Amputation of the wrong limb, including legs, arms, and fingers is a growing concern amongst patients in hospitals and medical facilities across the country. It is unimaginable that with today’s technology and scientific advancements would allow for such a thing as wrongful amputations, but they unfortunately do happen. Every year many thousands of people suffer from a wrongful amputation. These injuries are devastating, because plaintiffs are forced to have both limbs amputated. To learn more about amputation error medical malpractice injuries, statistics and your rights read the following article.
Amputation Mistakes: Who can be Held Liable
Amputations errors are not necessarily cut and dry cases. In certain instances medical malpractice on the part of doctors and hospitals is to blame for your injuries. When medical staff incorrectly administers IV catheters, accidentally stops circulation or blood supply to working limb amputation will be necessary. In certain cases hospital staff will not even alert or notify the injured party of this situation. Rather they will disregard the injury and stress that it was a “medical necessity”. It is only after reviewing the documents that we can determine whether this is in fact accurate. When a hospital, doctor or any medical professional fails to administer proper care, they will be held responsible for the injuries. Negligence is a term used to identify a sub standard level of care. Thus, if your hand, leg, finger or any limb is improperly or accidentally amputated a claim for negligence is permitted.
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Negligence has four necessary elements they include, (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages. Each element is necessary to substantiate a cause of action for negligence. Duty is that which any hospital or doctor owes to his/her patient. That duty is breached when the necessary or requisite standard of care is reduced or diminished. Causation evaluates what the cause of the amputation was. If the doctor was the cause, then causation is established. Damages, asses the value of the injury. What is the accidental loss of limb worth? Before deciding to bring a surgical error lawsuit for your injuries you should know your rights. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to discuss your injuries and what happened. You are not at fault for the injury you sustained and those responsible should be held accountable.
Future Cost of Care in Amputation Injuries
Wrongful amputation cases can have high levels of future care costs. This includes medical costs, emotional damage, trauma, loss of future earnings and other services. If the incorrect limb was amputated it is likely that you are now left without both extremities. This includes the operable or healthy limb as well as the damaged or injured limb. Emotional Distress Future cost of care includes the emotional distress associated with a wrongful amputation. This emotional distress can be devastating when considering the loss of hand, leg or other limb. Our body parts essentially become a part of our lives. We are so used to using them, that living life without them can be complicated. Confusion, anger and depression are all emotional issues suffered by those dealing with a wrongful amputation. Any settlement must take into consideration the emotional aspect of your loss. Learning to cope and negotiate with life’s challenges is a necessary element to your claim. Having to re-learn certain functions and the pain associated with this is a recoverable aspect of your claim. Loss of Income If you are unable to seek gainful employment as a result of this injury, it will be a factor in your claim for damages. Gainful employment includes any type of work which you were likely to pursue. For example if you were in school or had aspirations of becoming a carpenter and are now unable to, you can recover for future loss of earnings. There are actual formulas that will be used in order to assess your projected loss of income and make sure you are compensated for this loss. Medical Costs Medical costs include the use of prosthetics, treatment, occupational therapy and other associated costs. These bill can pile up in the course of a year or throughout the plaintiffs lifetime. That is why any settlement must take into consideration this cost.
Steps to Take After Accident
The steps you take after your injury are important. Here is a few tips on what you should do if you are the victim of a amputation error.
- Obtain medical records having these records are critical. These records will identify the cause of the injury and help your attorneys understand what the cause of the amputation was. Whether it was just plain oversight or neglect, the records will reflect the cause.
- Make no statements. In many cases hospital staff or insurance companies representing hospitals will try and reach out to you in order to get a statement. Regardless of whether you are being represented by an attorney or not, MAKE NO STATEMENTS.
These are two important tips when handling your case. Each medical malpractice is different and requires a tremendous amount of time and resources to properly facilitate. If you have been injured contact the contact the attorneys Downtown L.A. Law for a free case evaluation.
Next, you should take pictures of the amputation or the damages to show their extent. They may heal in the meantime while the case is going on, so it is required that you have proof of how serious they were. Before and after photos will benefit your claim.
If there were any eyewitnesses who could attest to the doctor’s wrongful or negligent actions, such as nurses or other patients, you should try to get their information and record their statements and testimonies. Family members and friends can also testify that an amputation occurred.
You should be ready to alert your insurance company to any medical treatments that occurred that you did not give consent to, or to try and recoup losses that racked up from the missed diagnosis.
You should file an incident report with the hospital so they have a record of the occurrence and negligence, as well as your intention to file a claim.
Finally, it is wise to reach out to a skilled medical malpractice lawyer who can organize your proof for you and negotiate with the hospital’s insurance agency. You might not have any legal experience, so it is crucial that you get expert assistance.
Learn more about your legal options: call 855-339-8879 to speak with a representative now.
Value of My Case
What is the value of an amputation case? While it is definitely a large figure case, the exact value will depend on certain factors. Here are few which you should consider.
- Occupation if you were a professional athlete, secretary or involved in any type of work which requires the use of the amputated limb you are entitled to compensation for your lost earnings for the future of the injury.
- Current income loss of income or loss of earnings are another factor used to calculate the value of your claim. Depending on your lost income potential the value of your claim can vary.
- Emotional distress associated with the loss of a limb can be serious. Understanding this loss is a critical element to your case. Emotional distress can be different for each person and it is important to understand how this injury has impacted your life.
- Whether you were married is another important factor. As you are now unable to have the same quality of life.
- Age at the time of the incident if you were young at the time of the accident or older can make a difference.
- Degree or area of amputation whether it was a full amputation or partial can also make a difference.
From our experience there are over 50 different factors used to evaluate your case and that it why it is difficult to provide a blanket assessment without knowing all the facts. Let our experience guide you through the process.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims
All medical malpractice cases have a statute of limitations that you must follow. If you try to file a claim beyond this date, then you will likely be unable to earn any compensation for your injuries. You have one year from the injury itself or three years from the discovery of the injury to take legal action. In amputation cases, you will likely discover the injury immediately.
There are some ways for the statute to be temporarily suspended. If you were underage at the time of the injury, the deadline would not begin counting down until you turn legal age at 18 years old. Your legal guardian or parent can sue on your behalf, though, ahead of time. If the doctor left the state or the country, the statute would not begin until he returns. Further, if you were left mentally or physically incapacitated after the incident, your statute would be suspended until you return to functionality.
For help determining if you are eligible for any exceptions to the statute of limitations or to figure out how much time you have left to take legal action, call one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Los Angeles.