Posted On October 14, 2022

What Is the Average Settlement for Loss of Limb?

Many personal injury cases involving the loss of a limb or amputation settle for anywhere between $75,000 to millions of dollars. It is hard to determine the average settlement for loss of limb injuries because of variables that make settlement amounts differ widely from one case to another. These variables include the type of amputation and severity of the injury, your role in causing the injuries, and the impact the injuries have on your career and life. 

A personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and estimate what your loss of limb claim may be worth.

How Do Amputations Occur?

An amputation is the complete or partial removal of an extremity or limb. Sometimes doctors perform amputation intentionally to prevent an infection from spreading to other parts of the body. They may also perform this procedure to treat some diseases like gangrene, cancer, and diabetes. About 45% of amputations result from traumatic injuries. Traumatic amputations are catastrophic injuries.

Traumatic amputations occur when trauma cuts off or tears away a body part or causes such severe damage that doctors recommend surgical amputation. You can suffer catastrophic injuries in a car accident or motorcycle crash. Other incidents that can cause traumatic amputations include:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective products
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Accidents involving firearms, explosives, or fireworks

Loss of toes or fingers, arm amputations, and below-the-knee or above-the-knee amputations are examples of loss of limb injuries that may be caused by these incidents. When you sustain these injuries because of another party’s negligence or a product defect, you can sue the at-fault party for the resulting damages.

Average Settlement Value of Loss of Limb Cases

It is challenging to generalize the average value of a loss of limb settlement because no two cases are the same. Certain circumstances unique to a case can change its value significantly. However, you can identify factors that could affect your recovery of damages.

Factors That Affect the Value of a Loss of Limb Claim

Settlement amounts for limb loss cases vary widely, depending on several factors.

Type and Extent of Injury

The type of loss of limb injury you sustained and the severity of the harm suffered determine the compensation to which you are entitled. The more debilitating your injury is, the more compensation you should receive. Your amputation claim’s value would increase if you suffered additional injuries that also needed treatment.

The value of certain types of amputations will be higher than others. In the case of finger amputations, the compensation you will earn will depends on the strength and versatility of the finger. Amputated thumbs typically earn more compensation than other fingers because of their importance to day-to-day tasks. The value of a thumb amputation case will be higher for someone who needs the thumb for his or her job duties or serious hobby than for a person who does not need it as much.

If your dominant hand were amputated, the value of your claim would likely be higher than if your non-dominant hand was amputated. An arm amputation is typically worth more than a hand amputation because it is more impactful and damaging.

The settlement for a big toe amputation will be worth more than that of a pinky toe amputation. A leg amputation will be more severe and have a bigger impact on your life than a toe amputation. As a result, it will yield a higher settlement amount. An above-the-knee amputation is likely to be worth more than a below-the-knee amputation.

Whether You Had a Part in Causing the Accident or Injuries

Personal injury damages are governed by the modified comparative negligence rule in Indiana. As such, the damages you recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

Suppose you suffered a loss of limb injury due to a defective product and were awarded $1 million, but you were 35% responsible for the injuries. Your award will be reduced by $350,000. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney will help protect you from being assigned a high portion of fault by challenging efforts to assign blame to you without supporting evidence.

Impact on Your Life

How the amputation affects your life will influence the average settlement for loss of limb. The value will increase if the limb loss makes you lose the ability to work temporarily or permanently. If you cannot work temporarily, your wage history could be utilized to compensate you for the period you are unable to work. Should your injury leave you permanently unable to work, your compensation for the lost income will generally be calculated based on your age and wage history.

If you were a physically active person before the amputation and can no longer pursue recreational activities, your compensation for the loss of quality of life will likely be higher than if you were not very active before the injury.

Type of Claim

The type of claim through which you recover damages may also affect your loss of limb compensation amount. Unlike in a personal injury case, you cannot receive pain and suffering damages if you pursue compensation through a workers’ compensation amputation claim. Additionally, workers’ compensation claims are subject to a body part value chart and certain caps.

Policy Limits

The policy limit for the negligent party’s insurance coverage may limit the value of your claim. If your amputation claim has a higher value than the available limit, you will have to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injury to get the difference.

What Is the Average Settlement for Loss of Limb?

All these factors combine differently to give varying settlement amounts and verdicts. On average, the national payouts for hand and arm amputations are around $144,000 and $170,000, respectively. Nevertheless, your case could yield a much higher value. Generally, hand amputation lawsuits are worth $75,000 or more.

Your case may be worth more than $250,000 if the finger that was severed due to the negligence of another party was your thumb and the injury has a negative impact on your job. If you suffered a severed pinky finger along with other injuries, your case might be worth more than $100,000. Your loss of limb payment might be worth more than $300,000 if the hand that was amputated due to another party’s negligent actions was your dominant one. The expected payout could exceed $1 million if multiple fingers have been amputated.

Leg amputation lawsuits commonly have multimillion-dollar judgments and settlements. If another party’s negligence was fully responsible for your leg amputation, your case could be worth more than $3 million. The value of your lawsuit may be more than $5 million if the injury interferes with your ability to work. If your leg amputation resulted from the gross negligence of a company or property owner, your case could be worth more than $10 million.

Many variables, including where your case will go to trial, affect the value of your case. The best way to find out how much your amputation case is worth is to have a professional determine its value individually. If you have suffered the loss of a limb or other catastrophic injuries in Indiana, you can consult with local personal injury lawyers to help approximate the case value and the settlement you may receive. An attorney will also help prove that the negligence of another party resulted in your amputation injuries.

What Damages Can You Seek for an Amputation?

Amputation causes catastrophic physical damage that translates to substantial financial and emotional costs. The physical and emotional damages usually last a lifetime. Amputation claims seek significantly more damages than most personal injury claims. The extensive damages are a major difference between a catastrophic injury case and a personal injury case.

There are several categories of compensable damages you can seek in your amputation case. A catastrophic injury attorney can help you better understand the damages available in your case and the amount of each category.

Economic damages are made up of the direct economic losses associated with your amputation injury. They are the easiest to calculate. They include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of potential future income
  • Property damage

If amputation causes complications that lead to the death of a loved one, you can file a wrongful death claim and recover compensation for burial and funeral costs as well.

Non-economic damages compensate you for the intangible harm you suffered from the amputation. The non-economic damages you can recover include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium, which compensates you for the changes in your relationship with your loved ones.

Punitive damages are awarded in some cases. They may be handed out if the at-fault party was grossly negligent or intentionally caused bodily harm. This additional form of compensation may change the average settlement for loss of limb, and is meant to punish the defendant further and deter others from engaging in similar harmful actions in the future.