Losing a limb can be a devastating event. Even a minor amputation like losing a finger can change your everyday life forever. If another person is liable for the accident that caused your injury, you might want to make an amputation claim to get compensation.
Anybody who suffers a loss of limb where somebody else is at fault can potentially make an amputation compensation claim. Amputations can be caused by severe injuries sustained in workplace and road traffic accidents, military accidents, or aggravated health conditions due to medical negligence.
If you suffered an amputation in the last three years, you might be entitled to receive amputation compensation. To find out if you have a valid claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
Can I make an amputation claim?
You should be eligible to make an amputation claim if:
- you were injured in the last three years
- another party who owed you a duty of care is liable for your injury
To build a strong loss of limb claim, you will need to collect relevant evidence to support your case. Depending on the accident leading to your amputation, you could provide:
- Medical records. Medical records of your injuries, the care and treatment you received and the recovery prognosis are a good starting point in any personal injury compensation claim.
- Photographs of the accident scene. Whenever possible, you should take pictures or videos of the accident scene, capturing the root cause that led to your amputation injury.
- Accident reports. If you suffered an accident at the workplace or in a public place, you should file an accident report with the responsible person, who could be a manager or a supervisor. This will help confirm the date, time and location of your accident.
- Contact details of any witnesses. If the defendant denies liability, witnesses can be asked to state how the events unfolded.
- CCTV footage. You should always try to find out if any cameras might have recorded your accident and ask for a copy of the footage before it gets erased.
- Proof of financial expenses and lost earnings.
Even if you think there is no evidence, a solicitor will be able to assist in gathering relevant proof to support your claim. They will also arrange a free medical examination to assess the severity of your injury and its impact on your life. The medical evaluation will serve as a starting point when calculating a suitable compensation award.
How long do I have to make an amputation claim?
The limitation date for making an amputation compensation claim is usually three years from the day of your accident. However, several factors can impact the limitation date:
- If the date of knowledge doesn’t coincide with the day of the accident, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned about your injury.
- In child injury claims, a litigation friend can claim amputation compensation on their behalf at any point before their 18th birthday. Afterwards, they will have another three years to start a claim in their name.
- Under the Mental Health Act 1983, if an amputation victim lacks the mental capacity to make a claim, there is no limitation date for a litigation friend to claim in their name. The three-year countdown will begin if they regain intellectual abilities.
- Military personnel injured in combat regions or during training can make an amputation claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years from the injury. If they decide to make a claim under civil law, it might result in more compensation, and the limitation date would be three years.
- You can also make a claim for an injury that happened abroad; the limitation period varies between countries.
The limitation date refers to the last day you can file a claim with a court. If you don’t start a claim within this period, your case will become statute-barred, and you will no longer be able to conduct legal proceedings.
It is always advisable to contact a solicitor as soon as possible after an injury. This will give them enough time to gather evidence and prepare the required documents. Due to the extensive amount of work needed to prepare a case, most solicitors will no longer take on a claim later than 30 months after the injury.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and answer any questions you may have.
What are the different types of amputation?
Amputation is the surgical removal of a body part, often involving the leg, either above or below the knee. This can happen due to trauma or a medical illness. Amputation might also be used to control pain or the progression of a disease such as gangrene or malignancy.
The two main categories of amputation are:
Traumatic amputation, if a limb is lost following high-risk situations or random unfortunate accidents like:
- workplace accidents involving machinery
- explosions and other blast injuries
- road traffic accidents
- electric shocks
- getting trapped in building or car doors
Traumatic amputations are very dangerous and often life-threatening because of blood loss. If the injured body part cannot be reattached, you will need surgery to close the wound and re-shape the remaining bone. This might involve skin grafts and require more than one surgical intervention.
Surgical amputation. The most common reason for amputation in the UK is blood vessels problems, particularly necrosis. A surgical amputation might also be necessary after a traumatic injury if the bone or tissue cannot be reconstructed.
Amputations are also classified based on the injured body part:
- Lower limb amputations range from minor toe amputations to loss of a whole limb together with part of or the entire pelvic region.
- Upper limb amputations range from digit amputation to removal of the entire arm at shoulder level.
Other amputations include:
- facial amputations include but are not limited to the ears, nose or eyes
- breasts amputation (mastectomy)
- genital amputations
Illnesses and medical conditions are not often valid grounds for loss of limb compensation, but if misdiagnosis led to incorrect treatment of a condition, it might be possible to make a claim.
What type of accidents can lead to a loss of limb or amputation?
There are many reasons for which an amputation might be necessary. The most common is poor circulation; without adequate blood flow, cells will die, and infections may set in the affected tissue.
In England, the overall rate of lower limb amputation due to peripheral arterial disease for people aged between 50 and 84 years is 26.3 per 100,000 people (source). Amputation rates are double in men than in women.
