Losing a part of your body due to someone else’s negligence can be overwhelming. Besides physical pain and suffering, an amputation can cause severe psychological trauma and permanently affect your ability to work and perform daily tasks.
Many accidents may result in a loss of limb injury, including road traffic accidents, machinery accidents at work, severe burns and medical negligence. If another person or organisation was at least partially responsible for your accident, you might be able to make an amputation claim.
Loss of limb compensation can make a significant difference to your future life and help you regain your independence. You can recover damages for pain and suffering, as well as any past and future out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of your injury.
If you or a loved one has lost a limb due to the fault of another, specialist amputation solicitors can help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form to receive a no-obligation call back.
Can I make an amputation claim?
An amputation refers to the loss of a body part either in a traumatic accident or through surgical intervention and can severely impact your life and mental health. If the actions of another party caused your injury, you could be eligible to claim amputation compensation.
A free consultation with a legal adviser is the easiest and quickest way to find out if you can take legal action. As a general rule, amputation claims are possible if:
- You have been injured in the last three years
- Another person was wholly or partially responsible for your injury
- That person owed you a duty of care
Generally speaking, everyone must act in a way that does not endanger the health, safety and well-being of others. There are also specific laws that establish a duty of care, such as:
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states the obligations of employers toward employees
- The Road Traffic Act 1988 establishes the responsibilities of road users
- The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 covers the duties of business owners and other occupiers towards visitors
You do not have to worry about establishing a duty of care, as your solicitor will take care of the legal aspects of your case and offer you help and advice at every step of the claims process. This includes gathering evidence to support your amputation negligence claim and working out how much compensation you are entitled to receive.
Your solicitor will contact the other side and inform them of your intentions to make an amputation claim. If they admit liability, you can begin to negotiate a settlement. If the defendant denies responsibility for your loss of limb injury, you may have to issue court proceedings.
Amputation solicitors offer a no win no fee service to fund claims that have a fair chance of success. If your case has merit, you can pursue compensation without paying any upfront solicitor fees or taking any financial risks. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay a penny.
What type of accidents could result in an amputation?
Amputation injuries can happen as a result of many types of accidents. The most common circumstances leading to amputation claims include the following:
Road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of amputations, especially below the knee joint level. There could be traumatic amputations, where a limb or part of it is severed from the body in the accident itself. In other cases, a body part could be so crushed or damaged in the accident that surgical amputation may be necessary to save the victim’s life.
Any road traffic accident could lead to an amputation negligence claim, including:
If another person caused your road accident, you might be eligible to claim loss of limb compensation. You can also claim if you were not wearing your seatbelt or in any other way partially to blame for your injury. In this case, your compensation award could be reduced to reflect your partial fault for the injuries sustained.
Accidents at work
Amputation injuries at work most commonly occur when employers fail to follow the health and safety legislation and do not:
- Carry out adequate risk assessments to identify hazards
- Provide health and safety guidance and training to employees
- Ensure a safe working environment and good housekeeping
- Provide suitable and free of charge personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Ensure that staff are qualified and trained for the job
- Adequately service and maintain dangerous machinery
- Make sure to have safety guards, fencing and warning signage in place
Amputations occur across many industries, but some jobs, such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture and forestry, have an increased risk of injury. Some of the most common work accidents leading to amputation claims include:
- Machinery accidents
- Falls from height
- Farm accidents
- Building site accidents
- Electric shocks
- Forklift accidents
If your employer failed to take all reasonable measures to prevent an accident at work, you might be able to make an amputation claim.
Amputation injuries in the military are primarily due to explosions and other blast injuries. Other causes include frostbite, infections, electric shocks, and crush injuries. According to the latest reports by the Ministry of Defence, the number of UK service personnel that suffered a traumatic or surgical amputation is:
- Between 7 October 2001 and 31 March 2022, 303 UK service personnel suffered amputations because of injuries sustained in Afghanistan;
- Between 1 March 2003 and 31 March 2022, 35 UK military personnel suffered a loss of limb injury in Iraq.
Some service personnel may be able to continue with their military career even after an amputation injury. For others, however, this will be the end of their military service.
All military personnel injured in the line of duty can make an amputation claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). This is a no-fault scheme managed by Veterans UK that compensates for any injury to military personnel without having to prove negligence.
Accidents in public
Legislation such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the Highways Act 1980 state that local councils and business owners must maintain all public places free of hazards and safe for all visitors. Many accidents in public may lead to the loss of a limb, including:
- Electric shocks due to faulty appliances, exposed wires and improper earthing
- Burn injuries caused by fires, hot liquids or dangerous chemicals
- Slips, trips and falls or falls from a height
- Dog bites and other animal attacks that have caused severe injuries
- Being hit by falling objects
- Accidents involving explosions, firearms or fireworks
- Accidents at school or playgrounds resulting in severe injuries to children
If you or a loved one suffered an accident in public due to someone else’s fault, you might be able to make an amputation negligence claim.
