Welcome to our guide on how to make an amputation negligence claim. Did a medical professional breach the duty of care they owed to you? Did their negligence cause you to lose a limb or require amputation when this otherwise wouldn’t have been required? If so, you may have grounds to claim compensation.
Medical Negligence Resulting In Amputation
Our guide will be looking at how you could make a medical negligence claim for amputation or the loss of a limb. For instance, we’ll provide information on what evidence you need to build a valid case to get the compensation you deserve.
Furthermore, we’ll be looking at how much compensation you could be entitled to as part of your claim, as well as the different damages that could be included in your settlement amount.
We understand that you may still have questions after reading this guide. Our advisors are available to provide you with further information and free legal advice.
Additionally, they can assess your case and see whether you have a valid claim. If they think it has a good chance of succeeding, they can connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.
You can get in touch with us if you require any further information using the following methods:
- Telephone — 0800 652 3087
- Chat with us using the live pop-up box at the bottom of the page
- Fill out our enquiry form, and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible
Select A Section
- What Is Amputation Negligence?
- Causes Of Limb Loss And Other Types Of Negligent Amputation
- Medical Conditions Which Could Lead To An Amputation
- Types Of Amputation Medical Negligence
- Surgical Never Event Statistics
- What Could Be The Effect Of Losing A Limb?
- Time Limits To Claim For Amputation Negligence
- Calculating What Amputation Negligence Claims Are Worth
- No Win No Fee Amputation Negligence Claims
- Get In Touch With Our Team
- Related Services
- FAQs About Serious Medical Errors
As a patient, you’re entitled to a minimum standard of care from any medical professional who treats you. However, in some cases, the standard of care you receive falls below this level. This is referred to as medical negligence.
Medical negligence can cause injury or a worsening of your condition. As a result, this could mean that you need to undergo a limb amputation that wouldn’t have been necessary if you’d received the right standard of care.
For instance, you may have sought medical attention for an arm fracture. If this fracture was missed, this could lead to further damage to the soft tissue, nerves and blood vessels in your arm. If the damage is extensive enough, this could necessitate an amputation.
Alternatively, you could have been for a check-up regarding your diabetes, and the doctor failed to provide proper treatment for a foot ulcer. This may then have led to a severe infection that spread too far and resulted in you needing to have your foot amputated.
It’s important to note, however, that just because complications with your medical treatment arose, meaning an amputation had to be performed, does not mean that your healthcare provider was negligent. It’s possible for a doctor to misdiagnose an illness or injury while still providing an acceptable level of care. It’s also possible for complications to occur during treatment where no medical negligence has occurred.
However, if you feel that your condition was caused by a breach of duty of care, then you could be entitled to compensation. Speak to our team today for free legal advice about medical negligence claims.
There are many reasons why a limb might need to be amputated. For instance, gangrene is a condition where the lack of blood supply to a body part causes the tissue to start to die. Amputation can stop the gangrene from spreading to unaffected parts of the body.
You may also need an amputation if you have suffered a traumatic injury to your limb or if a body part is limited in its movement and function. After amputation, you may be able to use a prosthetic limb.
However, in other cases, amputation can be necessary because of medical negligence, where a healthcare professional breached their duty of care to you. There are many reasons this may have happened, including:
- A doctor failing to carry out the proper test to diagnose a condition, leading to it worsening to a point where amputation is required
- A healthcare professional failing to give you proper medical advice, such as guidance on foot care for those with diabetes
- The incorrect treatment or medication being given for an injury or illness
As we have mentioned already, just because your condition was misdiagnosed or you were given the incorrect treatment does not mean that you were the victim of medical negligence. However, if you were caused harm because of a breach of duty of care, you may be able to claim.
Medical professionals duty of care
All medical professionals owe patients a duty of care to keep them reasonably safe from further harm. They must do this by providing a minimum standard of care to every patient that they treat.
The General Medical Council (GMC) is responsible for managing the medical register in the UK. They also set the standards that define what a good doctor is and can investigate a doctor whose care falls below an acceptable level.
Failing to deliver an appropriate level of care could result in serious consequences, not only for the patients receiving poor care but the doctors who delivered that care. For instance, the doctors may face suspension, require further training or have their medical license taken off them completely.
If you feel you have been treated negligently by a medical professional, you could report them through the GMC. Alternatively, if you experienced negligence in an NHS hospital, you could report the doctor for negligence through the NHS complaints procedure.
When you make a complaint against the NHS, they will not be able to award you compensation directly, and you will need to pursue a claim if you are seeking damages. However, making a complaint may be useful to you in understanding what went wrong with the care you received and could act as evidence in your claim.
Proving a medical professional was negligent
Liability in a medical negligence claim can be complex. For this reason, medical records can be very important in proving medical negligence. They will include details of the treatment you received, which will be useful in determining whether the care you received was of an acceptable level.
Additionally, in medical negligence claims, the Bolam test will often be used by courts. This involves seeking the opinion of a panel of medical professionals that specialise in the same field. They will assess whether the actions carried out when assessing and treating a patient fell within the appropriate standard of care. However, if they feel the medical professional in question delivered care that fell below an acceptable standard, this would be classed as negligence.
