Nearly two million people are currently living with an amputation in the United States and about 185,000 people are added each year to that gruesome statistic, according to the Amputee Coalition. The majority of these are due to natural causes, ailments such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease. But in other cases, amputations are caused by trauma and in some cases medical error.
Workplace accidents, such as those suffered by construction and factory workers, are the scene of many injuries that result in amputations. For instance, a Reading, Pa., man lost a leg when he was standing atop a conveyor to clean the machine and it suddenly started up, pulling him into a screw-type device. Sometimes these “accidents” are actually caused by negligence. In the conveyor incident, a lawsuit was filed that resulted in a $20 million settlement for the worker.
In other cases, such as auto accidents resulting in amputations, careless drivers may be at fault. Another, though less frequent cause, is medical malpractice, including things such as botched surgeries or missed or late diagnoses of illnesses, such as cancer.
In addition to possible medical error, many amputations occur as the result of accidents with firearms and fireworks as well as burns, frostbite and electrical injuries. Upper limbs are involved in nearly 70% of all amputations. According to WebMD, not only do amputations cause severe pain and suffering but they are also costly, with the average victim requiring extensive care and spending 14 days in a hospital. Many days of work are missed if victims can even go back to their jobs at all.
Kline & Specter has successfully handled a number of major lawsuits involving amputations. Tom Kline won a $51 million verdict for a child whose foot was severed in a mass transit SEPTA escalator. He also won a $14 million jury verdict against a school district for a teenager who lost her leg when she was run over by a school bus. In addition to the $20 million settlement for the Reading man whose leg was amputated in a screw conveyor, the firm obtained a $5.35 million settlement for a factory worker struck by a forklift, resulting in the amputation of one leg at the knee.
In a few other notable cases, the firm’s attorneys won:
- An $8 million settlement for a woman who lost half her leg after she was struck by a car.
- A $3.125 million settlement for a passenger in a commercial van driven off the side of a highway. The rider lost four fingers and part of his palm in one hand.
- A confidential settlement in a case in which the use of a diabetes drug resulted in amputations to a patient’s lower extremities. The settlement was among the largest for this type of case.
Kline & Specter, with more than 40 lawyers, five of whom are also highly skilled medical doctors, has the experience and expertise to handle litigation involving amputations. All case reviews are free.