The Risk of Lower Limb Amputation in an Auto Accident

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February 01, 2019
Edward Smith

The Risk of Lower Limb Amputation in an Auto Accident

A recent study on amputations is eye-opening. Amputations are actually far more common than many people realize. When someone loses a limb, this can impact the entire family. Those who live with a missing limb have issues with mobility, transportation, and finding a job. This can make it hard to provide for their family. Some of the statistics in the study published by Vascular Care include:

  • About one in 200 people in the United States are living with the loss of one or more limbs, such as an arm or a leg.
  • By 2050, more than 3.5 million people will live with the loss of one or more of their limbs.
  • Traumatic accidents account for about half of all amputations.
  • The majority of the rest of these amputations are due to chronic medical conditions, such as peripheral artery disease and atherosclerosis.

These numbers demonstrate that amputations are common and that the population of individuals living with an amputation is increasing.

Risk of Lower Limb Amputation in an Accident

Many different types of traumatic accidents could lead to serious injuries. Some of these include pedestrian injuries, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and slip and fall injuries. Any of these accidents could lead to an amputation. While there are some situations where an individual could lose an arm or a leg at the scene, some may not lose their limb until some time after the accident. There are a variety of risk factors that could increase the chances of someone losing his or her lower limb following an accident. These include:

  • Difficulty getting the bleeding to stop.
  • Disruption of the blood vessels that supply the legs.
  • Lack of palpable pulses immediately after the incident.
  • Difficulty moving the toes and lower leg after the collision.
  • The development of compartment syndrome after the accident.

All of these risk factors relate to an extreme disruption of the vascular supply of the leg. If the vasculature of the leg has been disrupted, emergent surgery is typically required to restore blood flow to the lower limb. Without this blood flow, it is difficult for the cells of the legs to get the oxygen and nutrients that they need. Without this nutrition supply, the cells will die, and the leg will be amputated.

Comorbidities can Increase the Chances of an Amputation

The other risk factors that could increase the chances of amputation are associated medical comorbidities. Recovering from a severe injury of the lower limb is a long and drawn out process. Some individuals might have trouble healing. Conditions that could make it difficult for the injury to heal include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Immunodeficiencies, or individuals with a weak immune system

These are all conditions that predispose individuals to develop an infection. If an infection sets in after a severe accident, this could lead to the development of gangrene. In gangrene, the tissue starts to die, and amputation is often required. These conditions also increase the chances of a pressure ulcer developing. A pressure ulcer causes degradation of the tissue. These ulcers often have difficulty healing because of a disruption of blood supply to this area of the skin. With poor blood flow, people are prone to developing ulcers, infections, and ischemia of the lower leg. Infection, combined with decreased blood flow, increases the chances of amputation occurring in the future.

Watch YouTube Video: Rehabilitation Following Lower Limb Amputation. The video below explains how rehabilitation can help enhance the mobility and improve the health of those who have lost a lower limb.

Contacting an Injury Lawyer

Amputation can occur when people least expect an injury. Sometimes, this happens immediately at the scene of an accident. Other times, the vascular supply to the limb is disrupted to the point that it is not salvageable. Regardless of the circumstances, amputation is a challenging reality for not only the individuals but also their family and friends to process. When this happens, it is prudent to speak with an injury lawyer in Sacramento. Some of the areas in which an injury attorney can help includes:

  • Taking a look at the details of the accident to ensure that none of the relevant factors have been overlooked.
  • Reviewing the mechanism of the accident with collision professionals to ensure that the fault has been assigned appropriately.
  • Holding any negligent parties responsible for an injury.
  • Helping families pursue damages related to their amputation, their emotional distress, and their pain.
  • Taking the case to trial, if this is required.

It is tough for a family to process a serious injury and it is understandable to have questions. Do not be nervous about asking for help during such a difficult time. Make sure to have any and all questions and concerns addressed with a Sacramento car accident attorney. You and your family members could be entitled to a financial award.

Sacramento Auto Accident & Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. An amputation is a life-altering procedure that might be required following a severe car accident. If you or a member of your family was subjected to an amputation of an arm or a leg after a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

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The Risk of Lower Limb Amputation in an Auto Accident:

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