A Guide to Claiming Amputation Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an amputation we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an amputation and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Improvements in the speed and quality of treatment for catastrophic injuries has meant that amputees can expect a better prognosis following their injury. Ongoing advancements in medical and prosthetics technology also means that injured people can expect to return to a better quality of life and work.

Securing the best possible outcome

Making a claim for compensation provides the funding needed to adapt your life and continue to benefit from these advancements. Securing the best possible financial settlement is only part of what a good solicitor will do for you.

If you have suffered a serious injury that led to the amputation of a limb, you will need legal assistance that supports your overall physical and psychological rehabilitation. This can include:

  • A thorough and independent needs assessment
  • Access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS
  • Early financial assistance with treatment, support, home modifications etc.
  • Help in finding state-of-the-art prostheses
  • Co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and wheelchair providers
  • Arranging for a Blue Badge where appropriate
  • Ensuring that your compensation is ring-fenced by a Personal Injury Trust to protect it from tax and means testing
  • Organising welfare benefits advice

Help with bills, mortgage payments and financial admin

A specialist solicitor will also act to protect your home and your family's finances, and will liaise with your bank or building society concerning mortgage payments and other loans, direct debits and standing orders. They can also contact credit card companies, credit hire providers and also utility companies regarding household bills.

Our expert amputation claim solicitors

Amputation compensation is a highly specialised area of the law. These claims should not be handled by a general personal injury solicitor.

Working with a lawyer with specific experience in handling amputation claims is critical in ensuring the best possible outcome for the claimant.

Kevin Walker is the most experienced lawyer on our amputation solicitor panel and heads up a team of highly experienced amputation claim solicitors.

Over the last 20 years, Kevin has successfully achieved numerous amputee settlements in excess of £1m for his clients. He has a particular expertise in active prosthetics and assistive technology. Through this interest and his experience, Kevin has been able to help many clients overcome a range of mobility, dexterity and confidence issues following amputation.

A recent amputation settlement achieved by Kevin was for a 56-year-old male transtibial amputee at £1.4m.

Protecting your compensation sum with a Personal Injury Trust

Compensation awards for amputation injuries will frequently exceed £100,000s. The amount is carefully assessed to ensure that the claimant can afford the treatment, support and prosthetics they need, both immediately and on an ongoing basis.

Although awards are sometimes paid out in the form of regular payments, it is common for claimants to receive a single large, lump sum. This sum must be handled properly and with the benefit of independent financial advice.

Setting up a personal injury trust ensures that the funds are not depleted too soon and are not counted against means-tested state benefits, such as jobseekers allowance and housing benefit.

The overall award calculation will also factor in the rate of return that the claimant can expect to make by investing their money conservatively. Without specialist advice, it can be difficult to safely achieve the return required to ensure that the money goes as far as it needs to.

Going beyond legal advice with a bespoke 'Care Package'

Your solicitor should also be able to help provide you with a care package tailored to your needs.

The care package will follow the independent assessment and can include a wide range of treatments like physiotherapy and psychotherapy. Packages can also include treatments like mirror box therapy to retrain the brain and electrical stimulation and advanced pain management treatments.

The care package will assess the suitability of your home and car and ensure that suitable mobility modifications are carried out.

Ensuring that you are able to get around, both in the short and long term, will also be considered. Wheelchair technology has made quantum leaps over recent years and your solicitor will ensure you have access to the latest improvements.

Do I have an amputation injury claim?

It should be possible to make an amputation injury claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years, and;
  • someone else was at fault, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out whether you may have a claim with our Online Claim Checker:

Check my claim

Are there any exceptions?

If these two points don't apply to you, a compensation claim may still be a possibility.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, you can speak to an amputation injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.

A short call will confirm whether you have a claim. You will never be pressured into making a claim.

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an amputation injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if there is no evidence?

Evidence can take the form of eyewitness accounts, CCTV footage, photographs etc. It will be difficult to win an amputation injury claim with no evidence at all. You may feel that there is no evidence but a solictor may well be able to assist in collating evidence that you, as a claimant, were unaware of.

How are amputation injuries defined?

Traumatic amputation

Traumatic amputation is the term used to describe circumstances where an amputation occurred directly as the result of an accident. Work accidents involving heavy machinery and serious road accidents causing crush injuries may result in a traumatic amputation.

Unexpected, traumatic amputations can involve more physical and emotional strain than a planned-for surgical amputation, and this additional pain and suffering may be taken into account when calculating a higher total compensation award.

Surgical amputation

Surgical amputation describes cases where a serious accident ultimately requires an amputation after other treatment has been unsuccessful, or where other illness or injury has led to an amputation being necessary.

Most surgical amputations are carried out on people with severely reduced blood circulation in the legs or feet as a result of PAD or through complications of diabetes.

