Editorials

The Paralympic effect on amputees’ legal claims for prosthetics

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1165 (Published 28 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1165
  1. Alison Bate, associate
  1. 1Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP, Manchester M3 2NU, UK
  1. alison.bate{at}blm-law.com

Demand for newer technology may be costly but offset by improved function in the future

London 2012 saw the most successful Paralympic Games in history, with more athletes setting more records, watched by more spectators than ever before. Public demand for tickets exceeded expectations, and the increased interest reflected a welcome change in attitudes towards disabled people in general, and amputees in particular. The success of the games was owed in part to technological advances in the field of prosthetics.

The games was a showcase for what can be achieved when technology and human effort are combined, and developments in prosthetics look set to continue raising the bar for Paralympic achievement. It is worth considering what the lasting effect of this may be in the aftermath of the games, particularly the potential impact on the cost of personal injury claims.

Although current prosthetics are not cheap, the next generation will be even more expensive. The “Paralympic effect” may mean that not only elite athletes will want to have the benefit of ever advancing technology. The cost of personal injury claims after amputation looks set to rise. The NHS already faces challenges in providing prosthetics, and these challenges often affect users of NHS prosthetics. However, people who have lost limbs as a result of accidents or acts of negligence will not be considering future restrictions when pursuing compensation claims. It is therefore necessary to consider the impact that future technological advances may have on the cost …

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