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How Much Is a Good Settlement for Nerve Damage After a Car Accident?

Written by Tom Crosley
May 27, 2022 Car Accidents, Vehicle Wrecks
  1. 1. What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect From a Nerve Damage Settlement?
  2. 2. Types of Nerve Damage Common With Car Accident Injuries
  3. 3. Working With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Get Fair Compensation
  4. 4. Nerve Damage Injury Cases: Real Life Examples From a Personal Injury Lawyer
  5. 5. Crosley Law Can Help You Get the Best Settlement for Your Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is common after auto accidents. Nerves are sensitive, fragile tissues that can easily be pinched, compressed, crushed, or even severed in a serious accident—potentially leading to serious and lifelong physical and emotional distress.

Unfortunately, pinched nerves and other injuries are not always immediately apparent following a crash, which can prevent car accident victims from seeking the proper medical treatment right away.

If you’ve suffered nerve damage after a crash, you may wonder what kind of compensation you could receive from a personal injury claim. That’s not a simple question to answer, as nerve damage cases can be complex.

The good news is that you do not have to shoulder the financial burden alone, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get a good settlement to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect From a Nerve Damage Settlement?

Since there is such a wide variety of nerve injuries, there is no “one-size-fits-all” average car accident settlement for nerve damage. For a serious injury, the settlement could be in the millions of dollars.

Since there is such a wide variety of nerve injuries, there is no “one-size-fits-all” average car accident settlement for nerve damage. 

Here are a few key factors that go into calculating the settlement total:

  • Medical Costs: One of the easiest (although still complicated) factors to calculate is your medical bills. You can expect your settlement to cover the costs of any medical treatment, physical therapy, medication, home care, and anything else related to your injury—not only those you’ve already incurred, but also those you are expected to face in the future.
  • Lost Wages: If your nerve damage prevents you from working, or forces a career change to lower wage work, you can claim the lost wages and reduced future earning capacity as part of your economic damages.
  • Liability: If it isn’t clear who is at fault, or if the evidence of the nerve damage is weak, it may be harder to negotiate a good settlement from the insurance companies. A skilled attorney, like Tom Crosley, has the right experience to dig deep and make the facts of the case clear.
  • Policy limits: Your car accident attorney will help you identify all the insurance policies that cover your claim. This is particularly important if the at-fault driver was underinsured.

What About Pain and Suffering Damages?

In addition to economic damages, like your lost wages and medical bills, you can also demand compensation for your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. Your car accident attorney will help you document how much physical pain you feel, how often you are in pain, and how it affects your daily life.

Other non-economic damages include compensation for mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

Types of Nerve Damage Common With Car Accident Injuries

Nerves are the messengers of the body, linking the brain and spinal cord to everything else. They are essential to everyday life, from what you feel to how you move.

These vital nerves can be damaged if they are stretched, crushed, pinched or severed. And because nerves serve so many critical functions—from sensation to motor control to regulating involuntary body functions—nerve damage injuries cause serious, wide-ranging, and sometimes permanent symptoms.

Nerve injuries can develop in almost any part of the body after car accidents, although they are frequently associated with back and neck injuries. Because the spinal cord plays such a critical role in so many body functions, injuries in these locations can be especially serious.

Nerves can also be compressed by broken bones or swelling from other injuries. For example, a herniated disc in your spine might compress or pinch a nerve.

Let’s break down the common types of nerve damage that can happen after a car crash, classified by location:

Radiculopathy: Spinal Nerve Damage

Your spinal cord runs from your brain to your lower back and contains the roots of 31 pairs of nerves that branch off your spine. Radiculopathy is damage to these nerve roots at the point where they branch off.

Neck and back injuries, such as whiplash, can injure any of these nerves and cause pain, tingling, headaches, and more. Injuries to the lower spine can cause hip pain and mobility issues.   

Peripheral Neuropathy: Non-Brain and Non-Spinal Nerve Damage

Peripheral nerves are outside of your brain and spinal cord, such as the radial, median, and ulnar nerves in your arm and the sciatic nerves in your legs. Peripheral nerves fall into two major categories:

  • Autonomic: Nerves that control involuntary functions, including heart rate, digestion, and glands.
  • Somatic: Nerves that control the senses, what you feel, and how you move. Sensory nerves connect to the ears, eyes, and skin to detect pain, images, sounds, and more. Motor nerves connect to the muscles to stimulate movement.

