A 30-year-old North Fort Myers woman suffered a double leg amputation after she was struck by a vehicle along I-75 in Fort Myers as she was helping another motorist who had crashed into a guardrail.
Now, her family has set up a GoFundMe account, and is asking for assistance for the woman, who is a mother to five children under 10, including three foster children. Friends and family have pitched in to help with the children while the victim is hospitalized. According to USA Today, the woman had already spent several weeks in the intensive care unit, with one leg amputated at mid-thigh and the other just above the knee.
Complicating her situation even further is the fact that she did not have health insurance. Now, she faces mountains of medical bills for care and future prosthetics, which would be the only way she will ever walk again. According to ABC News, the cost of a single prosthetic leg can be anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 – and even the most expensive are only built to withstand about three to five years of wear-and-tear. That means they have to be replaced numerous times over the course of one’s life – a cost few people can afford even with decent health insurance.
South Florida car accident lawyers know that amputation is one of the many types of injuries one can suffer in a crash that can result in a debilitating and lifelong impact. So often when we talk about crash statistics (which are on the rise nationally and in Florida), we’re looking at the fatality rates. Outcomes like this show the impact is even farther reaching.
The National Limb Loss Information Center estimates there are approximately 1.7 million people living with limb amputations, which means about 1 in 200 people has had an amputated limb. Many of these are the result of some type of disease, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. However, when it comes to traumatic amputations, car accidents are a leading cause.
Although many of those who suffer limb loss have the potential to achieve a high degree of function and a satisfying quality of life, there is no denying the pain and suffering – both physical and mental – that accompanies a crash-related amputation, especially when someone is in the prime of their lives and is responsible for caring for young children.
Victim in the Fort Myers car accident case reportedly saw the original crash unfold and could not simply pass without stopping to help. She always kept a first aid kit in her vehicle for precisely this type of incident. It was raining heavily when another driver veered off the road into a guardrail. The victim stopped, got the other driver out of her vehicle, which was partially resting in the right lane, and put her into her vehicle. For reasons unclear, she walked back to the crashed vehicle when another motorist slammed into it, pinning the victim’s legs against the guardrail.
Neither the original driver who crashed nor the motorist who struck that vehicle were seriously injured.
The Florida Highway Patrol has launched an investigation, and has not yet determined whether charges should be filed. Regardless, plaintiff may have grounds to seek damages from the driver whose actions pinned her. It will depend on whether she can prove negligence. This will likely depend on whether the passing motorist veered off the highway at all, or whether the driver struck the crashed vehicle because it was partially in the roadway.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Good Samaritan loses legs while helping crash victim, April 25, 2017, By Michael Braun, USA Today
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Distracted Driving Alleged in Bus Crash That Killed 13, April 19, 2017, Car Accident Amputation Lawyer Blog