Amputations & Crush Injuries

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Houston Amputation & Crush Lawyer

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It has been estimated that 185,000 amputations occur each year in the United States, and that approximately 45% of those amputations are a result of accidents and trauma.  The most common cause of amputations caused by trauma are car and railroad accidents.  Amputations are also caused at the worksite where heavy materials are dropped, where fast moving machinery is being operated, where pinch-points occur, and where sharp objects are located.  Usually, blunt force trauma and crush injuries cause amputations, but other times it can be a penetrating injury such as a laceration.

Regardless of the how they physically occur, incidents that result in the loss of limbs are typically very severe.  They are almost always also preventable and the result of someone or something doing something wrong.  These types of incidents should never happen.  When they do occur, those responsible must be held accountable.

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Surgeries for Amputations

A severe injury that results in amputation will at the very least involve surgical procedures at hospitals, which are very expensive.  Amputations can involve single digits (e.g., fingers and toes), partial limbs (e.g., arms and legs), entire limbs, multiple limbs, and any combination of the foregoing.  Oftentimes, more than one surgery is required, particularly if the injury is complex.  Additional surgeries may also be required in the future to try and restore limb functions or address new issues that have arisen.

Not all surgeons are appropriate for all surgical procedures.  Some doctors focus on certain body parts, such as hands, shoulders, arms, and feet.  Other doctors have a more broad and non-specialized surgical practice.

It is important to choose the right doctor if a surgery is required for an amputation.  All surgeries are dangerous, and can result in death.  In an emergency, there may not be the opportunity to choose the doctor, especially if the surgery is being performed in the emergency room immediately after the injury to save the person’s life.  But if the surgery is taking place weeks or months after the injury, there is usually enough time to make sure the right doctor is selected for the procedure.

Physical Rehab and Mental Health Considerations for Amputations

In addition to the actual loss of limbs, someone who suffers from an amputation or crush injury will also require physical rehabilitation to regain strength and learn how to function without the amputated limb, pain management services, and mental health treatment to combat depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Medical Devices for Amputations

Persons will often also require expensive medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, crutches, scooters, walking sticks, and similar assistive devices.  These devices will need to be replaced several times over a person’s lifetime, and are very expensive.  For example, some mechanized wheelchairs can cost more than $10,000.

Additional Lifestyle Tools to Assist With Amputations

In addition to medical devices, persons suffering from amputations can greatly benefit from other tools and devices to assist them in achieving daily tasks.  Unfortunately, these specialized tools are expensive as well.  They include specialized eating utensils such as forks and knives in one device (called a “knork”), specialized cutting boards, jar and bottle openers, knobs to facilitate the turning of car steering wheels, and single-handed keyboards for computer typing.  There are also specialists called Occupational Therapists that can help train persons with amputations with how to complete daily tasks.

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Long-Term Health Consequences of Amputations

Persons who suffer from complicated amputations—such as multiple limb amputations—often unfortunately lead more sedentary lifestyles and are not able to exercise as much.  Their prosthetic limbs can cause infections, irritations, and severe discomfort.  Sitting in a wheelchair can cause negative consequences to the spine, circulation, and heart functions.  There is an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic issues.

Comprehensive medical care for those who suffer amputations is incredibly costly, and will last the person’s lifetime.  The cost for proper lifetime care of patients suffering amputations can be in the millions of dollars.

Loss of Wages Due to Amputations

In addition to pain, suffering, mental anguish, and medical costs, persons who suffer from amputations will also often suffer severe economic hardship from loss of wages.  Many persons who suffer amputation injuries do so at the workplace.  When that person loses the use of an arm and a leg, they have essentially lost their ability to work and earn a living, and they are often fired.  Sometimes the company involved waits just long enough for deadlines to file lawsuits to expire before firing an injured employee.  Although discrimination is illegal, it happens all the time.  Companies simply do not want to be slowed down or burdened with persons that have suffered tragic injuries and who do not have full use of their bodies.  Loss of wages is a key component in any lawsuit for an amputation injury.

Lawsuits for Amputations

The time to file a lawsuit for amputation and crush injuries is the same for minor injuries.  Indeed, although the consequences are severe and last a lifetime, injured persons may have as little as 1 year (and if a government entity is involved, even less) to bring a claim.  For that reason, it is critical that persons who suffer such injuries contact a lawyer immediately after the injury to investigate and bring all potential claims.

A lot can be at state in an amputation lawsuit, and verdicts for amputations across the country have in some instances been for tens of millions of dollars.  Corporations who cause amputation injuries typically hire very expensive teams of lawyers to defend themselves.  These corporations will file legal documents in court denying that they have done anything wrong, and denying that they have to pay a single dime.  Corporations will deny liability even when their own internal investigation reveals that they did something wrong.  It is therefore critically important that injured persons hire qualified lawyers as well to uncover the truth.

If you or a loved one has suffered a severe crush or amputation injury, the lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can help.  Please contact us immediately for a free consultation about your case.

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