Loss of Limb Claims: Overview
Provided that the accident which caused your injuries was caused by a third party’s negligence, loss of limb claims for compensation should be possible.
The most common injuries resulting in successful compensation claims for loss of limb include: amputation of a limb, wrong limb amputations, spinal cord injuries, brain damage, loss of limb mobility, loss of limb function, temporary paralysis and paraplegia, tetraplegia and quadriplegic injuries.
An individual who sustains such a highly debilitating injury as the loss of a limb will no doubt face negative effects on the quality of their life. The victim may not be able to perform everyday tasks and activities as easily as before and mobility will become difficult. Additionally, the cost of medical treatment can be substantial. Although the loss of a limb may not be as debilitating an injury as it once was – with the advances made in materials technology and the high functionality of current prosthetic limbs – the costs of such prosthetics often means that the victim may not be financially well off enough to be able to afford to have a devise fitted, if compensation for their loss of limb is not awarded.
To ensure that a compensation claim for the loss of a limb has the maximum opportunity for success, and that the full entitlement to compensation is awarded, it is imperative that a personal injury solicitor be engaged.
Criteria for Claim for Limb Loss Compensation
To be eligible for loss of limb claims, the victim must have sustained their injuries because of a third party’s negligence. The party in question must have owed the victim a duty of care and the negligent party must have failed in producing that duty of care. Had proper care been taken, it must be shown that the accident could have been avoidable. It is important to consult a personal injury solicitor, therefore, if you have lost a limb in an accident for which you were not entirely to blame, or if the injury you sustained has reduced limb functionality or mobility, in order to establish whether you have a valid claim for limb loss compensation.
Children and Compensation Claims for Loss of Limb
In general, any potential plaintiff has two years from the date the injury was sustained to make loss of limb claims, according to the Statute of Limitations in Ireland. However, when a child has lost a limb or the use of a limb in an accident, or has suffered paralysis due to a medical error, the Statute of Limitations is applied in another way.
Children cannot make legal compensation claims for loss of limb until they reach their “majority”. This means that the time limit of two years, though still applicable, will not begin until their eighteenth birthday.
However, a claim for limb loss compensation for a child can be made by the child’s parent or guardian acting on their behalf, before the child becomes a legal adult. Compensation claims for children should always be discussed with an experienced solicitor, and legal counsel obtained as to whether an adult should represent a child.
The Claims Process
Injuries Board Ireland
In Ireland, almost all personal injury claims – apart from those involving medical negligence – must start with the Injuries Board. Ideally with the assistance of a solicitor, the victim would submit an application to the Injuries Board either online or by post. The application should include:
- A completed Application Form A
- A medical assessment form (Form B)
- Any receipts or bills for financial losses you wish to recover
- Other documents you may consider relevant to your claim
- The appropriate payment (40 Euro for online submissions, 45 by post)
The process of submitting the application for assessment to the Injuries Board may appear to be straightforward. However, it should be noted that any omissions or errors on the form may lead to the overall claim settlement being reduced, and so it is recommended that anyone unfamiliar with this procedure engage a solicitor for assistance.
Your solicitor will also be able to arrange meetings with the negligent party’s legal representatives in order to negotiate a settlement for your claim for limb loss compensation. The vast majority of compensation cases are, in fact, settled in such meetings. If no settlement can be reached, however, it would be necessary to take the claim to court.
The format a case for loss of limb compensation claims takes depends on whether or not the defendant admits liability. The one constant, however, is that your solicitor will need to know every facet of your claim in order to achieve success. By engaging a solicitor in the initial stages of your claim for limb loss compensation, he or she would be well prepared to represent you in court.
How Much Compensation Can Be Awarded?
Many factors need to be considered when calculating the amount of compensation for loss of limb claims an individual may receive. Although compensation calculators are able to give a general estimation of how much compensation could be awarded in compensation claims for loss of limb, the only way to obtain an accurate compensation figure is for each case to undergo a thorough evaluation. A personal injury solicitor would be able to give a precise estimation on the maximum entitlement of compensation you may be entitled to.
Calculating how much compensation which can be claimed will have to take into account a number of elements including:
- The type of injury sustained
- The level of pain and suffering
- How the injury has affected the victim
- The victim’s age
Therefore, each case should be measured based on its own individual merits. For example, a child who loses a limb in an accident will face greater suffering and a more substantial loss of amenity over her lifetime compared with an elderly man who sustained similar injuries.
Another factor to consider is the issue of contributory negligence. If the victim has been found to have contributed to the severity of the injuries suffered, or was partly to blame for the accident occurring, the compensation figure will be reduced. It is essential that you consult a solicitor to find out exactly how much compensation for a limb loss claim you could qualify for – and to confirm that you are actually entitled to make a claim for limb loss compensation.
Loss of Limb Claims: Summary
Victims in loss of limb claims will face considerable adversity due to the physical injury, but it can also cause emotional problems such as loss of self-esteem, anxiety and depression. In addition, the injury will result in significant loss of amenity and the cost of treatment and mobility aids can be exceptionally expensive. It is your legal right to receive compensation if you have lost a limb – or the functionality or mobility of a limb – in an accident for which you were not entirely responsible for. To ensure that all elements of the injury are claimed for – financial, physical and emotional – professional legal advice should be sought at the first moment possible.
Compensation claims for loss of limb are essential for accident victims to guarantee that the best treatment possible can be paid for. While no amount of compensation can ever turn back time, a compensation award can make sure that the victim can live as comfortable a life as possible and that they will be no worse off financially than they were before the accident.
In order to increase the opportunity of a successful claim for limb loss compensation, and that the full entitlement to compensation is awarded, it is vital that a personal injury solicitor is consulted.