance companies do not want to be in the public eye for an amputation case. However, insurance companies are not going to write big checks to avoid the public eye; they are going to scrutinize what the injured party is doing going forward. You may have a trial in front of a judge without a jury to talk about the level of damages, the extent of damages, and the extent of the future costs of replacing prosthetics, future surgeries, and dealing with infections and mobility or dexterity issues.

For more information on Amputation, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (603) 880-1300 today.

Robert Bartis, Esq.

Contact For A Personalized Case Evaluation
(603) 880-1300