Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Better For Dealing With Phantom Limb Sensation, A Myoelectric Prosthesis Or A Body-Powered Prosthesis?

Unfortunately, about half of people with an upper-limb amputation suffer from phantom limb sensation, which is any sensation in the amputated part of the arm that makes the arm feel like it is still there. In some cases, the sensation is painful, but in other cases it is merely a sensation. It’s more common in people with an upper-limb amputation than a lower-limb amputation.

There is some evidence that a myoelectric prosthesis can reduce phantom sensations, especially if it is used actively. A myoelectric prosthesis is a prosthesis that is externally powered. Myoelectric prostheses are typically not only better with dealing with phantom limb pain, they also improve the cosmetic appearance of the limb, and are typically better for light-intensity work. Body-powered prostheses are another type, and they typically are more durable, require less training time, and are easier to clean.

Unfortunately, it’s usually not the amputee who decides which type of upper-limb prosthesis to get – it’s the insurance company. It’s very rare for an insurance company to agree to pay for both types of prostheses, even though each type of limb may be better in different situations. Myoelectric prostheses are normally much more expensive than a body-powered prosthesis, and an insurance company may balk at the cost.

If you have had a limb amputated and your insurance company refuses to pay for a certain type of prosthesis, call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567. I work with clients whose insurance companies are acting in bad faith in denying them the benefits to which they are entitled. Call today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

What Are The Rules About Applying For Disability Benefits After An Amputation?

If you have suffered a serious injury, such as an amputation, and you are no longer able to work, help is available. The Social Security Administration offers financial resources for people who are unable to work because of an injury or an illness.

If you have had a limb amputated, there are four ways in which you can qualify for disability benefits. First, if you have lost both of your hands, you automatically medically qualify for disability benefits. Second, if you have lost both of your legs above the ankle, and you cannot walk effectively, you qualify for disability benefits.

However, this is a little tougher to prove – in order to receive the benefits, you must be able to prove that you cannot walk effectively, and that this makes it tough to carry out your activities of daily living. Normally, if you have to use a wheelchair after your amputation, you will qualify.

The third way an amputee can receive disability is if they have lost one hand and one leg above the ankle, and cannot walk effectively. Whether or not you are able to use prosthetic devices will affect your eligibility.

Finally, if you have had a hip disarticulation, you will automatically qualify for disability benefits. If you do not qualify automatically for disability under any of these categories, but you have had an amputation that limits your ability to work, you should consider applying for disability benefits.

Call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567 if you have had an amputation and you have legal questions related to your amputation. I work with amputees to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. Call today to learn more.

As An Amputee, What Should I Be Prepared To Spend For Prosthetics Over My Lifetime?

The good news is that as an amputee, you will receive more advanced limbs today than at any time in the past. Although basic limbs still exist, there are more options that give amputees higher functioning today than ever before.

If you are trying to make a budget, it can be hard to calculate the cost of prosthetics over your lifetime for a number of reasons. First, the cost of the prosthetic itself is just the beginning. The prosthetic also requires maintenance, service, and repair. The prosthetic also requires supplies like liners and socks. Finally, there is the expense involved in hiring a prosthetist.

It can be tough to know exactly what a limb will cost you because manufacturers do not disclose their prices. The price will also vary a lot depending on whether a private insurance company or a public government insurance program is paying for the limb.

However, in general, normally an upper-limb amputee could expect to pay over $23,000 a year back in 2010, when a study was released on amputee expenses. Lower limb amputees can expect to spend over $46,000 a year. These numbers can vary a great deal, however. You may end up choosing a more basic model, or you could want a high-end prosthesis. If the amputee is a toddler, he or she will spend a great deal more in his or her lifetime on prosthetics than an amputee who lost his or her limb at a much older age. The amputee’s activity level also makes a big difference – a more active amputee will go through prostheses much more quickly than a less active amputee.

The bottom line is that prostheses are very expensive over a lifetime, and that should be taken into account when planning for the future. If you lost a limb in a personal injury accident or because of medical malpractice, it’s critical that you get the compensation you deserve up-front, which will properly compensate you for your future medical expenses.

Call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567 if you have suffered an amputation and you want to explore your legal options. I am an amputee as well as a personal injury attorney, and will be happy to provide you with a free consultation on your case.

