Amputation

How Much Is An Amputation Worth?

When there is an amputation the amount needed to compensate you for your damages is substantially more than other types of injuries.

Not only are medical and rehab costs higher but there are many more costs because of amputation such as future vocational rehab or training for another job, pain, and suffering because of phantom pain, loss of enjoyment of the quality of life, money needed for assistance to perform daily chores, psychological injury and more (see below).

What Is An Amputated Leg (Loss of a Leg) Worth?

Jury verdicts for the loss of one leg range from as much as $7 million to over $27 million and as high as $62 million for both legs.

What Is An Amputated Finger (Loss of a Finger) Worth?

Jury verdicts for amputation of a finger range from $85,000 to $2,000,000. There are many factors that affect the verdict value but a few are:

  • Which finger
  • Dominant or non-dominant hand
  • Whether the finger is needed for work
  • Age of the plaintiff
  • County where the case will go to trial

Even the loss of a fingertip is worth a lot of money.

A Queens jury gave $467,700 to a 42-year-old man who lost the tip of his left index finger on his non-dominant hand in a construction accident while working as a mason. The tip of his index finger was crushed and ripped off. The plaintiff went to Flushing Hospital but quickly released because doctors were unable to reattach the tip of his finger. Medical treatment consisted of shaving off a portion of fractured bone and sewing a flap of skin over it. (Li Zhong Huang v. Cherry Avenue Corp Princeton Construction Co. d/b/a Matrix Construction Company et al, Supreme Court, Queens County, Index # 12201/05, December 05, 2008)

What Is Loss of an Eye Worth?

There are many other types of amputation or loss of use of a body part and different degrees which in part determine the value of the injury. For instance, a person can lose sight in an eye or have an enucleated eye which is where the eye has been physically removed. Loss of eyesight is very serious and worth 7 figures but the physical loss of an eye is worth even more.

$4,125,000 was awarded by a jury in another case involving a mason. A 3 1/2 inch long nail ricocheted and struck the mason in the left eye, causing complete blindness in the eye and it was alleged that surgical enucleation of the eye would be necessary in the near future. The plaintiff also alleged that a preexisting and previously undiagnosed degenerative condition of the retina affecting the other eye posed the risk of blindness in the other eye. (Supreme Court,  New York County, Fresco vs. DNA Construction et al. 18 NY. J.V.R.A. 10:C6, 2001 WL 36503087 (N.Y.Sup.)

Why Are Some Amputations Worth More And Some Amputations Worth Less?

Lower jury verdicts often reflect liability problems such as when a jury finds that the defendant was not 100% responsible for causing the accident and/or injury.

Example of reduced personal injury case value because the defendant was not 100% responsible for causing the accident

Our client was operating a motorcycle and admitted to the police officer and to us that he ran a stop sign when he was hit by a car. Several other personal injury lawyers refused to take his case when he called us.

We argued that although our client was mostly at fault for causing the motorcycle accident, the driver of the car failed to see what she was required to see, which was the motorcyclist failing to stop at the stop sign. The car’s insurance company admitted that the driver of the car was 10% at fault.

Our client was entitled to at least 10% of the value of his injury and we got the car’s insurance company to pay the entire insurance policy because we proved that 10% of the value of the injury was more than the insurance policy.

If loss of a leg is worth a minimum of $7,000,000, 10% of that value is $700,000 and our client would get at least that after a trial. Since $700,000 is more than the car’s $500,000 insurance policy. the insurance company will offer to pay $500,000 which is the entire insurance policy.

How We Can Help You

New York Attorneys Phil Franckel and Rob Plevy provide the personal service you and your family need at the time of such a serious injury. We can even provide a personal medical manager and our Concierge Service. Take a look at our fee guarantees and services we provide.

If there isn’t enough insurance or where the defendant is an individual, we will perform an asset search and additional insurance search to make sure that we can get all the money available to provide for your future and your family’s future. We have had several cases where we found insurance which the insurance company did not disclose.

Where the defendant is a corporation, there often is sufficient insurance to pay for your pain and suffering, the cost of your ongoing care, support your family, and assist you in obtaining the tools you need to live as full a life as possible.

Amputation Due to an Accident

Amputation is the severing of a body part. An amputation can happen in the accident or from surgery when the limb or body part cannot be saved because of trauma.

Some amputations are left as is but some may require further amputation. Amputations are very serious and require substantial rehabilitation often with prosthesis also called a prosthetic or artificial limb. Lawsuits for these injuries are usually worth millions.

Financial considerations when settling a lawsuit include all past and future economic damages (below) and past and future pain and suffering (below).  Economic damages include all damages for which the cost can be calculated.  Pain and suffering are subjectively determined by a jury or agreed upon by both sides at settlement.

