Nerve Injury Claims
We can think of our nervous system as a vast biological network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. They control how we react to the world around us, like feelings of heat or cold, and direct our every function, whether wide awake or fast asleep.
Any nerve injury can wreak havoc across this fragile and complex network, and at worse, the damage can be permanent. Nerve injuries can interrupt even the simplest psychological and physical tasks, like walking, driving, or going to work.
Regardless of the cause, if you are a victim of a nerve injury that wasn’t your fault, you may be eligible to make a nerve injury claim.
For a free consultation will a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form. Alternatively, continue reading our guide to making a compensation claim for nerve damage below.
This guide explains everything about nerve damage compensation claims and how to make a successful claim.
Can I make a nerve injury claim?
If you have suffered nerve damage through no fault of your own, you are typically eligible to make a nerve injury claim within three years of the accident or incident.
Medical professionals also have a duty of care, so if your injuries are a result of medical negligence, make sure to reach out to a personal injury solicitor.
Many victims will find themselves in unfamiliar territory making a claim, so your solicitor will take care of all the details.
It doesn’t have to be daunting if you are thinking about making a nerve damage claim. The first step is to call 0800 678 1410 to receive a free consultation with a trained legal adviser.
If they feel you may have a valid claim, they will connect you with an experienced personal injury solicitor. They can assist you with any type of accident claim relating to nerve damage and will help to secure maximum compensation on your behalf.
What is nerve damage?
As we’ve touched on, your nervous system essentially controls every part of your body, from regulating your breathing to your senses. Your nervous system is comprised of two parts:
- The brain and the spine round up the central nervous system (CNS) and control most of the body functions.
- The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is spread body-wide and responds to pain, touch, muscle control, and other automatic functions like controlling blood pressure.
Furthermore, nerves can be divided into three categories:
- Autonomic nerves control the automatic body functions like breathing, digesting food, and heart rate.
- Motor nerves control all your movements by relaying signals from your brain and spine to your limbs.
- Sensory nerves, as the name implies, are responsible for your senses like heat and pain.
All these nerves combined are essential to the quality of life as we know it, and any injury, be it through a fall or from surgery, can seriously disrupt the way they function. If any of your central nerves are damaged, the aftermath can be severe, including permanent paralysis.
Even damage to the peripheral nerves can lead to intense pain and physical or mental impairment. The pain or discomfort can be constant or fluctuate in severity, both of which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
Nerve injury claims aim to compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced due to an accident that wasn’t your fault. A successful claim will also recover any medical or personal expenses related to your accident and injury, such as loss of earnings and treatment costs.
What type of accidents can cause a nerve injury?
Nerve injuries can result from many different types of accidents or illnesses, and the damage and symptoms caused can require a range of treatments.
When assessing the damage, a medical practitioner will first classify the nerve injury into one of three types:
- Neurapraxia is the least severe type of injury, and given the circumstances, is considered good news. The nerves are damaged but not detached, and often occur from compression on the nerves. Since there is no permanent damage to the nerve, it will usually heal by itself. The rehabilitation period can still take up to 12 weeks with proper treatment.
- Axonotmesis falls somewhere between mild and severe nerve injuries, and typically happen in crush injuries or fractures. The nerve tissue is still intact, but the axon of the nerve was injured. Recovery can still take up to several months and can be only partial in extreme cases.
- Neurotmesis is the most serious category. Both the axon and the nerve tissues have been damaged in this case. It is frequently seen with stab wounds, lacerations, gunshots, and when blood flow has been cut from a certain part of the body for a prolonged period. This nerve injury usually requires surgery, and a full recovery may not be possible if the axon is severed.
With that in mind, let’s consider some of the most common accidents that give rise to nerve injury compensation claims:
- Road accidents (this includes both drivers and pedestrians and makes up about 46% of nerve injury claims)
- Slips and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Severe bruising (contusion)
- Over-stretching (traction)
- Electric shocks
- Drug injections
- Sporting accidents
- Medical negligence
Can I claim for nerve damage caused by medical negligence?
Medical or surgical negligence can be grounds for making nerve damage compensation claims. While doctors and surgeons take the utmost care while treating a patient, the very nature of surgery usually involves working in very close proximity to nerve endings.
