Claimant and defendant solicitors and case managers supporting clients with amputation claims should be aware of the many ways upper and lower limb amputation can adversely affect the quality of a person’s life, and the expert evidence and extensive experience a skilled amputation medico-legal expert can bring to any amputation claim.

Whether caused by trauma, illness, or medical negligence, the removal of body extremities and limbs can take many forms.

Amputations in the upper limb

  • Digit amputation: removal of one or multiple fingers, the thumb, or the tip of a digit
  • Metacarpal amputation: hand amputations while keeping the wrist unharmed
  • Disarticulation at the wrist: amputation through the wrist joint
  • Transradial amputation (below the elbow): an amputation between the hand and the elbow, leaving the elbow functional
  • Disarticulation at the elbow: amputations through the elbow joint itself
  • Trans-humeral amputation (above the elbow): removal of the upper arm section between the elbow and the shoulder, leaving the shoulder intact and functional
  • Forequarter amputation: removal of the entire arm at the shoulder, plus the shoulder, a portion of the shoulder blade, and the clavicle
  • Disarticulation at the shoulder: removal of the whole arm right at the shoulder level, through the shoulder itself.

Lower limb amputations

  • Digit amputation: removal of one or more toes or the tip of a digit
  • Partial foot amputation
  • Ankle disarticulation: amputation through the ankle joint, removal of the foot
  • Knee disarticulation: amputations conducted through the knee joint
  • Transtibial amputation (below the knee): the most common form of amputation
  • Transfemoral amputation (above the knee): between the hip and knee (through the femur)
  • Hip disarticulation: removal of the entire leg through the hip joint

Meet our amputation expert witnesses

Find Amputation Expert Witnesses specialising in amputation negligence and personal injury – consultants and neurorehabilitation experts available now.

Amputation Medical Negligence Cases

Clinical negligence resulting in amputation may include surgical error, negligent treatment of fractures or breaks causing tissue damage or serious infection, incorrect diagnosis of peripheral artery disease (PAD), vascular disease, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Whatever the medical negligence or error, if it means an individual has lost a limb in what was an avoidable amputation, a medico-legal claim is likely to be appropriate.

If there are allegations of medical negligence in a case involving amputation, legal teams may need an amputation expert witness to provide an opinion on whether the medical care provided met the standard of care expected of a medical professional, and whether any failures in care contributed to the amputation.

Personal Injury or Accident Cases

Some common personal injury cases that can lead to amputations include occupational injuries to the upper and lower limbs, hand injuries and ankle injuries, road traffic accidents leading to catastrophic trauma and construction site accidents involving machinery.

In cases where an amputation resulted from a traumatic injury, such as a motor vehicle accident, workplace accident, or other types of accidents, a lawyer may need an amputation expert witness to provide insights on the severity of the injury, the cause of the amputation, the prognosis for the amputee, and the impact of the amputation on the individual’s life and livelihood.

About neuropsychology expert witnesses 

What kind of legal cases may require a medical expert amputation?

Whether a medical negligence case or personal injury case, people can experience potentially severe and serious implications from losing a limb or experiencing extensive soft tissue injuries due to a range of causes from a lack of blood supply (ischemia), infection and trauma. Their ability to perform everyday activities – that they could previously perform with ease – can be affected. Amputation can affect people’s physical and social capabilities in addition to its physical impact. Rehabilitation following amputation can be physically and psychologically complex and may take years before near-normal functions can be brought back and new skills can be learned.

Legal counsel may seek experts from many different fields when dealing with cases involving an amputation, including orthopaedics, prosthetics, physical therapy, rehabilitation medicine, electronic assistive devices, and more.

With a rehabilitation focus, our amputation expert witnesses provide medical opinions for personal injury and medical negligence cases, commenting on the individual’s functional abilities, limitations, and future medical and rehabilitation needs related to the amputation.

By having an expert on hand to provide detailed expert witness reports in cases involving amputation claims, legal teams can ensure they have all the necessary expertise for the courts and the right information for any compensation awarded.

What do you need to consider when selecting a medical expert witness for amputation claims?

Amputation injuries caused as a result of traumatic accidents give rise to both subtle and complex medico-legal issues. Limb amputation as a consequence of medical negligence or occupational injury can also create medical and ethical issues that have to be dealt with in court.

When a legal case involves an amputation, it is necessary to appoint an expert witness with a special interest in amputations. This expert witness must be able to review medical records and assess the patient, going on to provide testimony regarding reconstructive surgery, orthopaedic surgery, nerve injuries, pain management, types of prosthetics or mobility devices available, such as a prosthetic leg or wheelchair, adaptations to the home, and ongoing rehabilitation protocols. The expert witness should also have experience testifying in similar cases and providing comprehensive opinion evidence on all matters related to the amputation in question.

The amputee rehabilitation specialists at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimony to support legal teams to build the best case for your client.

What kind of neurorehabilitation is possible following amputation?

Successful  neurorehabilitation following amputation should be tailored to the patient’s requirements. To achieve the best results, therapists from various specialties should deliver rehabilitation in collaboration with the patient, in tandem with an medicolegal activity or amputation claim.

A multi-disciplinary team approach

An amputee is taught with therapy and training how to cope and resume their functional activities. The process aims at restoring independence to the individual to the highest possible level, allowing them to carry out as many normal activities as possible and improve their quality of life.

This is made possible by bringing multi-disciplinary teams on board that comprise of experts from physiotherapy, occupational therapy, prosthetics, psychology, nursing, and medicine.

Initially, the rehabilitation team deals with pain caused by trauma and the loss of the limb postoperatively. The team also directs special attention to reducing the impact of any post-traumatic stress disorder or other impacts on the patient’s mental health, as well as devising transfer techniques in which the patient is taught how to independently move from one place to another, such as from a wheelchair to bed or toilet.

Mobility and prosthesis

Exercises are also employed to maintain adequate mobility at the joints and to improve muscle strength. For those in need of a lower limb prosthesis, physiotherapy and prosthetics also focus on the initial preparation of training patients with new ways of walking on the prosthetic limb. The physiotherapist also takes a lead role in giving instructions to the patient about putting on and taking off the prosthetics. Gait training, or gait rehabilitation, is the act of learning how to walk, following an injury such as a lower limb amputation. It can take place after a prosthesis is fitted and often involves using the parallel bars

For upper-limb amputees, special attention is given on training the patient how to take control of the power of the prosthesis, and how to position the elbow, wrist, and hand using the neuro-muscular drive near the centre of the body. This helps the patient regain near-normal function and movement in a more useful and comfortable way.