I Have Heard That Using Statins Can Help Lower The Risk Of Amputation For Some Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease. If My Doctor Fails To Prescribe Them, Can I Hold Him Or Her Liable For Malpractice?

A recently-released study shows that patients who are suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and are taking statins may have a lower risk of amputation and death when compared with those PAD patients who do not take statins. PAD, which is a narrowing of the arteries to the legs, stomach, arms and head, often does not get properly recognized or treated.

Researchers studied over 208,000 veterans with PAD, and identified those on statin medications around the time of the PAD diagnosis. They divided the study population into those taking high doses of statins, those with low doses of statins, and those not taking statins. The PAD patients taking a higher dosage of statins had the lowest risk of amputation and death. Researchers concluded that doctors should consider placing patients with PAD on high-dose statins upon diagnosis, if they can tolerate it, along with other treatments.

If you have PAD and have recently had an amputation, you may be concerned that your doctor committed medical malpractice by failing to prevent your amputation. In some cases, there may be more your doctor could have done to help. In other cases, however, your amputation may have been inevitable.

Call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567, if you believe that a doctor’s medical malpractice led to your amputation. I can help. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

Medicare Keeps Asking Me What My K-Level Is. Why Does That Matter?

Your K-level is very important. K-levels are a rating system used by Medicare to determine a person’s potential to be rehabilitated. Amputees are rated from 0 to 4, and the number indicates a patient’s potential to use a prosthetic device if they had a good one, and if they completed rehab.

The K-level is important because it helps make the decision on what prosthesis to give to you and the payment for that device. In other words, payment by Medicare and many private insurers is guided by an individual’s K-level. The reason is that Medicare and insurance companies do not want to pay for a device that will not be used. They also want to make sure that if a person does have the potential to actively use a prosthesis, he or she gets the device that will work best.

There are five K-levels – 0 through 4. Level 0 means a patient does not have the ability to use a prosthesis. Level 1 means that a patient does have the potential or ability to use a prosthesis for limited movements on level surfaces. Level 2 means that the patient has the ability or potential for movement with the ability to navigate low-level barriers, such as curbs, stairs, or uneven surfaces. Level 3 means that the patient has the potential or ability to use a prosthesis for most barriers and will need a prosthesis for activity beyond simply moving around. Level 4 is the highest level, and it means that the patient has the ability or potential to use the prosthesis for more high impact or energy activities.

In some cases insurers do not want to pay for the proper prosthetic devices that an amputee needs. In that situation, the insurance company may be acting in bad faith, and the amputee may wish to consult with an attorney. Call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567, if you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith by refusing to provide the devices to which you are entitled. You can seek payment for the device as well as for other expenses. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

I Had A Limb Amputated Because Of An Accident Involving A Crane. Can I Sue My Employer?

Cranes are used in a number of construction projects. Working around cranes can be very dangerous or even deadly. It’s critical that employers and contractors who use cranes have strict safety measures in place to help protect those who are working on the construction site.

The use of heavy construction equipment such as cranes requires a number of safety precautions be taken. All workers must be properly trained and certified on all equipment. The equipment should be properly maintained, as well as inspected before each use. Cranes should only be operated on level, firm ground. Before using cranes, there should be a plan in place to avoid dangers, such as looking for power lines, not overloading the crane, and ensuring all personnel are out of the way. Finally, the stability of the load should be checked before it is moved.

If a crane accident does occur and an amputation is the result, the injured worker has a few options. In most cases, it is difficult to sue the employer for negligence. Most employers are protected by workers’ compensation insurance, which means that injured employees cannot sue the employer – instead, they must obtain their damages through the worker’s compensation program. However, injured employees can sue third parties who were responsible for the injury, such as the crane manufacturer or a contractor or subcontractor.

If you have suffered an amputation on the job, call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567. I am also an amputee and I enjoy helping other amputees obtain the compensation to which they are entitled after an accident. Call me today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.

I Hate Wearing My Lower Limb Prosthetic. Do I Have To Wear It, And If So, How Can I Learn To Live With It?

Learning to use a lower-limb prosthesis is difficult. No matter how wonderful the device is, it will never be the same as your limb. However, as uncomfortable as it may be, you have to wear it. If you choose not to wear it, you could face a variety of injuries, including a broken bone in a fall or a head injury. You can also stress and injured your joints by hopping or jumping from one location to another instead of using your prosthesis.

