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Losing a Limb Can Lead to Loss of Livelihood

Posted On July 28, 2016

The loss of a limb can have an immediate, and permanent impact on a worker’s livelihood. 4,900 workers suffered injuries requiring amputation in 2014. The loss of a hand, arm, or leg can sideline a career and make it impossible to continue working within a profession. Along with severe burns and blindness, amputations are some of the most complicated and costly work-related injuries to recover from.

Construction Workers at Considerable Risk

This past month, a construction worker operating within an elevator shaft in Chicago experienced severe trauma to his arm when he became trapped.
The worker was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital immediately following the accident, however, the surgical team was unable to save the man’s arm. While amputations of arms and hands is increasing in Illinois, the vast majority of limb amputations in the state are to legs and feet.

Construction workers are at considerable risk for experiencing limb amputations. Sharp saws, entanglements with heavy machinery, and being crushed by improperly secured building materials can cause severe trauma to arms, legs, and fingers. The high rate of injuries requiring amputation led OSHA to reemphasize the risks inherent within the construction, manufacturing, and food processing sectors last year. Companies operating within these sectors are required to strictly adhere to the safety guidelines and recommendations made by federal and state agencies that are designed to reduce the amputation risks workers face.

Treating Amputation

A standard amputation can require 5-14 days of hospitalization. Complications can extend this time significantly. Full recovery takes considerably longer when physical therapy, fitting of the prosthesis, psychological counseling, and other treatments are factored in. While the wound can heal within 2-4 weeks following surgery, the recovery process can last for months, even years depending on the nature of the amputation. As such, a Chicago work injury lawyer will factor the recovery time and long road ahead when requesting compensation for injuries that lead to a limb amputation.

Defining Disability

Disability ratings are determined by the extent of the injury, and the impact the injury will have on the individual’s ability to perform work duties. The loss of fingers and toes typically results in a rating of partial disability, while the loss of a limb often results in a permanent disability rating. A Chicago work injury lawyer can help compile and present documentation that shows the precise impact the injury will have on an individual’s livelihood and ability to continue working in their career.

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