How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Nerve Injury?
Nerve injuries are among the most common preventable injuries suffered by Americans. Sometimes these injuries are caused by stress or wear on a particular area of the body, but sometimes they are caused by the negligence of someone else. A few examples of negligence that may lead to a nerve injury include medical malpractice, surgical errors, birth injuries, on-the-job injuries, or auto accidents.
No matter what the circumstances, a nerve injury can have a profound impact on your life. If your injuries were caused by someone else, you likely have questions about your legal rights, what options you have, and how much compensation you can claim for your injuries. The answers to these questions often depend on the facts of your case, which is why it is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
At The Dixon Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients understand their situation, their legal rights, and how to get compensation. Read on to learn more about different types and causes of nerve injuries, and how to get the compensation you deserve.
Types and Severity of Nerve Injuries
The type of nerve injury that you suffered and the extent of the damage is one of the most important elements of determining whether you have a legal claim and how much compensation you may be able to pursue. The three most recognized types of nerve injury are:
- Neurapraxia: Considered a mild or “less severe” form of nerve injury, neurapraxia is generally treatable with a recovery time of a few weeks up to a few months.
- Axonotmesis: This is a more severe type of nerve injury that often results in permanent damage or paralysis. Axonotmesis can impair or debilitate motor and sensory functions in the damaged area.
- Neurotmesis: This is the most severe type of nerve injury. Neurotmesis often results in permanent laceration or damage to the nerve. These injuries may result in permanent numbness, loss of mobility, or paralysis that is irrecoverable.
While neurapraxia can often be treated with relative ease, patients with more severe injuries may find the road to recovery lengthy, painful, and expensive. People with axonotmesis or neurotmesis may require costly medical procedures such as:
- Lengthy rounds of physical and occupational therapy
- Nerve grafts
- Nerve transfers
- Lengthy prescriptions for medications that may not be covered by insurance
Even the mildest nerve injury can be painful and can interrupt your life. More severe injuries can create significant challenges for you and your family, especially if you suffer from permanent damage or disability. Many people with nerve injuries find that they require ongoing medical treatment for months or years following the injury, with some requiring lifelong care.
Causes of Nerve Injuries
There are many causes of nerve injuries, including many caused by diseases or other medical conditions. Nerve damage can also be caused by negligence, such as the following:
- Failed or Delayed Diagnosis: There are numerous medical conditions that may affect your nerves, such as:
- Autoimmune diseases: Multiple sclerosis, lupus, Guillian-Barre syndrome, or inflammatory diseases.
- Diseases: Lyme diseases, HIV, herpes virus, hepatitis C.
It is important that medical conditions are diagnosed and treated in a timely manner in order to avoid nerve damage and other complications.
- Surgical Errors: During surgery, it is not uncommon for your nerves to be impacted by the procedure. However, surgeons may be negligent if your nerves are improperly manipulated, damaged, or cut.
- Improper Intravenous Therapy (IV): It is extremely common for patients to have an IV placed in their arm or hand. If the IV is not properly placed, or the healthcare provider has to search for a vein, your nerves may be at risk for damage. Improper IV placement is an unfortunately common cause of nerve injuries.
- Birth Injuries: Infants may suffer nerve damage during birth if delivery is traumatic or complicated. Nerve damage most commonly occurs in the face, shoulders, arms, and along the spinal column.
- On-the-job Injuries: Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. That includes properly training employees, providing proper gear and equipment, and keeping the facility clean and free from hazards. Employers who are negligent and fail to uphold their responsibilities may put their employees at risk for injury. On-the-job nerve injuries most commonly result from:
- Repetitive use (pressure or overuse of the nerves)
- Trauma from an accident (slip and fall, spinal, or neck injuries)
- Auto Accidents: Auto accidents commonly cause nerve damage due to bruising, stretching, or tearing of the nerves or surrounding tissue. Even minor auto accidents can cause a nerve injury.
Determining what caused your nerve injury is an important step in determining how much compensation you may be able to claim in a lawsuit.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Nerve Injury?
Your diagnosis will provide detailed information about the type of nerve injury you suffered. It can be more difficult to determine the cause and prove your case. When you file a lawsuit, you have the burden of proving that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. Then, you and your attorney can build a case pursuing compensation based on your injuries and losses.
Some elements that will factor into determining the value of your claim include:
- Past and present medical costs
- Anticipated future rehabilitation costs
- Lifetime prescription medication costs
- Lost wages (due to the injury itself, and future earning ability)
- Non-economic damages (pain and suffering)
- Anticipated life care costs
These elements can be calculated using medical bills you currently have, and estimating future costs based on your injuries and anticipated care.
Get Help with Your Nerve Injury Claim
If you or someone you love has suffered a nerve injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact The Dixon Firm today. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys can help you determine the value of your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.