North Carolina Amputation Injury Lawyer

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Amputation Injury Attorney

Amputation injury lawyer
Amputation injuries can occur in many ways, resulting in the loss of a limb such as an arm, leg, hand, foot, toe, or finger. Although amputations can be caused by an illness like diabetes or neuropathy, trauma is another major cause of losing a limb. Here are some of the most common situations that lead to amputation:

  • Car accidents. Many amputees have lost a limb in a motor vehicle crash. Some victims may even lose more than one limb in a severe accident. Often an arm or leg becomes pinned under the wreckage, and even after first responders free the limb, surgeons may not be able to save it.
  • Motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle riders are much more likely to suffer death or serious injury in an accident than car riders, and that includes being more likely to lose a limb. Severe leg or arm injuries can lead to amputation after a bike accident.
  • Workplace accidents. Factories, farms, logging operations, and construction sites are common places for on-the-job injuries to happen. Amputations may occur when something heavy falls and traps a person’s limb, or in an accident involving large equipment like a backhoe, lawnmower, or tractor.
  • Explosions, which may be caused by malfunctioning fireworks, other explosives, firearms, etc.
  • Vehicle or building door accidents. A large, heavy door slamming on a limb, especially a smaller limb like a hand or finger, can cause severe damage, leading to an amputation. A bigger, industrial-sized door may even sever a large limb like a leg or arm.
  • Ring traction injuries. These can happen when a person is wearing a ring that gets caught on something, jerking the finger, or putting extreme pressure on it. Depending on what the ring is caught in and how much force pulls on it, the victim may only suffer a broken finger, or the finger may be separated from the hand entirely.

Losing a limb can be physically and emotionally painful, and may require months of physical and occupational therapy to help you get back to your usual activities. Prosthetic limbs and treatment to help you learn to use them can be both time-consuming and expensive. Although great advancements have been made in creating versatile prosthetics, there may still be some activities that you can no longer do. In some cases, people who lose a limb may be permanently disabled and unable to return to work. This can create even more financial difficulties, in addition to medical bills.

What can you do if you’ve lost a limb and suffered the physical, mental, and financial ramifications? It depends on the circumstances of your injury, but in many cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party and/or their insurance carrier, so you can seek compensation for your damages. The best way to find out if this is an option is to contact an amputation injury attorney for a free consultation. They will go over the details of your accident and let you know the possible ways to move forward. In the meantime, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions about amputation injuries:

Who Is Liable For An Amputation Injury?

This depends on many factors, including how your accident happened, where you were at the time, and the circumstances that led to the injury. With workplace accidents, often we find the employer was negligent in some way. For example, they may have failed to ensure employees were properly trained in the usage of dangerous equipment. Or, they may not have wanted to spend the money maintaining their equipment to safety standards. In other situations, there may have been a communication failure, or someone at the company may have ignored a problem instead of addressing it. If any of these situations sound familiar, you should speak to an attorney about either a worker’s compensation claim or a potential claim against your employer.

What if you’re an independent contractor? This question comes up sometimes in relation to construction accidents but can apply in any situation where a person is working as a contractor rather than an employee and loses a limb in the course of their work. If you have been correctly classified as a contractor, you will not be eligible for worker’s compensation. (Many workers are incorrectly classified as contractors to save the company money, so your lawyer will probably ask some questions to ensure you really were a contractor.) However, if you were injured as the result of a person or entity’s negligence, you still have a right to make a claim on their insurance, whether you’re an employee or not. Your attorney can explain the options for your situation.

It’s also important to consider that worker’s compensation may not be the best option for everyone who has lost a limb. Worker’s comp temporary total disability benefits (TTD) pays only two-thirds of your regular weekly pay. If you are permanently unable to return to work due to your limb loss, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits at the same rate as TTD. On one hand, this does guarantee you’ll receive some income for the rest of your life. However, the amount you receive may not be enough to support you and any dependents you have or to pay for your continued medical care. For this reason, some injured workers choose to make a claim against the responsible party instead of seeking worker’s compensation benefits. If you’re unsure what to do, an amputation lawyer can answer your questions in a free, confidential consultation so you can make an informed decision.

Car accidents also frequently lead to limb loss. When someone loses a limb in a car accident, the next step is usually to file a claim with the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver. Sometimes determining fault may seem clear-cut, but that isn’t always the case. Keep in mind that North Carolina is a contributory negligence state for car accidents. What this means is that the injured party can’t collect any compensation if they were even one percent at fault for an accident. In some cases, it may seem obvious that the other party caused the accident – they were drunk, they were speeding, they ran a red light. But in their defense, they might argue that you contributed to the accident by also making a mistake, even if it was less significant than theirs.

