Amputation solicitors

We understand that a successful compensation claim following an amputation can’t turn back the clock but it can go a long way towards alleviating the financial and practical difficulties that you may be facing. 

Compensation can help you regain your independence and help you and your family adjust to lifestyle changes as a result of your amputation. 

We use our specialist amputation claims experience to make a real difference for our clients. We ensure our clients get the maximum compensation possible and facilitate access to the most appropriate and effective rehabilitation to get their life back on track. 

Your amputation compensation claim will be tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. It is our aim to help you to get back to your pre-amputation lifestyle as far as you possible can.

Six figure compensation settlement for lower limb amputation claim

Boyes Turner LLP has negotiated a substantial settlement for a 65 year old amputee following...

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Failure to operate amputation negligence claim - £27,500 compensation recovered

Boyes Turner’s  amputation negligence solicitors  recovered £27,500 in...

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Passenger injured in taxi receives £337,500 compensation

Mrs M* sustained personal injury and other losses following a  road traffic accident . She...

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Amputation required after GP negligence - negligence claim settled for £210,000

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Your amputation claim

We are here to listen to you, to support you and to understand your lifestyle requirements and what you want to achieve every day.

You may need adapted accommodation, a modified car, customised prosthetics and other bespoke mobility aids to make life easier following an amputation. You might want to return to pre-accident hobbies such as water sports, swimming, cycling or skiing and need the right prosthesis to do so. We will work with you to accomplish your aims.

An amputation compensation claim can also help you gain access to therapies and specialist rehabilitation facilities who offer support to you and your family. They can help to increase your self-confidence and support you through the psychological impact of your amputation, including phantom pain. 

Your amputation may have impacted on your ability to work and your level of earnings. We can obtain compensation for your loss of earnings, loss of pension, and cost of retraining. 

Our amputation claim expertise

We have established relationships with amputation support organisations, prosthetic and rehabilitation experts. This enables us to have a strong understanding of amputation related challenges and how to tackle them, as well being up to date with the latest in prosthetic technology. 

We also work closely with experts in the fields of orthopaedics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, accommodation and care to implement the best, and most suited, amputee rehabilitation. We are here to provide help and support in the immediate and long term future.

Early financial assistance

You may not have to wait until the end of a successful amputation claim to receive financial assistance.

In certain cases, early financial assistance can be obtained to help cover financial losses incurred as a result of the amputation, for example as a result of not being able to work. 

Early financial assistance can also help to pay for immediate needs such as rehabilitation, medical treatment, mobility aids, prosthetics and care.

Making an amputation claim

Our expert solicitors have many years of experience bringing amputation claims on behalf of clients both where the amputation resulted from medical negligence, as well as from where the amputation followed a serious trauma, such as an accident at work or road traffic accident.

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Claims client

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Common medical negligence amputation claims

There are many ways that an amputation can occur as a result of medical negligence.  Our expert solicitors can help clients bring amputation claims as a result of:

  • Failure to provide appropriate diabetic care, specifically foot care
  • Delay in diagnosis of sepsis
  • Failure to recognise and treat problems with blood supply
  • Failure to recognise and treat severe infection
  • Failure to treat an ulcer appropriately
  • Wrong site amputation
  • Failure to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Surgical error causing serious trauma
  • Failure to effectively amputate infected tissue
  • Delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis of limb cancer

Amputation following serious trauma

A major cause of amputation is serious trauma, traumatic injury caused by a car accident or accident at work, in factories involving unguarded machinery or on construction sites. Over 55% of upper limb amputees are as a result of serious trauma. 

Another common reason for an amputation is a loss of blood supplied to the affected limb. This can be caused by severe burns or gunshot wounds causing injury to the blood vessels and/or other body tissue leaving no alternative other than amputation.

Amputation claim FAQs

Q. What is an amputation?

A. An amputation is the surgical removal of part of the body.

Q. What are the most common reasons for amputation?

A. The most common reason for amputation is due to narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis), restricting the blood supply to the limbs (dysvascularity).

Amputations may also be required for reasons such as serious trauma, infection or limb cancer.

Q. Who might need an amputation?

A. Over 50% of amputations occur in people older than 70 years of age and often those with an associated disease like peripheral vascular disease or diabetes.

According to NHS Choices, men are twice as likely to need an amputation as women.

