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Amputation Injuries From Car Crashes: How They Occur and How Victims Can Seek Compensation

Woman in a wheelchair with amputated leg.

Amputation injuries are some of the most devastating injuries that could occur in a Harrisburg auto accident. Victims face long-term medical care, rehabilitation and having to learn different ways of completing a variety of tasks they once took for granted.

In this blog, our Harrisburg car accident lawyers discuss how a car crash can result in amputation. Also, we address the types of damages a victim may be able to recover.

If you were the victim of a car crash amputation injury and the collision resulted from another driver’s negligence, we may be able to help you seek compensation for your damages. If it is determined that you have a case and we represent you, we will not charge you any fees unless we win your case.

Call our experienced lawyers today at (717) 510-1782.

How a Car Crash Could Cause an Amputation

The extreme force or trauma from a car crash could crush or sever limbs. For instance, a limb could get pinned between crushed metal parts and suffer catastrophic damage. Sometimes, a doctor will have to amputate a car crash victim’s limb to prevent life-threatening infections.

Car crash amputation injuries can occur in virtually any type of car crash: rollovers, head-on, side-impact, or even rear-end collisions. Crash victims could get seriously injured by suffering a deep laceration, being tossed from the vehicle, pinned inside the vehicle or stuck between an object and the vehicle.

One example: Front-seat passengers often like to place their feet on the dashboard. It may seem harmless, but they could easily become sandwiched between two vehicles in a rear-end collision. The impact can fold the passenger’s body or jam his or her legs into the dashboard or windshield. If the passenger is trapped for a significant period, the damage to his or her legs or other limbs may be irreparable and result in an amputation.

Sometimes, the impact from a car crash can shatter vehicle windows and windshields, causing the glass to fly in many directions and potentially pierce through a vehicle occupant’s flesh. If these injuries are severe enough, the limb may suffer a deep laceration or result in other severe injuries.

Amputations could also be a secondary consequence of severe burns or infections that cause catastrophic damage to tissue.

Types of Amputation Injuries from Pennsylvania Car Accidents

Any car crash that is serious enough can lead to many types of amputation injuries. The most common amputation injuries caused by car crashes include:

  • Forearm amputation: removal below your elbow
  • Arm amputation: removal from your shoulder down
  • Amputation of fingers or toes
  • Tibia amputation: removal below your knee
  • Foot amputation: removal below your ankle
  • Amputation of the entire leg: removal below your waist

Damages for an Amputation Injury in Pennsylvania

An injury claim should include economic and non-economic damages a car crash victim suffers.

Economic damages are things like:

Loss of Income

If you must take time out from work to recover, you may lose pay, depending on how long you are out of work and your employer’s leave policies. This type of compensation can cover your time away from work.

Loss of Future Earning Capacity

An amputated limb could push you out of your current line of work. For instance, if you spent 20 years in a plumbing career, an amputated arm might mean finding a new industry to work in. This could lower your earning capacity, which may be compensable in an injury claim.

Medical Bills

Some of your medical expenses that come with amputating a limb could consist of the following:

  • Trips to the emergency room
  • Surgery
  • Hospital stays
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pain medications
  • Counseling
  • Prosthesis


An amputation often creates a physical disability that requires you to get assistance or obtain accommodations to perform daily activities. For example, you may need to install hand controls to replace your vehicle’s gas and brake pedals if your leg is amputated. You may also need an aid to help you move throughout your house or get in and out of a wheelchair.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are commonly referred to as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering resulting from an amputation injury covers:

Physical Impact of an Injury

The amputation can affect your physical appearance and ability to move around or enjoy normal activities.

  • Your surgery could leave an area of your body disfigured or permanently scarred, for instance.
  • Your physical limitations may cause loss of consortium, loss of physical intimacy with your spouse or partner, loss of support, companionship or friendship with family members or friends.

Mental and Emotional Impact

Amputation can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression. Dealing with this can negatively affect your ability or desire to enjoy life and social activities.

Factors in the Value of an Amputation Injury Claim

There are numerous factors involved in assessing the value of an amputation injury claim, such as:

Extent and Impact of the Injury

All amputations are life-altering, but some amputations impact your life more than others. Losing one of your legs may affect your life more than losing part of an arm. However, every situation is unique and must be analyzed on its own.

Whether the Victim is Partially at Fault

Sometimes, more than one party can be considered at fault for a car crash. In Pennsylvania, comparative negligence laws prevent anyone from receiving compensation for a car crash he or she is 51 percent or more at fault for causing it.

If you are less than 51 percent responsible, your compensation award will be reduced in accordance with your percentage of fault. If you were 10 percent at fault, you would only receive 90 percent of your total compensation award. For example, if you are awarded $300,000 in compensation, you would receive $270,000 instead.

Policy Limits

Since Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, you would first seek compensation for your damages through your own insurance company.

If the other driver was at fault for your injury and you exhaust your personal injury protection benefits, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, the at-fault driver’s policy also has limits.

Contact Schmidt Kramer to Discuss Your Legal Options

Seeking compensation for a severe injury like an amputated limb can be very difficult. Your personal injury protection coverage may not cover all your expenses. Even worse, the at-fault party’s insurance coverage may not be enough to cover the difference.

If you suffered an amputation injury, we know that nothing can reverse the pain you have suffered, but our experienced team at Schmidt Kramer may be able to help you move forward with all the compensation you need.

Learn more about your legal options by scheduling a consultation with us today.

Free Consultation. No Upfront Fees. Call: (717) 510-1782 today.