Amputation Compensation Claims for Loss of Limbs

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If you, or someone close to you, have suffered an amputation injury in Queensland due to the medical negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to claim compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming amputation compensation, including your rights to compensation, common causes of such injuries, an overview of the amputation claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After an Amputation Injury in Queensland

As a victim of an amputation-related injury, you should be aware of your rights to seek compensation, especially when it was someone else's fault. Queensland also has multiple compensation schemes that can help support you financially.

  • Motor vehicle accident: The state requires all road users to hold compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance. If your amputation occurred as a result of a road accident, you could make a claim against the negligent party's insurer. 
  • Work-related accidents: Workplace accidents are responsible for around 14% of amputations in Queensland. Victims of a common workplace amputation injury can pursue statutory claims, either through WorkCover Queensland or through the employer's workers' compensation scheme (where they are self-insured), even if the employer is not at fault. If, however, the employer is deemed negligent, you have the right to make a common law claim.
  • In a public place: Should your injury have taken place in a public area, you are entitled to a common law claim against the public liability insurer responsible for the area.

If your injury wasn't your fault, you could be entitled to amputation compensation. Speaking to a personal injury expert can help you understand your options and what steps you could take.

Common Causes of Amputation Injuries

According to Safework Australia, in 2021-22, 14.3% of serious injury claims involved amputation. Losing a limb can be life-changing and often occurs from a serious accident. Here are some common causes of amputation: 

  • Road accidents: Serious accidents can result in severe injuries. The most extreme could see medical professionals being left with no other option than to remove the limb. Road users, such as drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and passengers, could face life-altering injuries due to the substantial force involved in collisions.
  • Workplace incidents: The workplace can occasionally pose significant hazards, especially in heavy industry and construction. Machinery and equipment might cause crushing injuries or severe lacerations, leading to an amputation.
  • Accidents in public places: Uneven surfaces, unsafe structures, or poorly maintained public equipment can lead to severe injuries. The severity of these injuries may sometimes require an amputation to prevent further health issues.
  • Farming accidents: The agricultural sector has a high risk of injury due to using large, heavy-duty equipment. These mishaps can result in catastrophic injuries, including amputations.
  • Medical negligence: Medical treatment that requires surgery, which is then performed incorrectly, could result in limb removal in extreme cases.
Common Types of Amputation Injuries

In 2019, there were 1,214 serious injury claims for work-related incidents involving amputation in Australia. The type and severity of an amputation injury can vary greatly; here are some of the most common:

  • Below-the-knee amputation: This usually results from severe trauma to the lower leg, which can be seen in traffic accidents. It leaves the knee joint intact, which helps maintain mobility and makes the fitting of prosthetic limbs easier.
  • Above-the-knee amputation: In more severe cases, the injury might necessitate removal above the knee. These incidents typically arise from accidents involving heavy machinery. Such amputations are more challenging as they entail loss of the knee joint.
  • Partial foot amputation: Frequently seen after missteps and falls or accidents with heavy items falling on the foot. The extent of amputation can vary from small parts of the foot to the whole forefoot.
  • Hand amputation: Accidents involving sharp machinery or severe crushing injuries can lead to the loss of fingers, part of the hand, or even the whole hand. These injuries are most common in the workplace, especially in industries such as manufacturing, construction, and farming.

If you believe you have lost a limb as a result of someone else's actions, you could be entitled to make an amputation compensation claim. Speaking to a personal injury lawyer will help you understand your options.

Workers Most at Risk of Amputation Injuries

While it's true that amputations can happen in any work environment, certain industries pose a higher risk than others. Jobs where the likelihood of suffering an accident where you could lose a limb include:

  • Construction: Building sites are filled with heavy machinery and sharp tools, making it one of the most dangerous industries. Accidents involving power tools, falls, or improperly secured machinery can often result in injuries severe enough to necessitate amputation.
  • Farming and agriculture: The agricultural sector often uses heavy and powerful machinery. From mishandling of tractors to accidents with farm equipment like combine harvesters and cultivators, the risks here are substantial.
  • Manufacturing: Assembly lines and factories often require operators to work close to moving parts and heavy machinery. An uncuffed shirt, a wrongly placed hand, or even a moment's distraction can result in an injury necessitating amputation.
  • Food processing: High-speed blades, sharp utensils, and moving conveyor belts make this industry another hotspot for workplace-related amputations. Indeed, knife-related incidents or caught-in machinery accidents are too common in this industry.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Claims Process

Embarking on the path to making an amputation compensation claim can feel like an uphill battle, particularly when dealing with your recovery. The following guide outlines the steps you might face. The first crucial step after any injury is to seek immediate medical attention. Not only will this help with your recovery but help to document what you've gone through. 

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in amputation compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make an amputation compensation claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage, or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Amputation Claim?

When lodging personal injury claims, it's vital to have the right evidence to back up your case. This evidence helps to establish the circumstances of the accident, prove your injuries, and confirm the financial impact it has had on you.

The types of evidence required generally include: 

  • Medical reports: These detail and confirm the extent of your injury, treatment received, and future healthcare needs. It's crucial to request a comprehensive report from your doctor or other relevant medical professionals.
  • Witness testimonies: These are statements from anyone who saw your accident. Witnesses can verify the event's happenings, providing crucial context and supporting your claim.
  • Proof of accident: This can be in the form of an accident report or police report. If available, photos or other forms of documented evidence enhance the credibility of the claim.
  • Details of expenses: These should encompass all costs incurred as a result of the accident and your injury. It typically includes medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and expenses for prosthetics, therapy, or home modifications. Ensure every expense is backed by receipts or invoices.
  • Proof of lost earnings: This provides evidence of the wages you have lost due to being unable to work after your accident. Income statements, payslips, and tax returns normally suffice to prove this point. Any projections for future loss of earnings should be supported by expert testimony.