For more information on the types of evidence you may need to support your claim for compensation, see further down in our guide. Alternatively, call our team today for free legal advice.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may require ongoing treatment to prevent infection or other complications from arising. If you aren’t given the correct preventative treatment or advice about managing your condition, they could affect the limbs and lead to amputation.
You could also require amputation if you suffer from a condition that is not diagnosed, leading it to worsen to a point where amputation is necessary. If the misdiagnosis occurred as a result of a breach of duty of care, this would be considered medical negligence.
Some examples of medical conditions that could lead to an amputation if left unmonitored might include:
- Peripheral vascular disease (PVD). This affects the blood vessels and may cause a reduced blood supply to the limbs
- Critical limb ischaemia (CLI). This is a severe complication of PVD that can cause gangrene
There are various types of medical negligence that could cause an amputation. For instance:
- Cancer misdiagnosis, e.g. sarcoma which is a type of cancer that affects the bones and soft tissues. If left untreated, it could lead to amputation.
- Not being provided with the correct care for diabetes, e.g. regular checkups for blood sugars, feet and blood pressure either being postponed by the healthcare provider or not being carried out often enough.
- Infections that are left untreated, e.g. pressure sores that haven’t been attended to.
It is important to note that even if you have required amputation after a medical professional acted negligently, you will only be able to claim for additional harm and suffering caused by the negligence. You would not be able to claim if you would have required amputation even if you had received an appropriate standard of care.
Additionally, you may have received the correct course of treatment, but negligence during surgery led to further harm and complications. This might have included:
- A surgeon operating on the wrong part of the body
- Leaving foreign objects in the body, e.g. medical pads left in the arm, causing infection and leading to amputation
- The wrong implant being inserted into the body
These are known as surgical never events and are incidents that should be avoidable if all healthcare providers follow the relevant preventative measures. They are a sign of very poor treatment and gross negligence. For more information on these, see below.
A surgical never event is deemed as something preventable that causes serious harm to a patient. The NHS released a list detailing different types of never events. Surgical never events include:
- Wrong-site surgery including operating on the wrong part of the body or the right part but the wrong side of the body (i.e. operating on the left elbow instead of the right).
- Leaving a foreign object in the patient
The table below shows the number of never events, including surgical errors, that occurred between 1st April and 31st May 2021. The figures are provided by the NHS and relate to NHS services only.
We understand that you may be experiencing a whole host of effects since losing a limb. This might include physical and psychological effects such as:
- Phantom pain
- Anxiety or depression
- Infection around the stump
- Neuromas (thickened nerve tissue) could be causing pain, meaning you require more surgery.
In addition to the ongoing symptoms you may be dealing with, you may have needed adaptations and other aids to help you adjust to the loss of a limb, such as:
- At-home care
- Home adaptations
- Car adaptations
- Prosthetic limbs
The effects of losing a limb could be detrimental to your mental and physical health as well as the way you’re used to living your life. However, it’s important to remember that there are charities that offer support as recommended by the NHS, such as:
Additionally, you can call our team to discuss getting your amputation negligence claim started, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
The general time limit to starting a medical negligence claim is three years either from:
- The date the incident occurred
- The date you became aware that someone else’s negligence either caused or contributed to your injuries (known as the “date of knowledge.”
However, if you were under 18 at the time the incident occurred, the three years are frozen until you turn 18. During this time, a parent, guardian, family friend or solicitor could claim on their behalf. They can do this by acting as a litigation friend. If no claim has been made by the time you turn 18, you have three years to start your own claim.
Additionally, the three years are frozen if the injured person lacks the mental capacity to claim for themselves. If they regain their mental capacity, the three years will restart from the date of recovery. Otherwise, it’s frozen indefinitely. Whilst they lack the mental capacity to claim, someone could claim on their behalf by acting as a litigation friend.
We understand that it may be difficult to determine how long you have to start a claim. For this reason, we’ve created a table to provide an overview of the different time limits and their exceptions more clearly.
|Who was injured?||When does the time limit start?||Are there any exceptions?|
|Somebody over the age of 18 with the mental capacity to pursue their own claim||The date of the accident||If it wasn't clear right away that the injuries were caused by negligence, the three-year limit could start from the date you became aware of this, or the date you should have become aware. This is known as the "date of knowledge".|
|A child under the age of 18||3 years from the date of their 18th birthday to claim for themselves||3 years is frozen until they turn 18 and whilst it's frozen and someone could claim as a litigation friend on their behalf|
|Someone who lacks the mental capacity to claim themselves||3 years from the recovery date to claim for themselves||3 years is frozen unless they regain their mental capacity. Someone could claim as a litigation friend during this time|
However, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team on the number above for further help and advice.
For medical negligence claims, your compensation award could be made up of general and special damages. General damages compensate you for your injury and the effect it’s had on your quality of life.
