Patients trust doctors, surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals to make crucial decisions to ensure their well-being during a health emergency. Unfortunately, medical errors can happen in just about any healthcare setting. Medical malpractice is always a potentially serious issue, but the preventable amputation of a limb results in heartbreaking consequences for patients and their families.
Losing a limb will permanently affect the patient’s daily activities, income potential, future medical needs, and overall quality of life. If you’re dealing with these unimaginable losses due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, it’s essential to understand how to protect your legal rights and recover fair compensation.
If you or a loved one has suffered a limb amputation due to medical malpractice, you’ll need a legal team who understands the complexities of these kinds of cases. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we specialize in representing patients throughout Minnesota who experienced life-altering consequences as a result of negligent medical care, whether it’s due to surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or other significant mistakes.
We’ve seen firsthand the long road to recovery and the substantial costs of catastrophic injuries like an amputation. Our Minnesota medical malpractice wrongful amputation attorneys are committed to helping victims recover the compensation they need to move forward with their lives.
- Compassionate Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Minnesota
- Medical Malpractice Can Cause Preventable Amputations
- What Do You Need to Prove Medical Malpractice After an Unnecessary Amputation?
- The Damages You Can Recover After an Amputation Due to Medical Malpractice
- How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Victims of Preventable Amputations
Compassionate Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Minnesota
Medical negligence cases are some of the most complicated to litigate. Holding medical professionals accountable requires an in-depth understanding of the legal process and very specialized medical knowledge, especially for establishing negligence up to the standards required by Minnesota law.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we’ve successfully represented clients in various medical malpractice cases, including cases where errors and oversights lead to the patient losing a limb. We have the resources and experience to thoroughly investigate what happened, gather persuasive evidence, and build the right legal strategy for each unique situation.
Why Choose Us
When proving how medical negligence resulted in a preventable amputation, choosing the right attorney can distinguish between recovering fair compensation or walking away with much less than you deserve.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our commitment to excellence sets us apart from other law firms, leading to more than 500 five-star reviews and countless referrals from satisfied clients.
- A proven track record: We’re proud of securing significant results to help our clients overcome negligence-related injuries, and they’ve rewarded us with personal stories that testify to what we did for them.
- Compassionate, personalized legal services: We will take the time to listen to your story, understand the struggles you’re facing due to getting injured, and provide empathetic support during every stage of the legal process.
- A network of medical experts: Our skilled consultants include surgeons, prosthetists, and rehabilitation specialists that can provide valuable insight to strengthen medical malpractice cases that result in amputation.
- No upfront legal fees: Everyone deserves justice, regardless of their financial situation, so we offer free consultations and represent clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay us anything unless we can win your medical malpractice case, whether via negotiating a settlement or securing a judgment in court.
- Accessible throughout Minnesota: We have full-service offices in Minneapolis, Duluth, Hibbing, Rochester, and Woodbury.
If you’re ready to begin the legal process or learn more about your best options for recovering compensation, we’re prepared to help. Call us or fill out the online form for your free consultation.
Medical Malpractice Can Cause Preventable Amputations
Healthcare providers are legally responsible for following specific protocols that make treatment as safe and effective as possible. Medical malpractice is the legal term when a healthcare professional harms their patient by providing substandard care, whether due to their actions or inactions. In the case of amputation, medical malpractice usually centers around whether the patient could have avoided the procedure.
The standard protocol for amputations is that they’re only medically necessary when removing a limb is the only way to save the patient’s life or prevent further harm. Because an amputation has lifelong, catastrophic consequences, it should always be considered a last resort. Therefore, if the patient loses a limb due to a medical mistake or the medical professionals could have prevented the amputation with a higher standard of care, it could be considered a medical malpractice case.
Some examples of when negligence can lead to an unnecessary amputation include:
- Amputating a limb despite less invasive alternatives: Surgeons can only resort to the drastic measure of amputation once they’ve exhausted all the other treatment options appropriate for the patient’s condition. This scenario falls under medical malpractice because patients can’t give informed consent for undergoing an amputation if they don’t receive proper information about all the available options, especially less invasive ones.
