A blog containing useful information on the purpose of compensation in medical negligence claims and the different types of compensation that may be claimed for loss of a limb.
By Naomi Todd
I have acted for a number of clients who have unfortunately suffered amputation of a limb as a result of medical negligence. This can be, for example, as a result of a failure to diagnose vascular insufficiency, or a failure to provide adequate diabetic care and management.
Amputation claims can result in high levels of compensation due to the huge impact the loss of a limb can have on an individual’s life. My clients often, understandably, have no previous experience of making a claim for compensation and do not know what they will be able to claim as compensation for amputation of their limb. I thought it would therefore be helpful to set out different types of compensation that may be claimed.
Compensation is designed to put the client back into a position that he/she would have been in, but for the injury.
When a Claimant has lost a limb as a result of negligence, they not only face a physical and mental struggle to come to terms with what has happened, but also a financial worry.
Unfortunately, we find that our clients often feel forgotten after their surgery, and due to a lack of funding among other things, feel that there is a lack of support and lack of understanding about their on-going needs.
When calculating compensation in an amputation claim, we understand that clients have suffered a life-changing experience and can assist them by ensuring that we allow as part of their claim, funds to purchase the best quality aids and prosthesis to enable them to resume as close to a normal life as possible. Unfortunately nothing can actually take away the injury that has been suffered but financial compensation can mean that the injured person is relieved of financial worry and can access the best care and support.
In addition, we recognise that clients need emotional support and information following their traumatic surgery. It is often the case that clients develop clinically significant symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following, and related to, their experiences. Our clients have suffered a significant loss, not only due to the actual physical loss of their limb, but also due to a loss of expectation of health, independence, mobility and health, and the ability to confidently cope with life’s challenges.
Having an opportunity to talk to someone about their loss, and undergo counselling is a vital part of a client’s rehabilitation.
Damages (i.e Compensation) consists of 3 main strands:
1. General damages; this is an amount which is designed to compensate the client for their pain and suffering;
2. Special damages; this largely relates to past financial loses that are incurred from the accident to the date of the trial.
3. Future losses; these set out the losses the client is likely to incur in the future, as a result of the injury.
General damages are generally calculated by reference to judicial guidelines, called the Judicial College Guidelines (JC Guidelines), which sets out brackets of damages awarded for various types of injuries, taking into account the severity of the injury both physically and psychologically. The JC Guidelines are used by the Courts to assess general damages to be awarded, depending on the type of injury that has been suffered.
Special damages and future losses in amputation are often complex and include many different types of claims. By way of example, these can include:
Loss of earnings, care and assistance, housework, DIY, gardening, travel expenses, furniture, house adaptations/new accommodation, additional leisure and holiday costs, clothing and footwear, extra heating costs, extra food expenses, hospital expenses, cost of walking aids, prosthetics, other aids and equipment, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, adapted vehicles, psychological therapy, physiotherapy.
This gives you an idea as to why these claims can result in such high levels of compensation. We look carefully at each client’s individual circumstances and what their specific needs to ensure they receive the maximum compensation.
Assisting our clients in obtaining the compensation they need to get their lives back on track is vital to ensure they are given the opportunity to recover from their ordeal as best they can. When clients have lost limbs as a result of negligence, they are entitled to have access to the equipment and support they need to aid their recovery. It is our job to help our clients get their lives back to some form of normality.
If you think you might be entitled to compensation due to medical negligence which has resulted in you suffering amputation of a limb, please contact a member of our team for further advice.