Myelopathy: Spinal Cord Compression or Damage

Unlike radiculopathy, which affects nerves as they branch off the spinal cord, myelopathy is the compression of the spinal cord itself. Myelopathy can happen anywhere along the spine, from your neck to your lower back.

People with myelopathy may experience pain, tingling, weakness, trouble with motor skills, or loss of function and control.  

Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Some common signs of nerve damage include:

  • Severe pain or shooting pain
  • Painful headaches
  • Spasms
  • Tingling, numbness, or burning
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth, dry eyes, lack of sweat
  • Lack of bladder control
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Paralysis

RELATED POST: My Arm Tingles. Did I Suffer Nerve Damage in My Car Accident?

Working With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Get Fair Compensation

Nerve damage personal injury cases can be very complex. Nerve damage can be subtle and hard to diagnose, particularly if there are other injuries as well.

If a pinched nerve injury (or related condition) causes permanent impairment, the pain and suffering damages should account for the long-term effects of the car accident. Unfortunately, since nerve damage is not as “visible” or easily proven as other injuries, insurance companies and juries may not treat them as seriously as they should.

It is important to find an attorney like Tom Crosley, who regularly handles nerve damage cases and will call in medical experts with the most advanced diagnostic tools. The team at Crosley Law can help you make sure you know what degree of nerve damage you have suffered, and whether it is permanent or will heal.  

For example, our law firm can connect injured people with neurologists who use electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction testing (NCT) to better understand nerve damage and its impacts, including pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness.

After you understand the severity of your injuries, your car accident attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies to decide a fair settlement amount. They will not settle without your agreement, so you have the final say in your nerve damage settlement.

Since nerve damage is not as “visible” or easily proven as other injuries, insurance companies and juries may not treat them as seriously as they should.

Nerve Damage Injury Cases: Real Life Examples From a Personal Injury Lawyer

While it is difficult to estimate what kind of compensation you might get from your settlement, it helps to look at some examples of other nerve damage cases we’ve handled in the past.

In one case, we represented a telecom worker who had a very heavy cabinet fall on him while on the job. This caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and permanent problems with memory, mood, and personality. His neck injury required surgery, and he also developed a seizure disorder. Because of the nerve damage, he suffers ongoing and chronic pain and limited use of one arm. Liability was clear in this case, and the telecom’s insurance company settled the case for $2.9 million.

In another case, our client J.T. was in his vehicle and was side-swiped by a semi. J.T. did not think his injuries were too serious, until a few days later when he experienced severe neck and arm pain. Herniated discs in his back caused pressure on his nerves, which led to shooting pains. The truck driver’s insurance company offered to settle the case for $65,000, but Crosley Law’s investigation revealed a history of reckless driving for the truck driver, and J.T. racked up serious medical bills trying to recover from the accident. Crosley Law helped J.T. reach a settlement of $337,500.

RELATED: Can a Car Accident Cause a Bulging Disc?

Crosley Law Can Help You Get the Best Settlement for Your Nerve Damage

If you have nerve damage from an auto accident, an attorney can help you get the best settlement for your case. A skilled lawyer who is knowledgeable about nerve damage will make the effort to find the true extent of your injuries, so that you are getting fair compensation.

We offer a free consultation, so you can talk to an attorney with no strings attached. To see what kind of compensation you may get for your nerve damage case, call 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out our contact form. We can help you find answers to your questions.

References

About peripheral nerves. (n.d.). UC San Diego Health. Retrieved from https://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/neuro/specialty-programs/peripheral-nerve-disorders/pages/about-peripheral-nerves.aspx#:~:text=Peripheral%20nerves%20reside%20outside%20your,bodily%20functions%20and%20regulates%20glands.

Myelopathy. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/myelopathy#:~:text=Myelopathy%20is%20an%20injury%20to,runs%20almost%20its%20entire%20length.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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