Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorney Says Life Altering Amputations Net Higher Damages January 25, 2011.

Losing a limb instantly changes a person’s life. Thus, where personal injury lawsuits are concerned, having the wrong arm or leg amputated amounts to higher compensation.

The impact of losing a limb – whether that is an arm, ear, foot, leg, or finger – is mentally, emotionally and physically devastating. Just as a person’s recovery from the loss may vary, depending on the severity of the amputation, the settlement or verdict amount can vary, depending on how the limb was lost.

"If a patient had the wrong limb amputated and now faces life without either limb, he or she may be compensated more than a person who lost a finger in a car accident," says Christopher Mellino, an amputation attorney in Cleveland, Ohio.

Typically, amputation claims tend to fall into several categories, largely based on the type of amputation. There is traumatic amputation, which is the result of a serious accident. An accident like this may happen at any time, anywhere and may involve a car, truck, big rig, or motorcycle. Amputations in this category may be complete, meaning a total loss of limb and tissue, or they may be partial, in which some soft tissue remains. Unfortunately, in many instances, although some tissue may remain, it is usually crushed.

"Surgical error accounts for some amputations. Often what starts out to be a surgery for one thing may end in an amputation that was not planned. This may be the result of a surgical procedure in which complications developed, necessitating the amputation. Any patient who loses a body part as the result of a surgical mistake may file a claim for the amputation and the surgical error," said Mellino.

Amputations may also be the result of a surgeon removing the wrong body part, operating on the wrong patient, or misdiagnosing a disease and taking a limb or organ in error.

"If a patient loses a leg below the knee in an attempt to prevent cancer from spreading, and it later turns out the patient didn’t have cancer, he or she may file a medical malpractice lawsuit for that amputation," Mellino said.