Other causes for amputation include:
- Severe injury due to:
- road traffic accidents: the speed and force of a collision can lead to severe damage or an instant amputation
- agricultural accidents due to machines or mower equipment
- electric shock hazards: high voltage can cause burns so severe that the affected body part cannot be saved
- firearms, explosives, bladed weapons
- entrapment between doors
- animal attacks
- gas explosions
- Cancerous muscle or bone tumours
- Severe infections that do not get better with treatment
- Medical negligence
Workplace accidents are a common cause for claiming amputation compensation. Heavy, industrial pieces of machinery like conveyor belts, crushing devices, chain saws, drills, labelling machines, engines and motors can cause severe damage if proper health and safety standards are not respected. Accidents at work include:
- Crush injuries due to heavy items falling on a body part or becoming trapped by machinery or equipment.
- Being struck by an object. Poor work practices and safety measures can lead to employees getting hit by construction materials, forklift trucks or other heavy equipment that could cause severe trauma.
- Severing due to machinery. Cutting machinery poses a high risk to workers in many industries, including forestry, farming and manufacturing.
How much compensation can you get for an amputation claim?
The amount of compensation you can expect depends on your unique case. A loss of limb compensation will depend on the accident circumstances, the area of amputation, how it affected your working ability and your day-to-day life, and the financial losses you incurred as a result.
You can claim compensation for:
- General damages are awarded for physical pain and suffering, psychological trauma and loss of amenity. You can also claim for the impact your injury had on the life of your loved ones.
- Special damages for any financial losses and expenses you incurred after your amputation. This includes treatments, surgery, rehabilitation, prostheses, lost earnings and transportation costs.
According to the Judicial College guidelines, you might receive the following compensation amounts for general damages:
- £8,110 – £11,490 for amputation of the little finger
- £33,330 – £51,460 for a thumb amputation
- £90,250 – £102,890 for arm amputation below the elbow
- £102,890 – £122,860 for arm amputation above the elbow
- No less than £128,710 for loss of one arm
- £225,960 – £281,520 for amputation of both arms
- Around £29,380 for loss of the big toe
- £34,270 to £52,620 for loss of all toes
- £78,800 to £102,890 for amputation of one foot
- £158,970 to £189,110 for loss of both feet
- £91,950 – £124,800 for amputation of one leg below the knee
- £93,380 to £129,010 for loss of one leg above the knee
- £189,110 – £253,480 for amputation of both legs below the knee
- £225,960 to £264,650 for loss of both legs
Your solicitor will work to secure the best possible compensation and will also act to protect your home and your family’s finances. They can help support your physical and psychological rehabilitation by providing:
- a thorough and independent medical assessment
- access to therapies and rehabilitation not always available through the National Health Service
- interim payments to assist with treatment, home and vehicle modifications etc.
- help to find the best available prostheses
- a Personal Injury Trust, so that your compensation is not subject to tax and means-testing
- coordination with physiotherapists, rehabilitation professionals and occupational therapists to support your recovery and reintegration to normal living
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know what compensation you might receive and answer any questions you may have.
Can I make a no win no fee amputation claim?
If you suffered an injury that led to amputation without being at fault, you are probably entitled to claim compensation on a no win no fee basis.
A no win no fee agreement allows you to make an amputation compensation claim without taking any financial risks or having to pay any upfront fees.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. This policy offers you complete protection in the event you lose your claim and provides coverage for all legal costs.
The ATE insurance might also cover:
- the cost of specialist medical examination that will be used as evidence in your claim
- the fees for an expert witness
- the barrister’s fees, in the case your claim ends up in court
Before starting your claim, you will also agree on a success fee with your solicitor. Success fees can be up to 25% of your compensation. However, in no win no fee claims, your compensation total is increased by 10% to counterbalance the impact of the success fee.
If you win your claim, it’s the defendant’s insurance company that will usually pay your compensation. Compensation might also be awarded by:
- the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), for victims of violent assaults
- the National Health Service (NHS) in medical negligence claims
- the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, for victims of hit and run accidents
If you feel you may have a valid claim for compensation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will go over the circumstances of your accident and let you know if you might be eligible for a no win no fee claim.
Can I claim for an amputation caused by medical negligence?
Avoidable medical errors can sometimes lead to unnecessary amputation. If a healthcare professional has failed to diagnose or provide the correct treatment for a condition, you might be entitled to make a medical negligence claim.
You can claim compensation if your amputation was caused by:
- cancer misdiagnosis
- incorrect treatment of diabetes
- surgical errors
- misdiagnosed or mistreated infections
Medical negligence can have life-changing consequences, not only due to physical injuries but also psychological trauma. A compensation claim can help make life easier by providing private care and medical treatment, professional psychological support and funding household adaptations and state of the art prosthetics.
If you have reason to believe that a medical practitioner caused your amputation by acting negligently, you should contact a professional solicitor. They will let you know what evidence you might need to prove that your doctor failed to provide reasonable care, causing your loss of limb injury.