Q. Why is an amputation necessary?

A. Doctors as well as patients generally consider amputation as a last resort. Some of the reasons that amputations can be beneficial are:

  • To relieve pain caused from a non-functioning limb
  • Mobility, as it may be easier for some people to move around via a wheelchair or elbow crutches, than having an intact, non-functioning leg
  • Prevention of severe infection, where it may be life-threatening and to prevent it from spreading further
  • Prevention of growth of a tumour when there is limb cancer

Q. Where would an amputation be needed?

A. There are two types of amputation:

  • Lower limb amputation
  • Upper limb amputation

Q. How is an amputation performed?

A. An amputation is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic or an epidural anaesthetic.

Sometimes additional techniques are used during surgery to help improve the function of the residual limb and reduce the risk of complications. These include:

  • Shortening and smoothing the bone in the residual limb so that it is covered by an adequate amount of soft tissue and muscle
  • Stitching the remaining muscle to the bones to help strengthen the remaining limb
  • After the amputation, the remaining stump wound is sealed with stitches or staples

Q. Are there any risks of amputation?

A. There are a number of risks associated with amputations, even when they are conducted correctly. The early stage risks can include:

The intermediate stage risks are:

  • Delayed wound healing
  • Severe infection
  • Haematoma
  • Pressure sores due to lack of mobility

Risks at the later stages:

Q. What happens after the amputation?

A. The remaining limb will take time to heal and may be painful. The length of the hospital stay will depend on the type of amputation carried out and general state of health.

After recovery of the surgery, a number of different health professionals, such as an occupational therapist and physiotherapist, will help to form a care plan before the patient is discharged home.

It can take several months before a prosthetic limb can be fitted, if one is appropriate. The residual limb will change in shape and size over a period of 12-24 months. This means that fitting the prosthesis is likely to be an evolving process over this period of change.

People who have had an amputation often experience a psychological impact of the procedure. They may suffer with depression, or grief and a form of bereavement that has been recognised as similar to experiencing the death of a loved one.

Q. Is a prosthetic limb suitable for everyone?

A. A prosthetic limb is not suitable for everyone, especially a lower prosthetic limb. It will depend on:

  • The amount of muscle strength in the remaining section of the limb
  • General state of health
  • Tasks the prosthetic limb will be expected to perform (depending on occupation and hobbies)
  • Whether the limb should appear as real as possible or whether the main priority is to use the limb for a range of activities

Q. Can I pursue a legal claim for my amputation?

A. You should seek legal advice for a compensation claim if someone else may be responsible for an amputation you have undergone (or are due to undergo).

The amputation may be as a result of a road traffic accident, an accident at work or following negligent medical care. Specialist amputation solicitors can advise you on whether you have a claim.

Compensation may be substantial and can affect your access to support and rehabilitation for the remainder of your life.

Q. How can an amputation legal claim help me?

A. A successful compensation claim cannot turn back the clock but it can go a long way towards alleviating hardship following an amputation.

Compensation may help to pay for adapted accommodation, transport, prostheses and equipment to restore independence. Rehabilitation and therapy can also be provided to support you as you adjust to your new circumstances - helping you increase your confidence, adjust to using new aids and equipment, and helping with your psychological/mental health.

You may find that your loss of independence becomes difficult for family members, who often take on the role of carer. Compensation can be used to employ carers to ease the burden on family members or to help support family members who take on this role.

Loss of earnings can also be claimed where you are no longer able to work or your role at work has been affected due to your amputation.

It is important to note that you may not have to wait until the conclusion of a claim to receive compensation. Interim payments may be available to help you with your immediate needs.

Q. Can a legal claim help me if I’m not happy with my NHS treatment?

A. Compensation, as part of a claim, would enable you to opt for private medical treatment and therapy not necessarily available through the NHS.

This could include a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon and prosthetist, prior to the amputation, to ensure that the amputation results in an optimum stump for prosthetic replacement after the surgery.

Compensation may enable you to purchase a bespoke prosthetic limb more suited to your needs and lifestyle. You would also have the security of knowing that the funds are available to you for rehabilitation, limb replacement and maintenance in the future.

Q. If the claim is against my GP and/or hospital, will it affect my future care?

A. No. Your care should not be affected in any way.

Your GP and/or the hospital do not have the right to refuse medical care as a result of a claim against them.  You may, however, feel more comfortable looking for an alternative health care provider.

