Houston Amputation & Crush Injury Attorneys
Nationwide Representation for Victims of Traumatic Loss of Limb
Years ago, a construction superintendent was standing behind a safety fence during a drilling project. He was overseeing a project that involved using a drilling auger attached to a crane, which allowed them to do deep foundation drilling. The auger got stuck, and while the operator attempted to unstick the drill, the crane collapsed on the superintendent. His injuries forced his doctors to make an above-the-knee amputation.
He called Arnold & Itkin for help.
Our client didn’t have a desk job. He worked in construction—the loss of his leg meant the loss of his career (and more directly, the loss of his income). Just as importantly, the loss of his leg created incredible mental anguish, trauma, and physical pain. Over three weeks, our Houston amputation lawyers argued that our client needed significant financial support to overcome his injury and move on with his life. The jury agreed.
Our client was awarded $44 million—the largest award for an amputee victim in U.S. history.
The Cost of a Lost Limb
Losing a limb is trauma by itself. Losing a limb due to a catastrophic accident can leave people in pain and anguish for years, making it harder for them to earn a living. Even with the right financial resources in place, limb prosthetics can cost tens of thousands of dollars—not including the time spent adjusting to using it, the hours of physical therapy, and the lost work efficiency due to using it.
The effects of amputation include:
- Loss of mobility and dexterity
- Stump and phantom limb pain
- Muscle contractures
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Body image issues
- Social isolation
One study found that amputees faced tens of thousands of dollars in care costs on average from hospital and professional fees without accounting for prosthetic costs. When the cost of using/buying prosthetics was added in, patients’ lifetime expenses reached six figures on average. Just for treatment—not counseling, emotional pain and suffering, the loss of a career, or the grief that comes from losing a piece of yourself.
The loss of a limb is mental, physical, and emotional. The results of your case should reflect that.
What Is a Crush Injury?
Crush injuries happen when prolonged or forceful compression causes damage to muscles, blood vessels, nerves, bone, and tissue. Approximately 75% of crush injuries affect the legs, with 10% affecting the arms. Crush injuries are often caused by heavy equipment and can range in severity from closing the door on a finger to more serious damage that results in disability or death. Extensive damage to the bone and muscle can render the limb completely unsalvageable, necessitating amputation. Some minor injuries can be treated without the help of a medical professional, but many require immediate attention to prevent serious complications.
Crush injuries can lead to other serious medical consequences such as:
- Physiological disorders
- Compartment syndrome
- Paralysis of the crushed limb
- Amputation to prevent gangrene or death
Why Crush Injuries Are Dangerous & Potentially Fatal
When a crush injury occurs, abnormal compression forces disrupt the chemical balance of the muscle cells. This disruption damages the structures in the cell membranes that are responsible for pumping calcium and potassium into the cells and removing sodium from the cells, which can break the muscle cell membrane and cause cell death. When this happens, muscles break down and release a protein into the blood known as myoglobin. This release leads to rhabdomyolysis, which results in low blood pressure and vomiting.
If rhabdomyolysis is not treated immediately, it can lead to:
- Kidney failure
- Toxic shock
- Fatal injury
Medical intervention is required to prevent kidney damage and stabilize blood pressure, and surgery may be needed to repair tissue damage. Sadly, amputation may be the only effective medical treatment in some cases. One of the reasons crush injuries are so devastating is the long-term impact suffered by the victims. Crush injuries can lead to intense, constant pain, and even the potential of permanent pain—also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).
Common Causes of Amputation & Crushing Injuries
When machinery with moving parts is used, employers are required to make sure all equipment is safe to operate and well-maintained. Workers must be trained in the proper methods of operation, cleaning, and maintenance of the equipment to prevent crushing injury. They must be provided with equipment and tools that reduce the danger of amputation and crush injuries and must be adequately trained in their proper use.
Amputation and crushing injuries in the workplace usually involve:
- Parts of moving machinery
- Powered doors
- Heavy loads being dropped
Amputation & Crush Injuries on Oil Rigs
With all of the heavy machinery and equipment that oil rig workers must operate daily, it is no surprise that amputation and crush injuries are some of the most common injuries reported on oil rigs. After drilling begins, pipes are added to keep up with the deepening of the well. Unsecured drill pipes can roll and injure workers. It is important for workers to be educated on good lifting techniques with heavy drilling parts to prevent injury. Workers should also try to keep away from rotating parts and follow safe lifting and hoisting procedures.
Amputation Injury FAQ
What are the most common causes of traumatic amputation?
Unplanned amputation, arising from an accident or injury, is often referred to as traumatic amputation or loss of limb. It is estimated that about 30,000 people experience traumatic amputations in the U.S. each year.
The leading causes of accidental traumatic amputation are:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Industrial injuries
- Electrocution accidents
For these people and their families, life will never be the same. They must deal with the emotional trauma of losing a part of their bodies and will have to re-learn tasks and movements that they used to take for granted: walking, running, picking up objects, fine motor skills, and more. These victims deserve to see justice served.
How long does it take for crush injuries to heal?
The length of time it will take for a crush injury to heal will depend on the extent of damage. A hand that’s partially crushed with no bone fractures, for example, may heal in a few days or weeks. A severely crushed limb may take multiple surgeries and months to heal. Some crush injuries are so severe that they require surgical amputation. You should talk to your doctor and see specialists as needed to ensure you have the best opportunity to heal.
How are crush injuries treated?
Treatment for a crush injury will depend on the extent of damage you’ve experienced. The path to recovery may include emergency treatment and hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and assistive devices. In some cases, complications like nerve damage may arise, limiting the use of the crushed limb or extremity even if it seems healed on the outside. Initial treatment, ongoing therapy, and living with a crush injury can be difficult and expensive. That’s why it is so important to recover full and fair compensation.
What compensation can I recover in an amputation or crush injury claim?
An injury claim should cover every expense, loss, and wrong a victim has experienced. This includes medical treatment and ongoing care, plus the cost of physical therapy and prosthetics, as well as medication and other medical supplies or assistive devices. It also includes lost income or future earnings, as many amputees cannot return to the same work that they previously performed or may be unable to work for an extended period of time. An amputation or crush injury lawsuit should also cover emotional trauma, which can be extensive after this type of devastating injury. Compensation should be awarded for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other psychological trauma. Recovery cannot erase the consequences of the accident itself, but it can help a victim and their family get the support they need to restore their lives and face brighter futures.
Speak with Our Houston Amputation & Crush Injury Lawyers: (888) 493-1629
Proving that negligence caused the crush injury, the amputation, or even lead to a situation that necessitated amputation means one thing: the ability to start over without fear or stress. At Arnold & Itkin, we are here to help fight for the resources you need: quality medical care, recovered lost wages, and long-term rehabilitation.
People turn to our Houston catastrophic injury attorneys because:
- We have won billions of dollars for our clients.
- We have set state and national records with our victories.
- We have won hundreds of case results worth $1 million or more.
- We have won cases for our clients in more than 40 states.
Arnold & Itkin has helped our clients rebuild their lives—to provide for their families, find new careers, and keep their homes. Our work has helped people find hope again. Together, we can fight to hold your wrongdoer accountable and force them to do right by you and your loved ones. No matter what.
Call (888) 493-1629 or contact us online to tell us what happened. We can fight to help you rebuild your life.