Losing a limb as a result of a car accident is not as common as some other injuries, but it can be more traumatic due to the permanency of the injury and the life-long changes to the victim’s life. A person could need the amputation of a leg, arm, hand, foot, toe, or finger after a crash. If an eye is injured badly enough, it could need to be removed, causing partial loss of vision.
The two main types of amputation are surgical and traumatic. Surgical amputations are performed when a patient suffers from a medical condition, such as circulation problems, serious infections, or cancer affecting a bone or the limb. Traumatic amputations are caused by serious accidents, such as car crashes, where the body part is torn off or severed.
Treatment Options for Amputee Victims
Prosthetic technology has advanced in recent years, and the long-term prognosis for amputee patients has improved significantly. Car accident victims who require an amputation of a limb could require these treatments:
- Reattachment of the limb. When proper care is taken of the limb and the stump immediately after the car crash, it may be possible to surgically reattach the limb. However, this is unlikely, because traumatic amputations are rarely straight and clean. In addition, incomplete nerve regeneration can be a problem, limiting the success of reattachment surgery.
- Surgery. Even if the limb was severed in the accident, a person will require surgery to remove the damaged and infected tissue and bone from the amputation site. The surgeon will leave as much of the healthy skin, nerves, and blood vessels as possible. If the doctor is confident there is no risk of infection, a closed amputation would be performed where the wound is sealed with the limb skin. If there are worries about infection, the surgeon could perform an open flap amputation where the wound is left open for a few days, so that any infected tissues can be removed and the wound cleaned up. Once the danger of infection has passed, the wound would be sealed. Multiple surgeries could be required.
- Pain medications and antibiotics. A patient will receive pain medication to manage the pain and antibiotics as necessary to treat possible infections.
- Prosthesis fitting and physical therapy. While in the hospital, an accident victim will receive physical therapy, which can include special exercises and assistance in getting in and out of bed or a wheelchair, if it is required. He will also be fitted with an artificial limb and could begin learning how to use it if the amputation site is healing well.
An accident victim who requires an amputation faces additional psychological trauma due to the loss of his limb and could require expensive assistive devices to help him adjust to his new life, such as a wheelchair, modifications to his home, and an adapted vehicle. Fortunately, an injured motorist may be entitled to compensation for these expenses as well as lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering from the negligent driver.
Did you suffer an amputation or other injuries in an accident caused by another driver? We understand how overwhelming the life-altering changes are and how expensive your treatment can be. Order a copy of our free book, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case, to start learning how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.