Q. Why should I make a personal injury claim?

A. The loss of a limb can have an extensive psychological as well as physical and financial impact on many patients. If you have grounds to bring a personal injury claim, any compensation received can help make life easier enabling a person to:

  • Adapt their homes or arrange more suitable accommodation
  • Purchase help and equipment at home
  • Buy a better suited car and wheelchair
  • Purchase better quality prosthetic limbs than are available on NHS
  • Obtain counselling to help deal with the psychological impact

Q. What happens next?

A. If you have suffered an amputation following an accident at work or road traffic accident and can prove that it was someone else’s fault you may be entitled to make a claim.

Q. How much compensation will I get for my amputation?

A. As specialist amputation lawyers, we will consider:

  • The type of amputation you have had
  • Any long term impact upon your health and any pre-existing health conditions
  • Your ability to carry out daily activities and work
  • The financial losses you have incurred and will incur in the future as a result of the amputation
  • The support that you will require in the future

Expert evidence will be required to determine what your specific needs are. This usually means a report from someone with expertise in care, prosthetics, accommodation and physiotherapy as an example.

A compensation claim may include the following:

  • Specialist aids and equipment such prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs
  • Adaptations to your home, for example a lift or adapted bathroom
  • Alternative accommodation
  • Professional help in relation to personal care and/or household jobs such as ironing, cleaning, gardening
  • Medical and therapy expenses such as physiotherapy, help with phantom pain and additional surgery required.
  • Additional travel/transport expenses including purchase of an adapted car
  • Assistance managing the psychological side effects of the amputation
  • Loss of earnings

Q. My home is no longer suitable for my needs as a result of the amputation.  Can a compensation claim help me move to a more suitable home?

A. Yes, if an accommodation expert concludes that your home is not suitable for your needs following an amputation and no adaptations or extensions can be undertaken to make it suitable. The expert will consider your specific needs, to include your level of mobility as well as the aids, equipment and care you require.

The accommodation claim may also include legal and moving costs, adaptations that will be needed to a new house, and expenditure associated with the new property such as maintenance costs.

Q. I’m not happy with my NHS prosthesis. Can I get a different prosthesis?

A. The prosthetic expert will be able to recommend an alternative prosthesis for you.  The cost of a suitable, custom made prosthetic limb and any cosmetic covering will be considered in your compensation claim. We will seek to obtain an interim payment to fund the best prosthetic limb for you as quickly as possible.

The prosthetist will also consider additional prosthetics specific to your interests and hobbies, for example running, cycling or swimming.

Q. Will the compensation affect my benefits?

A. If you receive compensation for an amputation claim, your entitlement to receive means tested benefits may be affected. There are ways, however, to protect the compensation and any entitlement to benefits, for example by setting up a Personal Injury Trust.

Receiving benefits should not stop you from pursuing a claim for compensation but you should seek specific legal advice on this.

Q. What happens to the compensation money if I die after the claim has been concluded?

A. If you received a lump sum compensation settlement, the money falls into your estate and will pass in accordance with your Will. If you have not made a Will, the money passes in accordance with the Intestacy rules (where someone dies without leaving a Will).

Q. Is there a time limit to pursuing an amputation legal claim?

A. Court proceedings for a compensation claim should usually be commenced within three years of the injury. Particularly in a medical negligence case this date might be before the amputation itself. There are exceptions to the three year rule, specifically in relation to children and individuals who do not have capacity to pursue litigation. We can advise you further on this issue.

Ideally, you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible after the injury or when you learn that an amputation is going to be carried out.

Early legal advice is important as evidence may be based on an individual’s recollection which needs to be documented as soon as possible. In certain cases, an early interim payment can also be obtained to pay for much needed aids, equipment or treatment including early rehabilitation.

Q. How long will the amputation claim take?

A. This depends on the complexity of the case and whether liability is admitted. The final conclusion of your claim may be delayed until there is certainty regarding your prognosis.

We would however try to obtain an early admission of liability from the defendant and early funding to assist you as soon as possible.

If liability is not admitted or the case is complex, it will take longer and may involve use of the court process. We would provide regular updates on the anticipated process and timeframe for your claim.

Q. Will I have to go to court if I make a claim?

A. The vast majority of amputation claims resolve successfully without a final court hearing. This, however, cannot be guaranteed. If either liability or the value of your claim cannot be agreed then the court process may be required. If the case does go to court, we would support and guide you through the process.

Amputation claim definitions

The language associated with amputations can be complicated and difficult to understand. We have identified some of the key terms in use every day in relation to amputation, more information can also be found on our amputation FAQ's page.

