Double Amputee Can Walk Again with New Prostheses

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Matthew Clayton Profile Picture
Matthew Clayton

Partner, Serious Injury Solicitor

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Simpson Millar’s Serious Injury Solicitors helped a woman who lost her both her legs after being hit by a car get specialist rehabilitation, support, and prosthetic limbs so she could walk again.

 

Claire* was walking along the street one morning when a passing driver lost control of their vehicle and mounted the pavement.


The car hit Claire and crushed her against an adjoining wall, leaving her with truly horrendous injuries.

This included a traumatic amputation of her left leg through the knee. In fact, Claire continues to have vivid memories of lying on the pavement and seeing her left lower limb lying a short distance away.

Claire also suffered a severe crush injury to her lower right leg both above and below the knee.

Despite attempts to salvage the limb, her injuries were so severe that a surgical amputation at the knee joint had to be carried out.

Other injuries included multiple fractures to her spine, fractured ribs and a traumatic brain injury, as well as lasting psychological symptoms.

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How Did the Accident Affect Claire's Life?

Before the accident, Claire had been a fit and healthy lady who enjoyed life, work and the company of her friends. She’d also been happily married to her devoted husband for many years, and they often enjoyed travelling around the world.

This meant Claire had every reason to be looking forward to her retirement and spending more quality time with her husband.

However, the accident had left her with life-changing injuries, including the loss of both of her legs.

For some time after the accident, she was encouraged to believe that she’d never be able to walk again. This contributed to her developing severe depression.

Claire also experienced phantom limb pain for a significant period of time, as well a pain in the lower back and various infections. Although her symptoms improved slightly over time, they haven’t settled fully.

In addition, Claire was diagnosed with a mild head injury, which led to her having problems with her memory.

 

How We Helped Claire

Our Serious Injury Solicitors agreed to help Claire claim compensation from the driver and we successfully settled out of Court in a Joint Settlement Meeting for £4 million.

We also managed to make sure that Claire received more than £1 million in interim compensation payments as the claim proceeded. This meant her urgent medical and financial needs could be met without her having to wait for the case to settle in full.

With her settlement, Claire was able to purchase and adapt her current home, and pay for ongoing care support and case management, as well as work with an orthopedic specialist to get used to using prosthetic legs.

Thanks to the specialist support and rehabilitation treatment she has received, Claire is now able to walk around with the help of her prosthetic limbs.

 

Amputation After a Car Accident

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, all drivers have a legal responsibility to make sure that they take reasonable care to avoid harm to others while driving on the road. In the event of a car accident, the driver will be held responsible for any injuries that their actions caused.

As per the Act, “A person who causes serious injury to another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.” Under the definition of ‘serious injury’ is any physical harm that amounts to grievous bodily harm.

Under the same Act, it also covers drivers who aren’t necessarily driving dangerously, but careless. If a driver causes an accident because they aren’t paying enough attention or are without reasonable consideration for anyone else, they are also guilty of an offence.

 

Amputation Compensation Claims FAQs

Can I make a claim if I’ve suffered an injury that resulted in amputation?

Yes, if you have experienced a serious injury that caused you to have an amputation, our Serious Injury Solicitors can help with your claim. You may be eligible for compensation if someone else is responsible for your injury, whether it’s a road traffic accident, medical negligence, or an accident at work.

At Simpson Millar, when we consider taking on your case, we will look into the following:

  • Was the claimant owed a duty of care?
  • Did the accident occur as a result of negligence?
  • Could the accident have been reasonably avoided?

There are also circumstances under which you may be able to claim on someone else’s behalf. For example, if the accident happened to a child who’s under the age of 18 or someone who doesn’t have mental capacity.

What happens if I need financial assistance immediately?

If you have immediate medical costs that relate to your injury and amputation, you may not have to wait until your case has been settled. In some cases, we can secure an early interim compensation payment, to help cover any costs that you have such as loss of earnings, adaptations, prosthetics, or medical treatment.

 

Is there a time limit for claiming compensation?

The time limit for Personal Injury Claims is 3 years, which starts from the date of the incident. For amputation claims, this would be from the date of the accident that led to your injuries. But there’s one exception to this rule. If the claim is on behalf of a child, you have until their 18th birthday to make a claim for compensation. If this doesn’t happen, the child will then have 3 years to start a claim from their 18th birthday.

 

What evidence will I need to support my claim?

To strength your case, the more evidence that you have, the better. For amputations that were the result of an accident, there’s a fair amount of evidence you may be able to gather.

Your medical reports are a great place to start when gathering evidence for a claim. You can request your records from the hospital that treated you at the time of your amputation. It will also be helpful if you are able to get some photographs of the scene of the accident, as this allows you to explain what happened much easier. Photographs and/or video footage can help create a clear picture of what happened at the time of the accident.

If the accident happened while you were at work or in a public place, you should complete a report form. If you complete one of these forms, you can use a copy of this to prove the date, time, and location of the incident.

If there were any witnesses, gathering witness statements are a great way of proving what happened. Your Personal Injury Solicitor will speak with the defendant and ask whether they admit liability for the injury and amputation. If they don’t, you should ask witnesses to provide a statement of what they saw, if possible.

Lastly, if you’re aware of any CCTV or even dashcam footage that can help show the accident in full or partial, it would be helpful to obtain this. You have the right to request a copy of this and it’ll help offer a clear representation of exactly how the accident happened.

 

How much compensation can I get?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict how much compensation you may be able to claim. Your case will be considered based on its unique circumstances and there is no tariff for accidents that lead to amputations. Although, there are two elements to consider when processing a claim.

You may be entitled to claim what’s referred to as General Damages. This will take into consideration any pain and suffering that has been caused by your amputation. It’ll also cover any psychological suffering that you experienced as well. But you will need to prove your injuries and their full extent by having an independent medical expert assessment.

Alternatively, you may be able to claim for Special Damages. This claim will look into your financial problems in addition to the damages as outlined above. For example, if you have incurred any loss of earnings, travel expenses, private medical costs, or adaptations to your home or vehicle, all of these will be factored into your claim.

 

Amputation Claims

Losing a limb to amputation, especially in a traumatic accident, can lead to both physical and emotional trauma. We have worked with claimants who have suffered injuries that have led to amputations, so we understand that every client’s needs are unique.

Our expert Serious Injury Solicitors can help secure financial compensation to help rebuild your life. While compensation can’t put it right, it can help to offer financial support and cover the costs of treatment, adaptations, and therapy.

If you would like to discuss your case, give our experts a call today, and we’ll provide you with your legal options.

*For the purpose of protecting the claimant’s identity, we have not used her real name.

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Matthew Clayton Profile Picture

Matthew Clayton

Partner, Serious Injury Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Personal Injury

Matthew specialises in Serious Injury claims for compensation including AmputationsBrain Damage and Head Injuries, and Spinal Cord Injuries.

Matthew joined Simpson Millar in November 2016, and heads our department which looks after clients who have suffered life changing injuries.

Matthew is a former Principal Lawyer with Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK. He qualified as a Lawyer in 1990, and has a wealth of experience in helping clients who have suffered a range of injuries.

References

legislation.gov.uk (1988). Road Traffic Act 1988. [online] Legislation.gov.uk. Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/contents.

Synopsis of Causation Lower Limb Amputation. (2008). Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a7efccde5274a2e87db324a/amputations_lower_limb.pdf

NHS (2019). Amputation. [online] NHS. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/amputation/.

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