Is Damage to a Prosthetic Limb Personal Injury?

Prosthetic limbs have come a long way in the past few years. Today these limbs incorporate some of the most advanced technology in the world. From legs that react to brain waves to arms that are fused with bone marrow, prosthetics are slowly becoming less robotic and more human.

This transition is great for medicine and amputees, but it does pose some interesting questions about personal injury law. Since prosthetic limbs aren’t technically a part of the human body, would personal injury laws apply when a prosthetic limb is damaged in a car wreck or other accident. If not, would it be considered property damage?

There have been a few cases in which the courts have been forced to answer this question and so far they have typically erred on the side of property damage. The reasoning behind these decisions have followed a logic that believes a prosthetic limb is something that is owned by the user, not something that is a part of the user’s body.

However, several legal and medical experts have started to campaign to change the court’s thinking about this issue.

This charge started as a result of technology and medicine advancing further, and the line between human and machine blurring. Experts are arguing that not only are scientific improvements forcing the change, but amputees are also developing emotional attachments to their limbs. Many amputees consider their prosthetic limb to be a part of their being and their identity.It’s unclear how the courts will decide on this issue. Perhaps as medicine continues to push the limits of technology the day will come when prosthetics are so human we can’t tell the difference.


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