General damages may make up the bulk of your claim, and you will require evidence to prove that there was negligence that caused or contributed to your injury. For instance, medical evidence in the form of:
- Medical documents
- Details of previous appointments and symptoms discussed
- Details of any procedures or treatment carried out
You also may be invited to attend an independent medical assessment which will provide an additional medical report on the state of your injuries and how you may have sustained them.
Additionally, if you have any past or future financial losses, you could claim them under special damages. These cover losses directly incurred by the incident that caused or contributed to your injuries. For instance:
- Reduced or lost earnings
- Medical expenses for physical aids, e.g. prosthetic limbs or physiotherapy
- Travel expenses
- Care costs
- Home adaptations
Evidence will also be required to claim for any monetary losses—for example, payslips, invoices or receipts.
It’s important to note that when you’re claiming compensation for medical negligence, your damages will only reflect the additional harm caused to you by the substandard care you received. For instance, negligent treatment of diabetes may have resulted in you requiring a foot amputation. However, you will only be compensated for the impact that your amputation has had and not any pain and suffering caused by your diabetes overall.
What is my medical negligence amputation claim worth?
The table below highlights how much your medical negligence claim could be worth. The figures are based on those in the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is a document that can be used to help value claims. It contains guideline compensation brackets for a number of different injuries.
You should only use these figures as a guide, as your actual settlement amount may be different depending on how severe your injury is.
|Arm||Full awareness of the loss of both arms||£225,960 to £281,520|
|Arm||Loss of one arm that's been aputated at the shoulder||Not less than £128,710|
|Arm||Loss of one arm that's been amputated above the elbow.||£102,890 to £122,860|
|Arm||Loss of one arm that's been amputated below the elbow||£90,250 to £102,890|
|Hand||Either total loss of both hands or effective loss caused by damage that leaves affects the usefulness of both hands.||£132,040 to £189,110|
|Hand||Either total loss of one hand or effective loss which may involve amputation of the fingers and most of the palm.||£90,250 to £102,890|
|Finger||The award will be given to injuries where the little finger has been amputated.||£8,110 to £11,490|
|Finger||The award will be given to injuries that involve the ring and little fingers being amputated||In the region of £20,480|
|Leg||Injuries such as the loss of both legs where they have both been amputated above the knee or one has and the other has been amputated below the knee.||£225,960 to £264,650|
|Leg||Both legs amputated below the knee||£189,110 to £253,480|
|Leg||One leg that's been amputated above the knee||£98,380 to £129,010|
|Foot||Injuries where both feet have been amputated||£158,970 to £189,110|
|Foot||Injuries where one foot has been amputated||£78,800 to £102,890|
For more information on how much you could expect to receive following a claim, contact our team on the number above.
Are you looking to seek the expert advice of an experienced medical negligence solicitor to help you make your claim? If so, you may be concerned about the costs usually associated with legal representation. However, we have a solution that could help.
After assessing whether you have a valid claim, our advisors can connect you with a solicitor who may be able to take your case on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that if your solicitor doesn’t win your claim, you won’t pay solicitor fees. You also won’t be asked to make a payment upfront or while they are working on your claim.
If your solicitor does win, you’ll pay a success fee. This is legally capped and can be agreed upon between you and your solicitor before your claim starts.
For more information on No Win No Fee agreements, why not speak to our team today? If they feel your claim has a good chance of success, they could connect you with a solicitor from our panel.
Although we’ve tried to cover as much information in our guide as possible, we anticipate that you may still have questions. If so, our team of advisors are available to provide you with further clarification on anything you’re unsure of.
For more information, get in touch with us on any of the following:
- Call us on 0800 652 3087
- Please chat with us using the live chat box at the bottom of the page
- Send us your enquiry, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible
Did you suffer an amputation due to complications of a missed elbow fracture? If so, our guide could help.
Are you wondering whether you could claim compensation for a misdiagnosis of cancer that led to amputation due to negligence? If so, see our guide for more information.
Our guide on making an operation negligence claim could help if you suffered an injury due to a surgical error.
For more information on amputation, see the NHS website.
If you have diabetes, see the Diabetes UK website for information and support.
Visit the NHS England website for further details on never events.
Below you will find answers to some commonly asked questions about medical negligence claims.
How do you prove your injury was caused by negligent medical care?
In order to prove your injury was caused by medical negligence, you’ll require evidence like medical records, which may detail the care you received. The Bolam test will often be used to determine whether the care you received was of an acceptable standard.
Who do you claim against?
This can depend, but in most cases, you may be claiming against the hospital or establishment where the medical professional who contributed to or caused your injury works. For example, you could make a claim against the relevant NHS trust for negligence, rather than the doctor or surgeon directly.
Will your claim go to court?
It can depend on whether the defendant admits liability and whether further evidence or investigations are required to prove negligence occurred. However, NHS Resolution has revealed that in 2020/21, 74% of clinical claims were settled without court proceedings.
Will you be asked to have a medical examination?
In addition to the medical documents you’ll provide as evidence, you may be invited to have an additional examination. This can provide a report that further details the state of your injuries and how you may have sustained them.
Thank you for reading our guide on making an amputation negligence claim. We hope you found it useful.
Guide by Meg
Edited by Fern