A

Amputation

An amputation is the loss of a limb due to injury or disease.

Lower limb amputation is either transtibial (below knee) or transfemeral (above knee). The limb is either lost due to peripheral vascular disease, other severe diseases or major traumatic injury to the lower limb.

Other types of lower limb amputation are:

  • Double lower amputation , where both legs are amputated, usually below the knee
  • Knee disarticulation , where the amputation is performed through the middle of the knee joint
  • Partial foot amputation , where the toes and lower half of the foot are amputated
  • Hip disarticulation , where the amputation takes place through the hip joint, removing the whole leg
  • Lower digit amputation , where one or more of the toes are amputated
  • Hemipelvectomy , where an entire leg and a section of the pelvis are amputated

Most upper limb amputations are needed because the hand and forearm have been damaged by a traumatic injury.

The main types of upper limb amputation are:

  • Upper digit amputation , where the thumb or one or more of the fingers are amputated
  • Transhumeral , where the hand and a section of the arm are amputated above the elbow
  • Transradial , where the hand and part of the arm are amputated below the elbow
  • Partial hand amputation , where part of the and is amputated
  • Shoulder disarticulation , where the amputation occurs through the shoulder joint, removing the entire arm
  • Double upper amputations , where both hands and part of the arms are amputated
  • Forequarter amputation , where the entire arm is amputated and part of the shoulder blade and collar bone
  • Wrist disarticulation , where the amputation occurs through the wrist joint, removing the hand
  • Elbow distarticulation , where the amputation occurs through the elbow joint, removing the hand, wrist and forearm

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a potentially serious condition where arteries become clogged up by fatty substances, such as cholesterol. This causes the affected arteries to harden and narrow.

Artificial limb

See prosthetic limb.

C

Contracture

Contracture is the tightening of muscles around a joint, restricting the range of motion and suppressing muscular balance.

D

Diabetes

Diabetes is a long term condition that is caused by too much sugar in the blood.

Diabetes complications can often lead to ulcers in the feet, and potentially amputation. Patients with diabetes are advised by the medical profession to have regular foot check-ups as a part of their care routine so that any problems can be detected at an early stage. The risk of an ulcer developing can be assessed by a basic clinical examination of the foot.

If an ulcer develops, immediate medical advice should be sought. If the ulcer gets infected, it can advance into a serious lower body infection, with the risk of amputation if the infection spreads and/or gangrene develops.

Dysvascularity

Dysvascularity is the loss of blood supply to a limb.

E

Elective Amputation

A choice or decision to undergo a procedure to remove a body part, usually a limb. A delayed surgical procedure following injury or disease often after long and unsuccessful surgeries to save the affected limb.

Epidural anaesthetic

An epidural anaesthetic is an injection into the back that numbs either the upper or lower half of the body and stops pain being felt (also referred to as an epidural).

G

General anaesthetic

General anaesthetic is a type of pain relief used during surgery, which makes the patient lose consciousness so that the surgery can be carried out without causing any pain or discomfort.

H

Haematoma

A haematoma is a localised collection of blood, usually clotted, in a tissue or organ. Haematomas can occur almost anywhere on the body. Bruises are a familiar form of haematoma.

L

Limb cancer

Limb cancer is the presence of a cancerous tumour in the arm or the leg.

Limb loss

See Amputation.

Lower limb amputation

See Amputation.

N

Necrosis

Necrosis is the death of tissues in the body.

O

Occupation therapist (OT)

An occupational therapist assesses the functioning in activities of everyday living that are essential for independent living.

Osseointegration

A surgical procredure to help those with both leg and arm amputations. To find out more click here.

P

Peripheral vascular disease

Peripheral vascular disease is a condition that affects the blood supply to a limb.

Phantom limb pain

Phantom limb pain is the feeling of pain in an absent limb or portion of a limb. This pain is often described as sharp, stabbing and severe.

Phantom pain often starts within the first two weeks after an amputation. There is effective treatment however, which can include medication, massage, hot and cold therapy, mirrow bow treatment and hypnotherapy.

For some people the pain remains with them despite treatment.

Phantom limb sensation

Phantom limb sensation is a sensory awareness of the part of an amputated limb that is no longer present. It is a common and, though disconcerting, non-painful condition.

Physiotherapist (PT)

A physiotherapist specialises in physical methods of treatment to promote healing and return to health.

Prosthetic limb

A prosthetic limb is a device which replaces a missing body part.