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of infection: One of the most common causes of amputation is sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by severe infections. If left untreated, sepsis can progress to the point where it causes severe tissue death that spreads quickly and may require amputation to save the patient’s life. Healthcare providers are liable for an advanced infection if they fail to recognize the symptoms rapidly enough or react suitably, such as by ordering diagnostic tests that would have found the disease.
- Surgical errors: The most egregious error that results in amputation is “wrong-site surgery,” a rare situation that happens far too often, in which the surgeon removes a healthy limb by mistake. Unnecessary amputations can also be rooted in poor surgical techniques, such as if the surgeon accidentally damages blood vessels or leaves behind an instrument.
- Inadequate post-surgical care: Patients are extremely vulnerable to infections, blood clots, and other complications after surgery. A successful recovery depends on the medical team providing proper wound care, which includes changing dressings often and monitoring the surgical site for signs of infection. Failure to follow the correct post-surgical protocols is malpractice, especially when it leads to a tragic outcome like an amputation.
- Pressure sores: Bedridden patients, those who use a wheelchair, or those with limited mobility have a very high risk of developing painful pressure sores on bony areas of their bodies. This issue is so common and necessary that there are federally-mandated protocols specifically for preventing bed sores, including repositioning patients on a regular schedule. If left untreated or not managed well, bed sores can cause horrific complications, including the amputation of a limb.
What Do You Need to Prove Medical Malpractice After an Unnecessary Amputation?
Patients who suffer a negligence-related amputation will face overwhelming consequences, including physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Pursuing a legal claim against the responsible medical institution is essential for getting the resources they need to rebuild their lives.
However, winning a medical malpractice-related amputation case is often an uphill battle due to the complicated legal standards required to prove medical negligence.
Civil courts recognize that a patient’s negative outcome isn’t necessarily proof of medical malpractice and that amputations can happen even when medical practitioners follow all protocols correctly. This is why medical malpractice claims in every state require the testimony of a medical expert in the same field who can provide critical context for that patient’s specific situation and demonstrate how they didn’t meet the standards.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help negligence-related amputation victims substantiate their cases’ underlying medical facts with medical testimony.
The key elements involved in proving medical negligence include:
- Demonstrating a patient-doctor responsibility: The first element is simply showing a formal, professional relationship between the patient and the medical provider. When medical professionals agree to treat patients, they also assume a legal “duty of care” to ensure their well-being. This component is straightforward to prove and only exists to stop frivolous lawsuits from clogging up the legal system.
- Showing a breach in the medical professional’s duty of care: This crucial component of showing medical negligence requires expert witnesses to present persuasive evidence that the patient’s care deviated from acceptable standards compellingly enough to count as negligence. Medical malpractice contributing to a preventable amputation usually involves surgical errors or failure to prevent an infection.
- Showing the cause of the patient’s injury: One of the main challenges of winning a medical malpractice case is that, under the legal requirements for negligence, you must do more than demonstrate a healthcare provider’s inappropriate or substandard actions. A successful claim must also indicate a clear and direct link between this act and the patient’s preventable amputation. Proving causation is a lot harder when patients have any pre-existing health conditions that could have contributed to a poor outcome like an amputation because that’s precisely what defense lawyers will argue will happened. You need a lawyer who can find a credible medical expert to prove that the patient could have avoided these complications with a higher standard of care.
- Showing specific damages: After the patient has proven that they suffered an unnecessary amputation due to medical negligence, they also have to present evidence of the damages resulting from losing a limb. Amputations are catastrophic injuries with life-long consequences, so the economic and non-economic losses can be massive, both now and in the future.
The medical expert who testifies in these cases must have specific qualifications to serve this critical function. Most states require them to have relevant, hands-on experience related to the causes of the patient’s amputation and be licensed to practice medicine there. The Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers team has access to a vast network of healthcare professionals. This allows us to match clients with the right expert to strengthen their claim with solid medical evidence.
The Damages You Can Recover After an Amputation Due to Medical Malpractice
Patients who suffered a limb amputation due to inexcusable medical mistakes are entitled to compensation for the wide-ranging financial costs associated with a catastrophic injury and the life-long challenges that lie ahead. You may face astronomical medical bills, difficulty earning an income, and a huge disruption to your everyday life. The job of a skilled medical malpractice lawyer is to demonstrate all the economic and non-economic costs you’ve experienced and will continue to experience due to receiving substandard medical care.