Even the slightest miscalculation can lead to a mishap – one with potentially serious consequences. The most common reasons for medical negligence nerve damage claims include:
- The injection of drugs like steroids and antibiotics near or directly into the nerve
- Bleeding from a punctured artery
- Prolonged pressure from a tourniquet
- Direct damage during surgery from a laceration or burn
- Not noticing a reduced blood supply to a limb following a fracture
- Poor prolonged positioning on the operating table
Medical negligence claims can be complex, so you will need a professional and experienced solicitor to fight your claim. With the right legal support, you can confidently assess your options for a successful nerve injury compensation claim.
What are the main symptoms of a nerve injury or nerve damage?
The symptoms of a nerve injury are wide ranging, and they will usually depend on which nerve is damaged and in which part of the body.
Autonomic nerve injury
The symptoms of an autonomic nerve injury include:
- Dry eyes or mouth
- Dizzy spells
- Bladder problems
- Lack of sexual desire
- Sweating too much (hyperhidrosis) or sweating too little (anhidrosis)
- Inability to sense chest pains
Motor nerve injury
The symptoms of a motor nerve injury include:
- Involuntary muscles twitches or tics
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle loss (atrophy)
- Partial or complete paralysis
Sensory nerve injury
The symptoms of a sensory nerve injury include:
- Numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation in the affected area
- Hypersensitivity to temperatures or pain
- Vertigo and loss of balance
Sometimes you may have injured several types of nerves at once and can experience a mix of any of the above symptoms.
These symptoms are not exclusive to nerve damage injuries, so you should always have your injuries assessed by a medical professional to support your nerve injury claim.
How is a nerve injury diagnosed?
If you suspect that you have suffered some form of nerve damage, your doctor can diagnose the injury in several ways:
- A medical history will reveal any pre-existing issues and lifestyle that can lead to nerve-related issues
- Reflex checks will indicate how responsive your body is
- CT or MRI scans will take an in-depth look into your body for any signs of nerve damage and abnormalities
- EMGs record electrical activity in your muscles to detect any nerve injuries or damage
- Nerve biopsies involve removing a small section of the nerve that will be tested for abnormalities
- Skin biopsies involve removing a small portion of skin to look for shortened nerve endings
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor can make his prognosis and advise you on the treatment options available to you.
Depending on the severity of the injuries, treatment can include physiotherapy or surgery. Neurapraxia injuries will generally fully recover by themselves.
How much nerve injury compensation could I be entitled to?
During your initial assessment, your solicitor will weigh all the many ways the nerve injury has affected your daily life. Your nerve damage compensation will factor in both general and special damages.
- General damages aim to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity caused by the accident.
- Special damages will cover any financial losses you have experienced due to the injury, such as the cost of medical treatment, lost wages and travel costs to medical appointments.
Below we have outlined the basic ballpark figures you can expect under general damages for nerve injury claims, based on the latest figures from the Judicial College.
- Nerve damage in the fingers significantly affecting your grip – £10,750 – £14,310
- Nerve damage to the nose after a nasal fracture – £8,480 – £18,440
- Nerve damage to one or both legs – £14,320 – £22,130
- Damage to the spinal cord – £77,700 – £137,330
Please note that the above information should act as a guideline only. Your personal injury solicitor should be your first port of call for a clear estimate on how much compensation you can expect.
How long do I have to make a claim?
In the vast majority of cases, you have three years to make a claim. This time limit either starts from the date of the accident or when your injury has been diagnosed.
When it comes to child accident claims, parents or legal guardians have until their child’s 18th birthday to make a claim on their behalf. Alternatively, the child can make a claim themselves up to their 21sth birthday.
The three-year rule also doesn’t apply to a nerve injury claim on behalf of someone who is mentally incapacitated. Should this person regain mental capacity after the incident, they will have three years from that date to make a claim.
Can I make a no win no fee nerve injury claim?
Most personal injury solicitors will be able to offer you a no win no fee service when taking on your case. After a free assessment, they will know if your case is strong enough to tackle with confidence.
A no win no fee claim means there are no risks or out of pocket expenses to you. You will only pay your solicitor a pre-agreed rate or percentage (capped at 25% of the total compensation) if your nerve damage compensation claim is successful.
It is also worth mentioning that if you have legal expenses insurance or LEI for short, you may already be covered to make a claim. Ask your solicitor to check your LEI insurance, which will instead cover their legal expenses upfront, leaving you with the total compensation award in your pocket.
If you would like a free, no-obligation chat with a friendly legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. You can find out within a matter of minutes if you may be eligible to make a nerve injury claim.
Alternatively, fill in our online claim form if you would like a legal representative to call you back.