Instead of refusing to use the prosthetic limb, you should invest the time and effort into making it work the best for you it possibly can. If it’s uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with your prosthetist. Experiment with the prosthesis throughout the day to see what works. Frequent exercise can help you strengthen your remaining muscles, which can make using the prosthesis easier. You should also be careful not to gain weight, which can affect your socket fit.

In some cases, it’s not you that is the problem, it’s the limb itself. It’s possible that you simply need a new limb or were provided with a limb that will not work for you. In that case, an insurance company may balk at the cost of the new limb. If your insurance company is acting in bad faith in refusing to pay for your new limb, it may be breaking the law.

If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith by refusing to pay for a new limb, call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567. I work with clients to help them force insurance companies to pay for benefits to which their customers are entitled. Call me today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.

I Had A Limb Amputated And Now Have A Bone Spur. Can I Sue My Doctor For Medical Malpractice?

In some cases, after an amputation excess bone forms abnormally around the end of your amputated limb. This is called a bone spur. The extra bone can cause new pressure points which will result in your being unable to fit your prosthesis correctly. This happens more often in children than adults.

In some cases, the best option is a new prosthesis. Children need new prostheses fairly regularly because of their growth anyway, so simply getting a new prosthesis to accommodate the new bone is often the best solution. In other cases, the bone may be so excessive or there may be other problems that mean that surgery is the best solution. If surgery is required, and if the amputee is a child, it’s normally best to wait until after the bone stops growing.

Typically, a doctor is not responsible for the growth of a bone spur – that is simply a natural process that occurs in some people. Doctors can be liable for other negligent actions that occurred during the surgery or during the follow-up care, however.

I am an amputee in addition to being a personal injury attorney. I understand how frustrating both the medical and the legal challenges following an amputation can be. If you believe that you have a legal case related to your amputation, call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567. I can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.

I’m An Amputee. Can I Wear My Prosthetic Limb In The Shower?

You should consult with your prosthetist about any specific questions you have about your prosthesis. However, in general, many of the components in a prosthetic limb are sensitive to moisture. Therefore, most amputees take their prosthetic legs off when showering. Not only is it not a good idea for the limbs to get wet, it’s also very critical that stumps be kept clean. If your shower does not already have a bar to hang on to, you should install one in order to help prevent falls.

If you wish to wear your leg in the shower, or if you want to go swimming or engage in water sports, there are some other options for you. First, there are limbs available which are more suitable for going into the water. However, the limbs can be expensive and many insurance companies view them as luxuries rather than necessities and may refuse to provide coverage for them. There are also some waterproof airtight covers on the market which can cover the leg and keep it protected from moisture.

If you wish to engage in water sports, or you believe you need to wear a prosthesis in the shower for medical reasons, you should speak to your prosthetist, your doctor, and your insurance company. You may be able to present a strong case about why your insurance company should provide you with a leg that is waterproof.

Call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567, if you are battling your insurance company for coverage for a prosthesis. I am also an amputee, and I can help you obtain the insurance benefits to which you are entitled. Call today to learn more or to schedule your free consultation.2016

I’ve Been Told I Need An Amputation And I’m Curious About A Prosthesis. How Do They Work, And What Will It Look Like?

Every prosthetic limb is different. They are custom-made for your body, depending on your level of amputation, your specific needs, as well as your physical abilities. You will work closely with a prosthetist, who will make recommendations for your limb based on your needs. Ideally, the prosthesis will be an extension of your body.

Normally, a standard prosthesis is made out of standard component parts, which are connected to a socket which fits over your residual limb. There is an extra layer, which is called a liner, which fits over the residual limb and serves as a barrier between the skin and the socket. Liners can not only make the limb more comfortable, but also provide a better fit. The biggest cause of discomfort for most amputees is a poor socket fit.

Prostheses can look any way the amputees wish them to. They can be standard, mechanical looking devices, or can be outfitted with cosmetic covers that can make them look like natural limbs. The limbs can also be personalized with the amputee’s favorite color or pattern.

Unfortunately, in many cases insurance companies make it difficult for amputees to receive the prosthetics they need. The insurance companies often act in bad faith in denying coverage for prostheses even though the insured are entitled to receive them under the terms of the policy. Call me, Amputee Lawyer Conal Doyle at 310-385-0567 if you have any questions about your insurance coverage. I am an amputee as well as a personal injury attorney, and I help other amputees obtain the insurance coverage to which they are entitled.