Why Legal Representation Is Essential For Amputees

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The Law Of… buying a bionic hand

In a world first, clinical trials are presently taking place on 3D-printed bionic arms for child amputees. Anna Thompson, a Personal Injury Solicitor at Simpson Millar, discusses the importance of effective legal representation for people who have undergone amputation.


Six Month Bionic Trial

Modern technology continues to advance at a pace not unlike Steve Austin running towards a burning orphanage. But whereas 40 years ago the Six Million Dollar Man was pure TV fantasy, nowadays bionic body parts are a reality and with the dawn of the 3D printer they are becoming increasingly easier to produce.

The 6-month trial taking place in Bristol aims to test the overall effectiveness of the technology and the product, with an ultimate eye to making them available on the NHS for child amputees.

Prohibitively Expensive

At present there are only two types of replacement limb available through the NHS for people who've had their hand amputated. These are as primitive in their function as they are grim in their aesthetic, with one being a rudimentary hook device and the other a grabber that opens and closes but nothing more.

This has given private manufacturers of bionic hands a free pass to charge as much as they want for their technology, pricing the vast majority of amputees out of the market with bionic hands costing anything in the region of £60,000.

For that price the cutting edge technology is said to allow the wearer to perfectly mimic the function of a real human hand, with a level of dexterity that can perform tasks previously rendered impossible, such as threading a needle.

The Value Of Proper Legal Representation

Bionic hands work via a series of motors that are linked to sensors installed in the collar of the forearm section. Brain signals send messages to the muscles in contact with these sensors, which, in turn, send signals to the hand, where the motors respond with the corresponding actions. The multi-grip functionality greatly improves the quality of life for the amputee, which makes their high cost all the more frustrating.

Even the 3D-printed prosthetics currently undergoing clinical tests can cost anywhere up to £5,000 and although an NHS roll-out – assuming the trials are successful – will ensure they are available free for children, the price will remain prohibitive for many.

Anna comments:

"The trial shows how far technology has progressed when it comes to limb replacement, from rubber cosmetics and steel clamps to the wonderful bionic examples coming through today. But cost remains a deciding factor on whether an amputee receives one or not."

"In cases where you have lost a limb, such as an accident that wasn't your fault or as a result of medical negligence, this highlights the importance of seeking effective legal representation. With personal injury claims concerning life-changing injuries, a number of factors are taken into account when the value of an award is being decided. One of these is the need for ongoing support, such as equipment that will aid you in your day-to-day circumstances and improve your quality of life, along with how much it will cost."

"Professional legal advice from a law firm, like Simpson Millar, with an experienced Personal Injury department capable of handling often complex claims of this nature, will ensure the best possible treatment and necessary aids are provided to you, as early as possible."



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