R

Residual limb

A residual limb is the part of the limb which remains after amputation.

Revision surgery

Revision surgery is performed to revise or compensate a previous operation or to remedy undesirable consequences (such as scars or scar tissue) of previous surgery. Revision surgery of an amputation may be required if there is:

  • Stump pain and/or phantom limb pain
  • Late infection of the stump
  • Revision of a skin graft used to conserve stump length
  • Improvement of the stump for prosthetic fitting

S

Serious trauma

A serious trauma is a severe bodily injury which can have numerous causes including an accident or violent attack.

Stump wound

A stump wound is the surgical incision of the residual limb.

U

Upper limb amputation

See Amputation.

Prosthetic myths busted

Amputation is not something new in Personal Injury or Clinical negligence cases, but eliminating some myths on prosthetics and amputation can ensure that clients receive a substantial win for them to continue living fulfilled lives! Below Abdo Haidar, Consultant Prosthetist at The London Prosthetics Centre covers the 3 main myths.

MYTH 1: One size fits all

With an average prosthetic use of 10 hours per day, the most frequent problems occurring in residual limbs are discomfort, skin breakdown and pain. Comfort has been stated as the most important factor among prosthetic limb users.

When a limb has been amputated, the stump or residual limb is different from one person to the next. The most fundamental element in the creation of a prosthetic is the socket; the crucial interface that connects these sophisticated prosthetics to peoples’ residual limbs.

The prosthetic limb may be fitted with the most technological advancements but the socket remains the real point of contact.

Different measuring techniques are used in the industry at present to capture the size and shape of residual limbs. These techniques remain limited and are unable to identify the infrastructure of residual limbs and pressure tolerance of individual amputees.

It can be a time-consuming process, involving the production of multiple diagnostic sockets before a well-fitted socket can be achieved, during which each diagnostic socket is modified according to the feedback of the patient and the clinical assessment of the prosthetist. As a result, the design of a prosthetic socket is still basically an art, which is highly dependent on the experiences and skills of the prosthetist.

MYTH 2: One limb for life

The residual limb changes constantly in an amputee’s life, some of these factors include growth, ageing, muscle atrophy, weight addition or loss e.g. from teenager to adulthood to elderly. Therefore a prosthesis must be constantly adapted or changed to ensure comfort and mobility is achieved on a daily basis.

Even the most expensive prosthetic limbs are built to withstand only three to six years of mechanical wear and tear, meaning they will need to be replaced many times over the course of a lifetime, and they're not a one-time cost.

The prosthetist works in close partnership with the patient to establish the right prosthetic for them and their lifestyle. Sport, day to day walking or waterproof prosthetic legs are required for most amputees to complement their activity and mobility levels.

MYTH 3: Amputees only see their prosthetist at the fitting

An amputee will need to visit their prosthetist for the rest of their lives. From the first consultation, they will be required to visit the prosthetist once a month to ensure comfort of the new socket and learn to adjust to the limb properly. Thereafter, it may be once every 6 months to ensure the prosthesis is in good working order and most importantly as their lifestyle changes so does the residual limb, so does the socket.

An important part of an amputee’s care is rehabilitation, this can range from psychological counselling if needed, occupational therapy to physiotherapy. Rehabilitation is vital for the amputee to learn to cope with the changes in their life, be it from a psychological aspect to learning how to walk with their new limb and to prevent additional muscular damage for over compensation. There is no definitive time scale on rehabilitation, this depends entirely on the level of amputation and how soon they can learn to become mobile. With the right support and care, the client will be equipped with the tools they need to continue living life to the full.

We hope this article has helped to clear up some of the myths surrounding prosthetics and given you some fresh new insight.

The London Prosthetics Centre holds regular workshops about the prosthetics life cycle. To find out more please email enquiries@thelondonprosthetics.com or go to http://www.thelondonprosthetics.com.

About the London Prosthetic Centre

LPC are leading experts in cutting edge upper and lower limb prosthetics, including custom silicone cosmesis products. 

Our ultimate purpose is to create the turning points that enhance the lives of our patients – helping them to take back control of their world and achieve new and amazing things with their new custom made prosthetics.

The team is led by Director/ Consultant Prosthetist, Abdo Haidar who specialises in upper and lower limb prosthetics, with over 20 years of NHS and private experience. A member of The Expert Witness Institute and has prepared many expert witness reports following amputations.

We are here to help

For more information or to speak to one of our experts, please call 0800 029 4802