If you suffered a workplace injury that led to nerve damage, you are likely worried about the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. When people envision workplace or industrial accidents, they may visualize something dramatic like a back injury or brain injury that leaves a person disabled for the rest of his or her life. While losing a limb or suffering broken bones are common workplace injuries, they are not the only injuries that occur.
Nerve damage can be extremely debilitating and could result in permanent disabilities. The impact of nerve damage could range from numbness to chronic pain or even paralysis. One of the challenges of putting a monetary value in these cases is the fact that these injuries can be more difficult to prove. That does not mean you won't be able to receive the compensation you need to heal. What it means is that you need an experienced, knowledgeable and resourceful Los Angeles work injury lawyer on your side who will help you prove your injuries and secure the maximum possible settlement for you.
Key Points - Table of Contents
- Understanding Nerve Damage
- Signs of Nerve Damage
- What is the Average Nerve Damage Settlement?
- Types of Damages You Can Recover for Nerve Damage
- What is the Cost of Nerve Damage?
- Can I Get Compensation for Nerve Damage After Surgery?
- How Do Courts Determine the Average Payout for Nerve Damage?
- Proving a Nerve Damage Claim
- Is It Hard to Prove Nerve Damage?
- Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Understanding Nerve Damage
Nerve damage could occur after any traumatic event. The severity of the nerve damage is directly related to how severe the injury was. When the injury is severe, nerve damage can also be severe. Nerves are made up of axons or fibers, which are covered with tissues that act like insulation. While minor injuries might damage just the nerve fibers, serious injuries lead to damage of fibers and tissues. In some cases, the nerve itself is severed.
When your nerves don't function properly, you are likely to experience discomfort and painful sensations. This is because the damaged nerves are unable to carry the correct signals from the brain to the spinal cord. Some common signs of nerve damage include muscle weakness, inability to hold objects properly, sharp pains in your hands, arms, legs or feet and a buzzing sensation that might feel like a mild electrical shock.
One of the most common types of nerve damage we see in work injury cases is when it is caused by some type of trauma. For example, when a worker slips and falls at work, it can break bones that in turn sever nerves causing pain and numbness. In more serious cases where a worker suffers back trauma, a damaged spinal cord could even prove fatal.
Signs of Nerve Damage
The signs or symptoms of nerve damage can vary depending on the nature and severity of the injury as well as the location of the injury and which nerves have been affected. Some of the common signs of nerve damage include:
- Numbness, tingling or burning in the affected body parts
- Pain, particularly in the extremities (hands, legs, feet)
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Issues with digestion or bladder control
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of nerve damage, it is absolutely imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Nerve damage can be a serious problem and if left untreated, it could lead to permanent disabilities. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are keys to preventing long-term nerve damages and can help put patients on the road to potential recovery.
If you suffer a nerve injury on the job, get in touch with a doctor to understand the damage to your nerves. As soon as you suspect or believe that the nerve damage might be work-related, notify your employer right away. Under California law, employees are required to report a workplace injury to their employer within 30 days.
What is the Average Nerve Damage Settlement?
Because each nerve injury is unique, the settlements could also vary. Estimates by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) put the average for all workers' comp settlements around $20,000 with a small percentage of nerve damage awards being more than $61,000. But that should not discourage anyone from seeking more compensation. In fact, a vast majority of nerve damage cases are worth much, much more than that. Never underestimate what your claim is worth.
It is important to have proof that your nerve damage occurred at work or as the result of a work-related activity. If it was the result of a workplace accident, you should report it to your employer right away. It might also be extremely helpful to get testimony or statements from co-workers or eyewitnesses. As with any type of workers' comp or work injury claim, you stand a much better chance of getting a fair settlement if you are well prepared with the documentation and evidence that can strengthen your case.
When it comes to nerve damage cases, it can be difficult to arrive at an average settlement. The amount of compensation you could receive in a nerve damage case often depends on a number of factors. The more serious your injuries, the larger the settlement is likely to be. In cases where permanent nerve damage and disabilities are involved, plaintiffs' damages may add up to even millions of dollars. This is why it is crucial that you contact an experienced work injury lawyer who can help evaluate what your settlement may be worth.
In some serious cases, victims of nerve damage may suffer paralysis. Studies by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the average health and life care costs including home care and nursing care of those suffering from catastrophic nerve damage could add up to several million dollars.
If your nerve damage occurred on the job, you may be able to seek workers' compensation benefits. In addition, you may also be able to file a third-party claim seeking damages. An experienced work injury lawyer at Greenberg and Ruby can help analyze your case from all angles and ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Types of Damages You Can Recover for Nerve Damage
There is no average settlement amount for nerve damage because each case is unique and the circumstances and facts are also unique. There are two main types of damages you can recover if you've suffered nerve damage:
These types of losses cover monetary damages stemming from the nerve injury such as:
- Emergency transportation and treatment
- Diagnostic imaging and evaluations
- Cost of prescription and other medications
- Assistive medical equipment
- Cost of surgery
- Expenses relating to hospitalization
- Cost of rehabilitative therapy and care
- Doctor's visits and follow-up appointments
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity and future wages
- Cost of in-home nursing care
As opposed to economic damages, non-economic damages refer to the physical pain and emotional distress that victims endure such as loss of life's enjoyment, disability and disfigurement caused by the injury. While evaluating non-economic damages may be more challenging because it may difficult to put a price tag on the pain and suffering one undergoes as a result of nerve damage.