It's essential to gather these pieces of evidence as soon as possible after the incident. The more evidence you have, the more likely you are to have a successful claim. Speaking to amputation compensation lawyers can help you assess what you need for your case.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

When pursuing an amputation claim, one of the hardest things is understanding how your potential compensation is calculated. Your specific circumstances, the extent of your injuries, and long-term impacts play a significant role in determining the value of the claim. 

Primarily, there are several core components factored in while calculating your injury compensation, which include: 

  • Past and future loss of earnings: This is any loss of earnings or benefits that you may have suffered because of your injury, as well as any future earnings you're likely to lose because of it. This could also include loss of superannuation contributions.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: All costs associated with your immediate medical attention, surgery, medication, and all other medical bills that you accumulate as a result of your injury can be added to your compensation claim.
  • Rehabilitation costs: After an amputation, rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy become a part of the recovery process. The costs for such services are usually accounted for in the compensation payout.
  • Pain and suffering: This usually refers to the physical pain and emotional distress often endured following an amputation. It aims to compensate for discomfort, anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental anguish.

It's important to remember that the same injury does not necessarily result in the same compensation. The amount you receive will be influenced by your circumstances. Various factors could alter the final payout, such as: 

  • The severity of the injury: Permanent impairment after an amputation can significantly increase the compensation amount.
  • Recovery rate: How well and swiftly you recover can also play a part in determining the compensation value.
  • Occupation impact: If your ability to earn is severely affected due to your profession, this will influence the amount of compensation.
  • Age: Your age at the time of the injury, in particular if you're young, may also be considered during calculation.

A personal injury solicitor can help you navigate how much compensation you could receive. Smith's Lawyers offer a no-obligation case review where you can discuss your options.

How Can an Amputation Impact Your Ability to Work?

Amputation injuries can have profound repercussions on your capacity to perform your job. In the short term, your ability to work may be impeded due to necessary recovery time, multiple surgeries, and the rehabilitation process. You might face difficulties in relearning how to do tasks you did before.

In the long term, the impact could be even more severe. Depending on the nature of your job and the extent of your injury, you might have to consider a change in career path. For instance, if you were a labourer and you lost a limb, it could potentially make you incapable of doing the same job.

Remember, damages awarded for your claim will take into account the aftermath of your amputation on your future earning abilities. That's why it's essential to talk through the repercussions of your injury not merely in terms of immediate medical expenses but also potential future loss of income.

Time Limits for Amputation Injuries

It's important to understand the time frame in which you have to claim in Queensland. While the general rule of thumb is that claims must be filed within three years of the accident or injury, there are some circumstances where that can be different. 

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment.
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have nine months from the date of the motor vehicle accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the nine months but must be within three years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim.
  • Or, you have one month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (one month vs nine months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have three months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the three-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard nine-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have three years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

Are There Any Upfront Costs or Risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Does the type of amputation (finger, hand, leg, etc.) affect my compensation entitlement?

Yes, significantly. Compensation schemes assign specific values to different body parts. Typically, larger or more functionally crucial limbs (like an entire hand or leg) attract higher compensation compared to smaller or less central ones (like a single finger). Your lawyer will guide you through these calculations.

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Will my compensation cover costs like prosthetics and specialized home modifications?

Generally, yes. Compensation should encompass ongoing care for your amputation. This includes:

  • Prosthetics: Both initial costs and future updates or replacements as needed.
  • Home modifications: Adapting your living space for wheelchair accessibility, handrails, and other accessibility requirements.
  • Rehabilitation: Specialized physical and occupational therapy tailored to amputation recovery
  • Medical Expenses: Future surgeries, pain management, and treatment of complications.
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Can I make a claim even if the amputation didn't happen immediately after the accident?

Yes, even with delayed amputation, you may still be able to claim compensation. This applies when infections, tissue damage, or other post-accident complications necessitate later amputation. It's essential to demonstrate the link between the initial incident and the eventual limb loss.

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Who do I make a claim against for my amputation injury?

The appropriate claim channel depends on the circumstances:

  • WorkCover: If the amputation arose from a work-related injury, your claim will be lodged through WorkCover Queensland.
  • Common Law Claim: When another person or entity's negligence led to your injury (e.g., car accident or faulty machinery), you might have grounds for a legal claim against them. This frequently results in larger payouts than solely through statutory workers' compensation.
  • Insurance: Claims are directed to the relevant insurer who will process and negotiate settlements. For example, as well as a common law claim, if you are no longer able to work, TPD (total and permanent disability) insurance attached to your Super fund may also be available.
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Where can I access emotional support and counseling after an amputation?

Here are a few resources for amputees seeking support:

  • Limbs4Life: This nonprofit offers peer support groups, counseling, and information resources specifically for amputees (
  • Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centers: Seek recommendations for grief and trauma counselors with experience supporting amputees.
  • Local Community Groups: Enquire about support groups tailored to amputees or those dealing with significant injuries and the resulting disabilities.
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Does compensation include resources for job retraining or career changes if needed?

Often, yes. Your claim should address rehabilitation costs and provide access to:

  • Vocational Reassessment: Identifying new career paths suitable for your changed abilities.
  • Retraining: Acquiring the skills and certifications needed for a feasible job change.
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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Amputation Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
March 11, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.