Surgical amputation may also be necessary if part of the body has been badly injured in an accident, or there is a serious infection which cannot be treated otherwise. Less commonly, surgical amputation may be recommended where cancer is affecting the skin or bone of a limb.

Illnesses and medical conditions are not often cause for a claim in and of themselves, but if misdiagnosis has lead to the condition not being treated appropriately at an earlier stage, it may be possible to claim compensation for the harm caused by the delay.

Recovery is often more straightforward following surgical amputation, relative to traumatic injury, but will still require a range of long-term, specialist support.

How much compensation can I claim for an amputation injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your amputation injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your amputation injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after an amputation injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Amputation injury compensation amounts

The following amputation injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Arm amputation
£191,950 to £239,140
£76,650 to £87,410
£87,410 to £104,370
Over £109,330
Finger injury
Loss of part of the little finger £3,150 to £4,670
Loss of the terminal phalanx of the ring or middle finger £3,150 to £6,260
Amputation of the terminal phalanges of the index finger Around £19,920
Amputation of several fingers £49,350 to £72,330
Partial loss of index finger £9,700 to £14,930
Total loss of index finger Around £14,930
Amputation of little finger £6,890 to £9,760
Total loss of middle finger Up to £12,460
Amputation of ring or little finger injury Around £17,380
Foot injury
Loss of one foot £66,930 to £87,410
Loss of both feet £135,030 to £160,600
Hand injury
Loss of both hands £112,100 to £160,600
Loss of one hand £76,650 to £87,410
Leg injury
Loss of one leg above the knee £78,100 to £106,010
Loss of one leg below the knee £83,550 to £109,570
Loss of both legs below the knee £160,600 to £215,310
Thumb injury
Amputation of thumb £28,310 to £43,710
Toe injury
Around £24,950
£29,110 to £44,710

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a life-altering arm injury can be £80,000

For a less severe scarring, in isolation, you would typically receive £3,500.

However, if you have a life-altering arm injury and a less severe scarring, you would typically receive £80,000 + a reduced percentage of £3,500.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

Read more about multiple injury claims

What is the average injury compensation for an amputation injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following an amputation injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your amputation injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Amputation injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an amputation injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your amputation injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does an amputation claim take?

How long it can take to process an amputation claim can vary considerably.

For example, a simple liability accepted injury claim could be settled in a month or two. However, if liability is denied it could take considerably longer. On average an injury claim should take 4 to 9 months. Read more:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for an amputation injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your amputation injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Who pays for this specialist help?

The cost of treatment will be factored into your compensation settlement paid by the defendant or their insurance company. Should you require private treatment before the case settles, an interim payment to cover treatment costs may be possible.

Should you choose your insurance company's recommended solicitor?

Under European legislation you are free to choose your own personal injury solicitor, even if your insurance company tries to persuade you otherwise.

If you are covered by BTE insurance as part of your car or household policy, then in theory your policy should cover the cost of your legal claim. Your insurer will automatically pass you over to a firm of solicitors they have an agreement with. These are known as 'insurance panel' solicitors.

The panel solicitor may not be the best person to handle your claim. If you are not happy with your insurer's choice of solicitor, you do not have to agree. The Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 allow you to choose which solicitor will be appointed in respect of any proceedings conducted on your behalf. You are free to switch to a 'freedom of choice' solicitor at any time - even if your insurer is unwilling to pass the claim over to someone else.

By selecting an independent solicitor's firm, you know you are getting independent advice and an accurate assessment of how much compensation your case should be worth.

Given the importance of securing the best possible compensation award, you should ultimately choose a personal injury solicitor with the most experience and best track record in handling amputation claims.

Don't be afraid to shop around and contact several solicitors before choosing the one that is right for you.

Rehabilitation

For many amputees, the total value of a compensation award itself may be less important than access to physical therapy and support.

Who we work with

Your solicitor will help you make contact with the right specialists to help guide and support you through your rehabilitation. These experts include:

  • specialist medical consultants,
  • prostheses companies such as Pace Rehabilitation, Dorset Orthopaedic and Ability Matters
  • wheelchair providers
  • rehabilitation providers
  • occupational therapists and physiotherapists, and
  • independent financial advisers

Your life after amputation

We understand that making a claim is just one part of an ongoing rehabilitation process. Quittance's network of solicitors have helped people return to work and active lifestyles.

Through handling your claim, your solicitor will also build a lasting relationship with you and your family. They will provide access to ongoing support as you need it, gaining access to advancements in science and technology, including microprocessor prostheses and PLP therapy.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

How does no win, no fee work?

No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make an amputation injury claim with:

  • no upfront legal fees
  • no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
  • a success fee payable only if your claim is successful

No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an amputation injury claim - even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my amputation injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my amputation injury claim?

If your amputation injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Amputation injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make an amputation injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the amputation injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your amputation injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for an amputation injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim amputation injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an amputation injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert