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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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