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Can I Claim Compensation for the Loss of a Limb?

Legally, the process of claiming compensation for the loss of a limb — or an amputation claim — generally falls under the purview of personal injury claims; pertaining to amputations that occurred due to another’s negligence. The exception is where the amputation occurred due to an action of violence, in which case the legal process differs from that of a personal injury claim.

This article provides information on the eligibility criteria for making an amputation personal injury claim, the claims process and how much compensation you may be entitled to for the loss of a limb.

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The loss of a limb: What are the types of personal injuries?

Context matters in determining how much compensation you’re owed: The situation in which the injury occurred, who the negligent party is, whether the amputation is full or partial and relevant factors all come into play.

There are four general categories across all personal injury claims, including those based on the loss of a limb — public liability, workplace liability, motor vehicle accidents and medical negligence. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the contexts wherein another’s negligence leads to an amputation, they do encompass the majority of cases.

Across all categories, the relevant parties owe a legal duty of care — the nature of this duty differs depending on the category. For a personal injury claim to be successful, you must be able to prove the following:

  1. That the responsible person or entity did owe you a duty of care.
  2. There is clear evidence that they breached their duty.
  3. This breach resulted directly in the loss of the limb.

Specifically, here’s how the notion of duty of care applies to each of the four categories:

Public liability
Owners of public spaces — whether it be a mall, park or other public place — have the responsibility (or duty of care) of putting in place necessary safety measures to adequately prevent unduly harm. This includes regular maintenance, signs for potential hazards, and more generally, ensuring the overall safety of the premises.

A failure to do so is a breach of their duty of care. If the owner’s failure to provide adequate building repairs resulted in the loss of a limb, for example, they are likely then the liable party and will be subject to an amputation claim — even though they were not directly responsible for the amputation, when weighed against an act of violence, for instance.

Common examples of how negligence on the part of a public space owner may result in the loss of a limb include:

  • Inadequate security that leads to an act of violence.
  • Hazardous conditions more generally, such as faulty elevators, broken stairways and other risky conditions.

Workplace liability

While there’s a degree of overlap between workplace and public liability, this category generally pertains to the role of an employer to ensure the safety of its employees and contractors. This relates not only to safe premises but also to safe work practices and equipment.

Examples of how employers may adhere to this duty of care include periodic safety training, maintaining equipment and machinery, having the necessary HR measures in place and conducting regular safety audits, among other methods.

Amputations are common within workplaces that involve heavy machinery, dangerous equipment and the regular use of hazardous materials — labourers and other tradesmen are amongst the most vulnerable. While a duty of care applies to all workplaces, those of increased risk are subject to more stringent regulations and inspections to minimise workplace liability.

Motor vehicles accident

This category applies not only to car drivers, but also public transportation, motorcyclists, bike riders and pedestrians — each owing a duty of care to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. This means that regardless of how you use the roads, you have the responsibility to adhere to traffic laws, exercise prudent caution and be continually aware of others.

Naturally, a severe motor vehicle accident generally results in a severe injury — many leading to the loss of a limb or limbs. Proving negligence in this context is a matter of providing the necessary evidence that the crash was preventable had the liable party exercised caution, and that their failure to do so led directly to the limb amputation.

Medical negligence

While a medical negligence claim refers to the lack of a medical professional’s competent care, a medical malpractice claim refers to incompetent care with malicious intent — the two come with differing legislation and processes. In terms of medical negligence, all certified medical professionals — irrespective of speciality — have the responsibility of adhering to the latest best practices, and in turn, providing prudent care for each of their patients.

Specifically, negligence in this area may refer to a misdiagnosis, improper medical treatment, surgical errors, failure to obtain consent or neglecting to provide follow-up care, amongst other ways — each of which has the potential to lead to a loss of a limb.

While the causes of limb amputation differ in relation to medical negligence, substandard surgical practices are one of the leading factors and present a range of risks:

  • In-surgery errors, such as the damaging of a critical nerve or blood vessel.
  • Inadequate infection control, commonly relating to gangrene.
  • Poor communication, leading to treating the incorrect body part.


Irrespective of how the amputation occurred, it’s again about providing evidence that the medical professional owed you a duty of care — certain alternative medicine providers or uncertified practitioners may not fall under the same obligations, for example — and that their breach resulted in your injury.


Do you want to learn more about what compensation you can receive after losing a limb due to negligence?

Call us for confidential, free advice.

How is compensation for the loss of a limb calculated?

Eligibility is essentially threefold: The liable party owed you a duty of care, that duty was breached, and it was the breach that directly resulted in the amputation. To further be eligible, you generally must — depending on your state — file the amputation compensation claim within three years of the injury.

