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When an Auto Accident Leads to the Loss of a Limb

March 17, 2015

There are over 130,000 thousand amputations each year in the United States and many of these are due to trauma from an auto accident. There are a variety of situations which can result in the loss of a limb following an auto accident, however amputation will either occur during the accident or as a result of injuries sustained during in the crash. Some victims have a limb pinned between two vehicles, or a vehicle and another fixed object which results in the loss of a limb, while others are involved in rollover accidents which lead to a limb being pinned under the vehicle. Victims who have their legs crushed when the front end of the vehicle crumples back into the passenger area can end up losing one or both legs. In some instances loose metal can pierce a leg or arm, puncturing an artery and resulting in significant loss of blood and possible loss of the limb as well.

Head-on collisions can result in crush injuries to the legs causing such serious injury that amputation is required. Pedestrians sometimes suffer loss of limb due to a vehicle crushing a part of their body, while motorcyclists may suffer immediate traumatic amputation or injuries which are so severe that they later require surgical amputation. A partial hand amputation which includes the loss of one or more fingers is the most common type of loss of limb due to an auto accident, while the next most common is the loss of one arm. This type of injury can occur when shards of broken glass from the windshield pierce the arm areas, and possibly even penetrate a major artery.

Consequences of the Loss of a Limb
Regardless of the location of the lost body part, it is clear that the loss of a limb is extremely traumatizing to the individual, and, in fact, the consequences of the amputation of a limb can be so severe that the person may never fully recover. Surgery will be followed by weeks, months, or even years of intensive physical therapy, and medical bills will likely mount alarmingly. In many cases those who have suffered the loss of a limb may miss considerable amounts of work time, or in some cases may be unable to return to the prior place of employment at all. Because of the drastic lifestyle changes which typically result from the loss of a limb, there are likely to be severe emotional consequences as well as physical ones.

Attempts to Save the Limb
Medical professionals will never remove a person's limb without seriously considering any and all alternatives due to the life changing consequence of losing an arm or leg. Unfortunately, many auto injuries are so severe that the medical professionals may have little choice in the matter. Auto injuries can be so traumatic that it comes down to the choice of amputating a limb, or risk losing the life of the accident victim. There may be profuse bleeding involved in a serious auto accident, resulting in emergency surgery and amputation to stop the bleeding when injuries to arteries cannot be repaired or closed. The ultimate goal will, of course, be to save a life, and this can lead to the loss of a limb.

Ongoing Medical Needs Following the Loss of a Limb
The ongoing life struggles are far from over following the initial surgery to remove a limb as the patient must now deal with both the physical and psychological struggles. Phantom pain is quite common following the loss of a limb—the patient can experience excruciating pain coming from the area where the limb once was. This level of pain can cause severe depression, and life can feel entirely overwhelming. Although medical science has made huge strides regarding prosthetic limbs, patients require long periods of rehabilitation in order to successfully use the prosthetics which are also hugely expensive and difficult to maintain. Aside from medical and emotional needs, amputees are required to essentially re-learn every single task they have been handling for most of their lives.

The Devastation of an Amputation
As you can see, the loss of a limb is devastating on many fronts, and it is crucial that victims of limb loss seek immediate help from a highly experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable car accident attorney in Atlanta at Montlick & Associates can ensure the amputee receives the compensation they both need and deserve, and depending on the extent of the injuries, hedonic damages may be pursued. Hedonic damages involve injuries which are so serious they completely disrupt a person's life, or remove the enjoyment of life. While losing a limb may leave victims feeling all hope is lost, they have not lost their rights to recover damages which will allow them to slowly rebuild their lives.

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Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.