Faulty products such as malfunctioning cars, gas grills, appliances and other devices may lead to amputation injuries. If you lost a limb due to flaws in the manufacturing, design, or warning labels of a product, you could claim compensation.
Under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, you do not have to prove negligence to be eligible for amputation compensation. You only need to show that:
- The product you bought and used was faulty
- It caused you the amputation injury and losses you are claiming
- The defendant is responsible for releasing or distributing the product
According to the Act, personal injury claims cannot be brought later than ten years after the product was put into circulation.
Regardless of how you were injured, you might be able to make an amputation claim if somebody else was at fault. To find out if you have valid grounds to claim compensation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with an amputation solicitor.
Can I claim for an amputation caused by medical negligence?
Sadly, amputations can be a direct result of medical negligence and substandard healthcare. Amputation claims following medical errors are rare, but you should seek legal advice if you believe that your doctor caused you avoidable pain and suffering.
- Cancer misdiagnosis
- Failure to treat a leg ulcer correctly
- Reduced blood supply to limbs
- Poorly treated infections
- Delayed diagnosis or incorrect management of diabetes
- Failure to identify or diagnose deep vein thrombosis
- Incorrect treatment of fractures
Diabetes is the most common cause of lower limb amputations in the UK. According to Diabetes UK, there were 26,378 lower limb amputations related to diabetes between 2014 and 2017, with more than 135 amputations every week.
Not all mistakes are considered medical negligence. To be eligible for loss of limb compensation, you will have to prove the following:
- A breach of duty
Every healthcare professional has a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care to patients. If your doctor failed to act as a competent and skilful healthcare provider with the same level of training would, they breached their duty of care towards you.
Amputation solicitors must prove that the loss of limb injury was a direct consequence of substandard care. If it could not have been avoided by acting differently, your amputation negligence claim would not stand.
To claim amputation compensation, you need clear evidence of the personal and financial damages caused by your injury. That may include medical records, official reports, expert witness assessments, receipts and invoices related to out-of-pocket expenses.
Your solicitor will consult with medical experts in the field to prove that the care you received was below a reasonable standard. Tools such as the Bolam Test and the guidelines provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence give solicitors and doctors objective standards for comparison. These help prove a breach of duty in medical negligence claims.
How much compensation can you claim for the loss of a limb?
The compensation awarded in each amputation claim depends on the victim’s unique circumstances, such as:
- The site and severity of the amputation
- Whether you had any fault for your accident
- How the loss of limb injury affected your daily life
- The past and future financial losses and expenses incurred
Before negotiating your settlement, your solicitor will consider the impact the injury had on your life to ensure you are fully compensated. In every personal injury claim, you can recover two types of damages:
Special damages reimburse you for financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the injury, as well as future financial needs, such as:
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity due to being unable to return to work
- Medical expenses for consultations, treatments and hospital stays
- Cost of physiotherapists and occupational therapists
- Adaptations to your home or vehicle to accommodate your disability
- Costs of care and assistance with daily tasks, even if provided by friends or family
- Cost of prostheses and other medical aids
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
- Any other reasonable expenses related to your loss of limb injury
General damages compensate you for the amputation injury and how this affected your life, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of amenity and enjoyment of life
- Loss of a unique career
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical disability and loss of independence
To calculate the compensation award for general damages, amputation solicitors refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College. According to them, you could receive:
- £28,310 to £43,710 for the loss of a thumb
- £3,150 to £4,670 for losing part of the little finger
- £6,890 to £9,760 for the complete loss of the little finger
- Up to £12,460 for the amputation of the middle finger
- Around £14,930 for losing the index finger
- £49,350 to £72,330 for the amputation of several fingers
- £76,650 to £87,410 for the loss of one hand
- £112,100 to £160,600 for the amputation of both hands
- £76,650 to £87,410 for the loss of one arm below the elbow
- Over £109,330 for loss of one arm at the shoulder
- £191,950 to £239,140 for the amputation of both arms
- Around £24,950 for losing several toes
- £66,930 to £87,410 for loss of one foot
- £97,980 to £132,990 for amputation of one leg below the knee
- £240,790 to £282,010 for amputation of both legs above the knee
It is important to remember that the figures above are for general damages only. Compensation for loss of earnings and other financial expenses would be calculated and added on top of these amounts.
What evidence will I need to claim loss of limb compensation?
To make a successful claim for loss of limb compensation, you will need relevant evidence to show how the accident happened and who was responsible for it. If you have been involved in an accident leading to an amputation injury, there are some steps you should take to help build a strong case:
- Try to collect all medical records and documentation related to your injury, such as surgery notes and doctor’s letters.
- When appropriate, call the police and file a report. Some incidents where the authorities should be notified include dog attacks, hit-and-run accidents, and criminal assaults.
- Take as many photos as possible of the accident scene, your injuries and damage to your belongings. You should also keep a photographic record during your recovery.
- If there were any witnesses to your accident, approach them and get their contact details. Your solicitor might contact them later for a statement.