This is where an experienced Los Angeles nerve injury lawyer can help you. Knowledgeable attorneys will look into the nature and extent of your injuries and determine a fair value for your case.
What is the Cost of Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage has the potential to leave workers with lifelong disabilities. This makes it all the more important to calculate compensation for these injuries meticulously. While you don't have to prove fault or negligence to receive workers' compensation, you also won't be able to receive full compensation for your losses through workers' comp. For example, in order to receive non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party (other than your employer). This is why it is crucial to consult a Los Angeles work injury lawyer who can explain the full scope of your claim.
In a workers' compensation settlement, the two costs that are typically included are medical costs and lost earnings. The amount that is claimed in medical costs is usually the biggest component of a workers' comp claim. So, this part should be well documented. Medical costs of nerve damage may include doctors' fees, diagnostic tests, surgery, cost of hospitalization, expenses relating to specialists such as neurologists and any type of rehabilitative treatment or therapy you may need to heal.
Can I Get Compensation for Nerve Damage After Surgery?
You may also be entitled to compensation if your doctor or medical provider's negligence caused your nerve damage. In such cases, you may have to prove that your doctor or the medical professional failed to provide you the standard of care. Also, there is the possibility that you may suffer different types of nerve damage or injury following your surgery and they all present different symptoms. Each type of nerve damage also calls for distinct treatment. These factors could affect the extent of your compensation.
If you or a loved one has suffered from nerve damage due to a medical provider's negligence after a surgery or medical procedure, you may be able to receive compensation for damages including medical expenses, lot income, permanent injuries, disabilities and pain and suffering.
We can help assess the type of injury and damage you have suffered. We can also help evaluate if the injury or damage has affected your ability to perform your everyday tasks and continue working. If your nerve damage has affected your earning capacity, you may be entitled to receive compensation for lost future income as well. Our experienced California work injury lawyers can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
How Do Courts Determine the Average Payout for Nerve Damage?
The compensation available to victims in a nerve damage lawsuit could depend on a number of different factors including:
Severity of the injuries: The more severe the victim's injuries, the higher the payout is likely to be.
Location of the damage: The part of the body where the damage is located could also play a part because nerve damage in some parts of the body could be more challenging to live with than others.
For example, if a spinal nerve is damaged causing chronic pain, numbness and muscle weakness preventing the victim from engaging in everyday activities, that could be an injury where the plaintiff might receive a higher payout. The following damages will also play a part in the average payout for nerve damage:
- Medical expenses relating to current and future treatment
- Lost income as a result of your nerve injury
- Loss of earning capacity - if you are able to return to work
- Long term/permanent injuries or disabilities
- How your nerve damage impacts your everyday life
- The physical pain and emotional suffering your injury causes
If you suffered nerve injuries on the job, you may be able to seek workers' comp benefits in addition to a third-party claim if a party other than your employer caused or contributed to your injuries.
Proving a Nerve Damage Claim
If you have suffered nerve damage as the result of a work-related accident, it is important to have the evidence that substantiates your claim. Here are some of the critical pieces of evidence that could help your work injury claim:
Medical records: These might include doctors' notes that document your pain level. While pain is a subjective feeling, these types of notes made by your doctor will add credibility and validate your claim.
Test reports: X-ray and CT scan reports can help show the types of injuries such as broken bones that may be causing a pinched nerve. If your nerve pain is ongoing, your doctor may order a nerve conduction study, which could serve as an important document to validate your nerve condition.
Medical bills: These are always a crucial part of any work injury claim. They show the types of treatments including surgeries that you've sought and received. They also document how much you spent for your injury-related treatment and care.
Impact statements: In any work injury case, it is important to establish how your injury has affected your ability to do your job and to live your life. You can document your wage loss with pay stubs and the amount of work time you've missed.
Is It Hard to Prove Nerve Damage?
It can be challenging to prove that you have disabling nerve damage. In order to prove that you have suffered such an injury, you may have to get a medical examination, including a neurological exam. Some of the telltale symptoms of nerve damage include loss of sensation in the affected area, muscle weakness, decreased coordination and a tingling sensation or numbness in the affected areas.
Since nerve damage is not visible, you must be able to show evidence that you have suffered the injury in order to recover compensation. A doctor may be able to diagnose this condition by performing what is known as a nerve conduction velocity test to determine whether nerve damage exists and how severe it may be. When the test results are conclusive, it can help prove your injuries and recover compensation for you damages and losses.
It is also a good idea for victims to begin documenting their nerve injury symptoms soon after the accident. Write down all your symptoms and how the injury has affected your everyday life.
Our experienced work injury lawyers can help you get medical attention and care for your work-related nerve injury. We can also conduct an independent investigation to help you prove your injuries and assist you with getting much-needed compensation for all your losses.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you have suffered nerve damage as a result of a workplace injury, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer right away. As we explained, nerve damage can be more challenging to prove. The experienced work injury lawyers at Greenberg & Ruby will work diligently to gather all the documentation and evidence on your behalf and put you in the best possible position to receive maximum compensation in your case. Call us today for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.