Modern medicine often allows reattachment and reconstruction when an amputation would have been required years ago.  The cost of reconstruction vs. amputation has been reported as similar (projected lifetime health-care cost for amputation).  Thus, it is vital to get all the money you will need.

Economic Costs Facing an Amputee after an Accident

Medical Costs of Amputation

Prostheses for an amputee of a lower extremity can range in price from $8,000 to $70,000 depending on whether a partial or complete amputation was sustained.

A prosthesis has a substantial cost for both the prosthesis and future replacements of the prosthesis. Prostheses must be replaced every few years. The cost of several future replacements must be considered when submitting damages to a jury at trial or when settling a lawsuit.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the projected lifetime health-care cost for amputation is $509,275.

Economic costs looked at in the study were the following:

  1. Initial hospitalization
  2. Rehospitalizations
  3. Inpatient rehabilitation
  4. Outpatient doctor visits
  5. Outpatient physical therapy
  6. Outpatient occupational therapy
  7. Purchase and maintenance of prosthetic devices

These costs are a national average and do not reflect the costs associated with amputation in New York.  An amputee in New York would likely experience costs approximately 20% higher.

Not mentioned in the study was the cost of drugs.  Medication alone can cost a lifetime total of as much as $500,000-$1 million.

We use an expert to prepare a complex document called a “life care plan” which documents what the future medical needs of an amputee are and how much it will cost over the entity’s lifetime. We also use an expert called an economist.

Lost Wages or Income & Vocational Training for an Amputee

Also not mentioned in the study was the cost of lost wages or income. Lost wages can reach into the millions.  Although occupational therapy was looked at, the cost of retraining for a different job was not included.

Often overlooked is the fact that an amputee who was not working at the time of the injury occurred in an accident may still be able to obtain money for lost income and occupational training. Just because someone injured in an accident was not working at the time of the accident, doesn’t mean that person isn’t allowed to be unemployed forever.

Wages and income in New York are substantially higher than in other parts of the country and the cost of vocational training is also substantially higher.

We use an expert for a vocational assessment as well as an economist to document these damages caused by the accident. The vocational assessment includes an interview and testing in New York City which lasts several hours.

Other Lifetime Costs an Amputee Faces

Additional costs of amputation include home construction modifications, vehicle modifications, help at home, and more.

As with other costs, home reconstruction modifications for the disabled will be substantially higher in New York.

Pain and Suffering Value in Addition to Economic Costs

The above costs associated with an amputation are called economic damages and do not include pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering is a subjective amount determined either by a jury or by both sides at the time of settlement. Economic damages reviewed above are those damages which are not subjective but can be calculated by experts.

Pain and suffering is a generally known legal term that is often misunderstood to include the entire amount of money you are entitled to after an accident but it does not include economic damages. It includes an award for the physical pain and emotional stress and depression caused by an injury such as the loss of a limb or other body part, scarring and shortening of life expectancy.

At the time of trial, a jury will award past and future economic costs but will also give an award for past and future pain and suffering.  A case may be settled anytime before trial but settlements are based upon what both sides think a jury will award at the time of trial.

What Is the Settlement Value of an Amputation?

The settlement value in a lawsuit for the amputation or loss of a leg can be $7 Million or more. The amount of money you could be entitled to receive as compensation for an amputation can vary drastically depending upon a large number of factors such as the percentage of negligence of the person who caused your injury; what was amputated; your age and many other factors.

We use three or more experts to document the economic costs associated with an amputation to make sure you get every dollar of the economic costs you need in addition to pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering award is for that and should not be used for your medical treatment and to replace your lost income.

Side Effects of Amputation

People suffering an amputation injury with a prosthesis experience many complications and side effects from medical treatments and prescription drugs including:

  • Phantom pain (when the brain continues to send signals to the amputated limb)
  • Chronic Neuroma (pain/ tenderness at amputation area)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infection
  • Stiffness
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) which is a chronic neurological pain condition with continuous, intense pain out of proportion to the severity of the injury, which gets worse rather than better over time. It can cause severe burning pain, pathological changes to bone and skin, excessive sweating, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch.
  • Severe emotional problems and depression require psychological support to deal with the tragic loss of a limb.

Accidents Usually Causing an Amputation

An amputation injury usually results from one of the following traumatic accidents:

Injuries Which Can Cause an Amputation

When an amputation is not caused in the accident it may be needed if the injury is serious. The following injuries can result in a later amputation:

Any amputation is a serious injury, even the loss of a fingertip or a toe. If you had an amputation of a fingertip, an arm or leg in New York, we want to represent you!

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