In these situations, it’s helpful to understand that the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t want to have to pay your claim, so they may back up their client’s assertion that they weren’t at fault. However, a court may not agree. A skilled amputation injury lawyer may be able to refute the other driver’s claims and demonstrate that you were not at fault in the accident.

These are just a few examples. There are many situations where another person or entity may have caused an accident that led to someone losing a limb. If you’re not sure who is responsible for your injury, a free consultation with an amputation lawyer can help you understand your options.

How Can An Amputation Lawyer Help Me With My Claim?

Your attorney may help you in multiple ways. Often the first thing they do is investigate your case more thoroughly, attempting to gather evidence to support your claims. They may speak to people who witnessed your accident, go over security camera footage, look at photos from the scene, and determine the responsible party. Your lawyer will also help you understand what kind of damages you should seek. Here are some common things amputees may ask for in a claim:

  • Medical bills and other assistance. Your amputation surgery alone may have cost tens of thousands of dollars, and even good health insurance usually only covers 70 or 80 percent of hospitalizations. Following surgery, you probably spent some time in the hospital, needed pain medication and other prescriptions at the pharmacy, and then required physical and occupational therapy to help you adjust. There are also costs associated with prosthetic limbs and other mobility aids, such as canes, crutches, or wheelchairs. Keep in mind that prosthetic limbs don’t last forever – on average, a prosthesis lasts about three to five years before it needs to be replaced. So your attorney will want to ensure your settlement includes money for future costs as well.
  • Lost wages and reduced earning capacity. You’ll want to seek compensation for any time you had to miss work after your injury. Additionally, some people may no longer be able to work or to do the same kind or quantity of work they did before their amputation. If this is the case, you may want to seek damages for lost earning potential as well.
  • Scarring and disfigurement.
  • Physical pain and suffering. This can be significant, and in some cases, chronic. Some amputees may develop “phantom pain,” where they feel pain in a limb they no longer have. For a long time, this was believed to be a psychological issue, but doctors now know it’s related to nerves in the brain and spinal cord responding to a sudden lack of stimuli from the lost limb. Phantom pain can be difficult to treat, and for some patients, it never goes away
  • Emotional pain and suffering. Losing a limb can be difficult for many reasons, especially if it impacts your ability to work or enjoy your usual leisure activities. Some people may develop depression afterward. Additionally, the accident that caused your limb loss may have been very traumatic, leading to symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD.
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle. For example, it can be expensive but necessary to add a wheelchair ramp, a chair lift, lower surfaces to make cooking and other tasks easier, etc.
  • Continuing therapy, such as physical and occupational therapy. Many health insurance carriers only cover 20 physical therapy sessions a year, leaving you to pay the bill yourself. It’s common for amputees to need continuing therapy, both physical and mental.

What Do I Need To Prove In My Amputation Claim? 

As with other personal injury claims, there are four basic tenets of a negligence claim:  

  • The defendant, or the person or entity you’re making a claim against, owed you a duty of care. For example, a business owes its customers and workers a safe environment in which to shop or work.     
  • The defendant breached their duty of care, such as when a business fails to provide a safe environment for workers and shoppers.
  • This breach of duty harmed you, leading to your amputation.
  • You suffered losses as a result of your injury and amputation.

Your lawyer will work to establish what a reasonable duty of care would be in the situation that led to your accident. They will then explain how the responsible party failed in this duty, and how you were subsequently injured, lost a limb, and suffered damages as a result. This may involve presenting a wide variety of evidence if you go to trial – witness testimony, video footage of the accident, other electronic records from the time it happened, accident reports, medical records, and bills, etc.

Is It Necessary To Go To Trial?

This depends on your specific case, but most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, especially those that involve an insurance carrier. Often we are able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that provides our clients with the financial compensation they deserve. However, in a few cases, the other party may not be willing to agree to a fair settlement. If this happens, we are prepared to go to court and fight for your interests.

Our goal at Tatum & Atkinson, PLLC is to assist our clients throughout NC quickly and efficiently with their personal injury cases. We know that the sooner we start the process, the sooner we can demand a settlement for you. That is why if you call now, you can speak to Robert Tatum or Season Atkinson. Take the law into your hands and get the process started FAST! We’ll work hard to get you the settlement you deserve quickly, and hopefully keep you out of court. Contact us now by email or call 800-LAW-0804.