You may not have time to react in the moments leading up to a car accident. A car crash lasts only a few seconds but can change your life forever. Even if you survive a serious accident, you may suffer catastrophic injuries. Limb loss is one of the most traumatic injuries that affect crash survivors and changes someone’s life forever. The mental and emotional devastation of unexpected limb loss can take a lifetime to recover from. If you’ve lost a limb after a car crash, the road ahead is long, and it will take a physical and financial toll.
The loss of a limb can happen after any car accident, but pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists face a greater risk of suffering from a serious injury. The chances of a severe crash also increase significantly when a tractor-trailer is involved. A vehicle provides a barrier during a crash, with the car taking the brunt of the impact. Pedestrians and cyclists don’t have the same protection because vehicles hit them directly during a collision. The average car weighs 4,000 pounds. The human body is not meant to sustain that force. You are 27 times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash, and only 15% of pedestrians survive being struck at 40 mph. If they are fortunate enough to survive a crash, non-drivers on the road often face life-changing injuries that require amputation.
Types of Limb Loss Injuries
Two main types of amputation can happen after a car accident. Traumatic amputation occurs when a limb detaches during an injury or accident. Partial hand amputation is the most common type of limb loss. Sometimes a surgeon can reattach a limb if the procedure happens in the hours soon after a car crash occurs. Surgical amputation happens after an accident when a limb is partially or entirely damaged and needs to be removed. Below-knee amputations are the most common type of limb loss surgery.
Limb amputation surgeries have a range of possible complications. Emergency amputations are more complex than planned procedures, but both carry risks. Heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis, wound infections, and pneumonia are all common side effects of amputation. Amputees may face “phantom pain,” where patients experience pain in the missing limb. The condition ranges in severity but can be debilitating.
Additionally, the psychological anguish of limb loss is significant. Car accident survivors who experience limb loss commonly have post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. They may struggle to understand why the accident happened and mourn their previous lives.
Limb Loss Treatment & Costs
Technology has progressed recently, and prosthetics can help amputees return to everyday life. After surgery, a patient will start physical therapy to help strengthen muscles and adjust to life with limb loss. Once a wound heals, an amputee can be fitted for a prosthetic limb. Prosthetics can be fitted and painted to match skin, and many are realistic enough that they are not distinguishable. Advanced prosthetics can help restore the sense of touch and mimic the movements of natural limbs. But these devices often come at a hefty price and are not always covered by insurance. Prosthetic legs and arms can cost well into the six figures, and patients may be expected to pay out-of-pocket.
One study found that the lifetime cost of amputation per patient was more than $500,000. Prosthetics aren’t built to last forever; most must be replaced after a few years. Additionally, limb loss patients may spend a long time in counseling, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Even car crashes that do not lead to serious injury can cause detrimental mental health effects, and amputees are even more susceptible to mental distress. Lastly, limb loss can make it difficult to return to work. It can take up to a year to fully recover, and amputees may find returning to jobs requiring physical labor challenging. As a result, some may choose to work in a modified role or change industries after the injury.
Finding An Attorney For Virginia Loss of Limb Accidents
The aftermath of a limb loss injury caused by a Virginia car accident can be traumatic, but healing is possible. Thanks to the advent of technology, artificial limbs are more similar to biological limbs than in the past. But recovery can be prohibitively expensive, and car insurance companies do not usually offer adequate payment. A car accident lawsuit considers factors like your pain and suffering, lost earnings, future medical expenses, and the cost of new prosthetics over the years. While your life may look different after limb loss, a Virginia personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need to live a fulfilling life. Our attorneys at Curcio Law can help you determine whether you have a claim and the best path to obtaining full compensation to help you move forward with your life. Call or text us at 703-836-3366 or contact us online to discuss your case in a free initial consultation.
Justin Curcio joined Curcio Law in January 2020. Justin received his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2015. After passing the Virginia Bar in 2015, Justin was in-house counsel for an insurance defense firm (Allstate/Esurance/Encompass) for over four years before joining Curcio Law. During law school, he worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the law firm of Bartlett, McDonough & Monaghan, LLP. Contact Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org.