- Keep the receipts for all the financial expenses you incurred, such as home adjustments and travel costs.
- Take notes of how the accident occurred, who you think was responsible for it, and how it affected your life.
- If you suffered an accident at work or in a public place, make sure to file an accident report with the responsible party. A signed copy of the accident logbook entry will serve as proof of the date, time and location of your accident.
- If your accident was captured on CCTV or a dash cam, you have the right to ask for a copy of the footage. This can give a clear representation of how the events unfolded.
If you have little evidence or want to make an amputation claim on behalf of a loved one, you should not worry. Your solicitor will help you gather everything you need to win the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
How long do I have to make an amputation claim?
The Limitation Act 1980 sets the time limit to bring an amputation negligence claim at three years after the date of an accident. After this period, your case becomes statute-barred, and the court will likely deny any future amputation claims.
However, several exceptions may apply to your case. For example:
- If the injured person is a child, a parent or another litigation friend may claim amputation compensation on their behalf at any time. The three-year time limit starts to run once the person turns 18, providing a claim has not already been made on their behalf.
- The time limit to claim is suspended if the person lacks the mental capacity to conduct their own legal proceedings. This might be due to a pre-existing condition, such as an intellectual disability or mental health disorder, or because of the accident that led to the amputation injury.
- If you lost a limb due to a criminal assault, you could pursue compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The standard time limit to make a CICA claim is two years after an accident and after having reported it to the police.
- Military personnel injured on duty have seven years to claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and three years to claim under civil law.
- If you suffered an accident abroad, you should still be eligible to make an amputation claim. The time limits vary considerably from country to country and may be as short as six months.
- If you lost a limb due to medical negligence, the three-year countdown begins on the date of knowledge of the negligent treatment.
Regardless of how much time you think you have to start your claim, you should contact an amputation solicitor as early as possible. Doing so will give them plenty of time to gather evidence to support your claim, and witnesses will be more likely to remember details about the accident.
Furthermore, they could arrange for you to benefit from private treatments and rehabilitation or a state-of-the-art prosthetic limb that may not be available through the NHS. If your case is straightforward, your solicitor may also be able to arrange for you to receive interim payments.
To start your claim for loss of limb compensation, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation. Alternatively, you can start your claim online by entering your details into our simple online claim form to receive a call back.
How much will it cost to make an amputation compensation claim?
Amputation claims can be funded with a no win no fee service, which means it will not cost you a single penny to start legal proceedings. If your solicitor believes you have a fair chance of success, they will take on your case without asking for any upfront fees.
Furthermore, you do not have to pay them anything if they do not win your claim. This conditional fee agreement gives victims of negligence a chance to pursue compensation regardless of their financial situation. You do not risk being left with any out-of-pocket expenses either, which makes no win no fee the preferred way to fund personal injury claims.
Right from the start, your solicitor will also take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. This is a legal expenses insurance that covers all the legal charges and disbursements incurred during litigation if you lose the case, including:
- The defendant’s solicitor fees
- Court fees
- Barrister fees if your case goes to court
- Police and medical reports
- Expert witness fees
In a no win no fee claim, you only have to pay anything if you receive compensation for your injury. The deductions from your compensation award include:
- The cost of the ATE insurance policy
- A success fee paid to your solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a no win no fee agreement.
Regardless of how long your claim takes to settle, the success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award. The success fee and the whole no win no fee service will be thoroughly discussed and explained to you before taking on your case.
Can I make an amputation claim on behalf of a loved one?
Yes, under the Court of Protection Rules 2017, you could claim amputation compensation on behalf of a child or an adult who is a protected party. According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a protected party is an adult who suffers from a condition such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A neurodegenerative disease such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease
- An intellectual disability such as autism or Down syndrome
- A stroke or severe brain injury
- A mental health disorder like schizophrenia or major depression
To make an amputation negligence claim on behalf of a loved one, you must apply to the court to become their litigation friend and provide evidence that:
- You can fairly and competently conduct legal proceedings
- Your interests do not conflict with those of the victim
Becoming a litigation friend is a long-term commitment that brings many responsibilities. Before taking on the role, you should carefully consider whether you are willing to:
- Attend court hearings
- Pay any fees requested by the court
- Approve and sign legal documents
- Make decisions about the claim
- Consider settlement offers
- Meet with amputation solicitors and take legal advice
If you reach an out-of-court settlement, you will likely need to attend an Approval Hearing in court. A judge will evaluate all the available evidence to ensure that the victim was fairly compensated. Your solicitor may also help you set up a personal injury trust for the victim so their compensation award will not affect any means-tested benefits they might be entitled to now or in the future.
Your role as litigation friend ends when a child turns 18, if a protected party regains mental capacity or if the claim comes to an end. You or someone else may also apply to the court for a replacement if you have a valid reason to do so.
If you feel you may have a valid amputation claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. They can let you know if your case has merit and answer any questions you may have.