The damages you may recover in a compensation claim include:
The biggest priority for any medical malpractice case is helping patients regain financial stability and have the resources they need to recover.
Compensation for economic damages should cover all the measurable financial burdens that come with permanent injuries like losing a limb, such as:
- Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment after an amputation is very consequential and likely to be ongoing. Victims can pursue reimbursement for the initial surgery and hospital stay after the medical malpractice incident and for all the costs involved in their rehabilitation. Amputation victims will often need a lot of help adjusting to the brutal new reality of their disability, including physical therapy, prosthetics, and necessary home modifications, like a wheelchair ramp.
- Lost income: In the immediate aftermath of a medical negligence-related amputation, most victims must take time away from work. Many amputees won’t be able to return to their previous job due to their physical limitations or may even have to leave the workforce altogether. Damages for lost wages can include reimbursement for their income over a specific period and the potential income they may lose.
The physical and emotional trauma of suffering a preventable amputation is often the most severe and long-lasting impact of this ordeal.
Medical malpractice claims can include compensation for the intangible, quality-of-life costs that resulted from a medical professional’s negligence, such as:
- Pain and suffering: Recovering from an amputation is a harrowing experience. Even after fully healing, many amputees struggle with chronic discomfort, including phantom limb pain.
- Disfigurement: Losing a limb will dramatically alter the victim’s appearance, affecting their confidence, self-esteem, and ability to socialize. There’s no way to put a price tag on this challenging aspect of being an amputee. However, disfigurement damages aim to acknowledge this burden and provide some restitution.
- Emotional distress: Suffering an amputation and coping with the challenges of daily life can be incredibly distressing and often lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The damages for emotional distress will compensate victims for this enormous emotional and psychological toll.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Victims of Preventable Amputations
Medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated cases in personal injury law, partly because both sides have high stakes. In the aftermath of losing a limb due to medical mistakes, victims can navigate the legal system while also struggling to cope with the life-altering consequences of a catastrophic injury.
Hiring a skilled medical malpractice lawyer to advocate for your best interests during every stage of the legal process can make all the difference.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our experienced legal team has the resources and skills to help you make informed decisions, build a strong case and give you the best possible chance of recovering fair compensation.
Our attorneys can support your claim by:
- Handling the legal process: Medical malpractice cases involve a lot of procedural rules for filing paperwork correctly, including strict deadlines. Amputation victims that cannot begin the legal process before the Statute of Limitations in Minnesota, which is four years after the incident, would be unable to recover compensation regardless of the merits of their case. A knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer will thoroughly understand all the regulations that apply to your specific situation and help you avoid these potential pitfalls.
- Gathering evidence to display negligence: Your attorney will work closely with medical experts to analyze every aspect of your medical treatment, identify specific errors that led to your preventable amputation, and prepare a compelling case to prove negligence.
- Calculate and substantiate the value of your claim: One of the most crucial roles of your legal team is assessing and documenting the full extent of your damages from losing a limb, both in the short and long term. We also help clients demonstrate non-economic damages like pain and suffering by asking them to keep a journal throughout their recovery and gathering testimony from family and friends that can describe the victim’s day-to-day challenges.
- Negotiate a settlement offer: The insurance companies representing hospitals and other medical institutions typically have one goal when handling a medical negligence-related amputation: to undervalue claims and pay victims as little as possible. Skilled medical malpractice lawyers can use their negotiation skills and experience with similar cases to counter these tactics and secure the best possible settlement.
While most medical malpractice cases will settle out of court, some proceed to a formal trial. If necessary, your attorney can also use their legal expertise to present a persuasive case for the judge and jury, demonstrating the negligence that led to your amputation and the heavy impact on your life.
If you, or someone you love, has suffered a preventable amputation due to medical negligence, contact the Minnesota medical malpractice lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the specific details of your case. Call (612) 446-3999 or fill out our online form to learn how we can help you navigate this tough time and provide the legal representation you deserve.
“I've hired Ben Nicolet for close to 2 years and I have to say that Nicolet was very nice and wonderful to work with. He was very caring and handled my case with respect and always kept me up to date. I highly recommend Nicolet and his team, they will stand by your side every step of the way.” -Kevin K. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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