Upon establishing eligibility, it’s then a matter of determining how much compensation you’re entitled to based on the specifics of your injury. Through a personal injury claim, you’re eligible for compensation tied to both the physical and psychological suffering induced from the amputation — these are what are referred to as financial damages and non-financial damages.

Financial damages include any injury-related monetary loss, whether actualised or potential. This includes the costs of medical treatments, medications, surgeries and rehabilitation, as well as lost income. Regarding lost income, financial damages compensation may cover the actual income lost since the time of the injury — generally due to the inability to work — and the loss of future earning potential. Naturally, a lost limb has a significant impact on a person’s ability to return back to work as per usual, particularly if they’re in a field that requires physical labour of any kind. Hence, compensation takes this into consideration when determining the overall compensation amount.

Non-financial damages are also commonly referred to as pain and suffering damages. This form of compensation encompasses the mental strain associated with the amputation. While different Australian states differ slightly in how they calculate non-financial damages — NSW follow the MEC method, for example, while Queensland uses the ISV scale — pain and suffering is generally diagnosed by a psychiatrist and compensation is directly tied to the injury’s psychological impact.

The more the injury impairs the person’s quality of life, the greater the compensation is likely to be. Due to the wide range of injury severities and possible psychological impacts, it’s best to consult with a personal injury lawyer for personalised advice to determine what you may be owed. They will be able to inform you as to both what you may be entitled to based on the gravity of your injury and how state-specific legislation may factor in.

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While the optimal first course of action is to gather as much evidence as possible, it’s natural that the ability to do so may be impeded by your injury’s severity. But if you’re able, look to obtain records relating to your injury as this information will give your personal injury solicitor a strong basis in the initial consultation to inform you as to the best routes forward.

There will be types of records that will be more difficult to obtain than others, whether for financial or confidentiality reasons, which is where your lawyer will come in and gather the information on your behalf. In general, the evidence required to build a successful personal injury case includes:

  • Medical records: This may include the financial records of your medical treatments and diagnoses to help determine the amount of financial and non-financial damage coverage you’re entitled to, as well as the records that help to determine negligence.
  • Photos and videos: The photo and/or video footage you gather will be relevant to the context in which your injury occurred; this may include footage from the car accident scene, property damage in a public space or other relevant documentation.
  • Eyewitness and professional statements: As aided by your personal injury solicitor, gather statements from anyone who was witness to the scene and saw the injury occur. This extends also to professional insights that link the injury to professional negligence — such as a medical specialist explaining how medical negligence or malpractice took place, for example.
  • Employment records: Employee financial records — and a description of your role — help to determine how much income you’ve lost as a result of your injury and how your amputation will likely impact your future earning potential.


Gather the evidence that you’re able to, and then lean on your personal injury lawyer to gather the rest. Depending on the nature of your case and the strength of evidence, the amputation compensation claim may either progress to a private settlement agreement, mediation and/or litigation (the process of your case being brought before the court).

Most cases are settled in mediation for two reasons: In most states, amputation claims are only able to progress to litigation if a settlement is unable to be reached in mediation, and mediation tends to be preferable as it saves time and is more cost-effective, while also being of less emotional strain compared to litigation.

Mediation is the process of a neutral third party — the mediator — examining the sides of the injured person and the potentially liable party, as well as the merit of the evidence. Since the mediator has the authority to determine compensation, the process of mediation isn’t generally drawn out and the whole claims process may be resolved in a matter of months. Litigation, conversely, can take years to resolve due to the nature and complexity of the court system.

But regardless of the route your case takes, it’s important to have expert legal advice and representation to inform you at each turn. Competent legal representation not only ensures maximal compensation outcomes but also that the process doesn’t unnecessarily add to the already present distress of the injury.

If you’re considering filing a claim, consider booking a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. That way, you can understand what to expect process-wise based on the specifics of your case.

How can GMP Law maximise your compensation?

Alongside maximising your compensation and ensuring a seamless experience, at GMP Law, we also work to alleviate unduly additional strain through our no-win, no-fee policy. The policy is as follows:

  • We take on all upfront costs, including those involved in the gathering of evidence to build your case. 
  • We don’t get paid, at all, unless we win your case. Upon winning, we are paid through an agreed-upon amount of your compensation. 
  • In the rare instance of a client being dissatisfied with our services, we are prepared to lower our costs.

We’ve implemented our no-win, no-fee policy to ensure that you can access expert legal care with confidence. We also offer this because we’re confident in our expertise and experience to yield a successful case outcome for you. 

We’re home to many experienced personal injury lawyers and building & construction accident lawyers who are prepared to answer any questions you may have and offer you the representation you deserve. Reach out today to book a free, confidential consultation, or call us on 1800 004 878. 

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Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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