Trauma and Limb Amputations

Leonie Millard
Leonie Millard

Published: November 22nd, 2022

7 min read

In traumatic injury and limb amputation cases, there should be a focus on rehabilitation. This means considering what support you need to allow you to return to work, the financial support you will need, and any changes to your home environment amongst many others. This is achieved by putting together a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) that will support you through your case; through the stages of putting together the claim and beyond this, when the claim has been finalised.

Your psychological needs after such an injury must also be addressed. It is helpful to set timescales within which certain stages of your case will be dealt with, as much as possible - these types of claims are often complex and can take a long time.

It is also very important to make sure you have a good support network in place. This can include your friends, family, or care and support workers. In a lot of cases, support workers and a case manager should be brought into the team anyway to ensure that your needs are being met whilst the case is ongoing. Forbes will make sure that this is done if appropriate for your level of injury.

Planning

We will make sure that a plan is in place for the duration of your case, and beyond. It is important to make sure that you are comfortable in expressing your needs and views to the team. It is common for those suffering traumatic injuries and limb amputations to also be suffering psychological injury, such as depression and anxiety. The team will be aware of this and be on hand to help. Negative feelings can be a barrier to the progress of rehabilitation, so it is vital that the team can recognise the signs and take appropriate action. The MDT will be there to provide support and structure to your day. Each case has to be assessed on it's own facts and merit and the makeup of a team may differ to meet the specific needs of the client. Key people in the MDT:

  • Legal team - The legal team will put together the claim with assistance from the rest of the MDT, as well as putting together the MDT itself.
  • Case manager - The case manager will be experienced in traumatic injury and limb amputation cases. They will be in place for a number of years to provide support after the claim has concluded.
  • Prosthetics expert - If prosthetics are required, a prosthetics expert should form part of the team. They will be able to advise as to the most appropriate prosthetic, the pros and cons of different types of prosthetics, and keep an eye out for any advancements in prosthetic technologies that could be of benefit to you.
  • Physiotherapist - A physiotherapist will be able to help to restore movement and function in the affected limbs and joints.
  • Occupational Therapist - An occupational therapist will be able to assist you in aspects of your home and professional life, to see whether there are any changes that can be made to make life easier.
  • Job coach - A job coach can be an important part of the MDT. If you will be able to return to the workforce in the future, a job coach will be able to help you find a role that you would be able to carry out.
  • Tissue viability practitioner - Sometimes skin problems can persist in those who have experienced traumatic injuries or limb amputations. A tissue viability practitioner will be able to make sure that any skin issues are appropriately managed and medicated.
  • Rehabilitation consultant - A rehabilitation consultant will be able to provide assistance on all aspects of the case. They will also be able to advise on the contralateral limb (the limb on the opposite side to the one that has been amputated), as often this limb can be put under a lot more stress as you rely on it more and more. A rehabilitation consultant will be able to provide treatments and exercises to help look after the limb.
  • Medico legal expert - Medico legal experts have an in-depth knowledge of the medical issues at play during a clinical negligence claim, and can help the legal team in framing your argument. This will involve establishing that there has been a breach of duty and the extent of damage caused by it.

Money and interim payments

Claims for traumatic injuries and limb amputations require a lot of money. A lot of the time these claims will also be appropriate for an interim payment. An interim payment is a payment made by the Defendant to the Claimant before the overall value of damages has been agreed. These are often used in high value claims where the Defendant is not disputing liability for the negligence and it is simply a matter of agreeing how much damages are to be paid. Interim payments can be used for renovating your house to ensure you can live comfortably with your injuries, purchasing equipment, accessible vehicles, or additional care ,amongst other things.

Prosthetics

The process of obtaining prosthetics can be slow. Time must be allowed to pass post-amputation to let the area heal before trialling prosthetics. The MDT should also consider 'doubling up' on prosthetics. This has the benefit of allowing you to still have a prosthetic available if one is awaiting repair or servicing. It is also possible to have one prosthetic designated for use in water or in high energy sports, and another for normal everyday use.

It is very important that you trial different types of prosthetics, as there are many different types available. For example, gait analyses should be carried out for lower-limb prosthetics. The chosen prosthetic should be the one that you find the best.

Another consideration when trialling prosthetics is funds. Trialling prosthetics can be expensive, and the MDT will make sure that you have sufficient funds available to begin trialling. The best way of doing this is usually to secure an interim payment prior to testing the prosthetics.

Sports and hobbies are vital for wellbeing. Specialist prosthetics can be bought that can be used for specific sports and activities. The MDT will make sure you are heavily involved in this aspect of the case, so you can trial prosthetics that would allow you to undertake the activities that you are (or would be) interested in.

For further information relating to any of the issues raised in this article, make an enquiry or give us a call on the contact details below.

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