A guide to nerve injury compensation claims
The following article sets out what you need to know about making a nerve injury compensation claim.
Nerve damage can cause significant pain, discomfort and even physical disability. Treatment and recovery can be a long and sometimes difficult process.
If you have suffered nerve damage due to the negligence of a medical professional or another third-party, you may be entitled to claim compensation for your nerve injury.
A nerve injury claim should be possible if:
- the injury was diagnosed in the last 3 years (longer if children were involved)
- someone else was to blame
- the other person owed you a 'duty of care'.
Even if you do met the above criteria, however, some solicitors may not take on your claim for other reasons.
Causes of nerve damage
Damage to the nervous system can occur for a number of reasons including certain medications and conditions like diabetes.
One of the most common causes, however, is physical trauma. This can be caused by road accidents, falls or fractures.
Unfortunately injury to the nervous system can also occur during medical procedures carried out by trained professionals. Amongst the highest number of accidents leading to nerve damage occur during surgery.
Any surgical procedure poses a risk. Reasons for nerve injury in surgery include:
- Scalpel incisions
- Prolonged exposure to other surgical equipment
- Bruising of the nerve
- Prolonged stretching or compression of tissue surrounding the nerve
- Incorrect positioning of the patient
Nerve injury can also occur during other medical procedures such as:
- child birth
- taking blood
- administering injections including local anaesthesia or anti-blood clotting medications.
Medical professionals have a ‘duty of care ' to ensure they look after their patients to the best of their capabilities. They also have accepted best practices to adhere to. When they do not uphold these duties, they become liable.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
The consequences of nerve damage
The nervous system comprises primarily of the central system (brain and spinal cord). It also includes the peripheral system (body wide) which is responsible for pain and touch, muscle control and automatic functions such as blood pressure.
If any of the central nerves are damaged, the results can be severe, including paralysis. However, damage to the peripheral nerves can also lead to significant physical suffering.
According to the NHS, common symptoms of people affected by peripheral nerve damage include:
- Numbness and tingling in the feet or hands
- Burning, stabbing or shooting pain in affected areas
- Loss of balance and co-ordination
- Muscle weakness, especially in the feet
Nerve damage tends to affect the extremities of the body first, for example the hands, feet, arms and legs.
The pain and sensations can be constant, or they can fluctuate. But whatever the extent or outcome, they often impact significantly on a person's life - not only physically, but also psychologically and financially.
The amount of compensation you would receive for a nerve injury will depend on the following:
- how long the nerve injury lasted or is likely to last
- the severity of your nerve injuries
- any other financial expenses or losses you have incurred as a result of the injury, including lost wages, and the costs of care and treatment.
Legally speaking, compensation awards are broken down into the following two categories:
- General damages are awarded for “pain, suffering and loss of amenity” and the specific impact that your injuries have had on your life.
- Special damages are awarded for any other costs or losses. These could include lost wages, the cost of medical treatment (e.g. acupuncture, massage and biofeedback therapy) and any financial losses or expenses incurred.
Nerve damage and road traffic accident claims
Every year almost 200,000* people are injured on Britain's roads. If you have sustained nerve damage following a road accident that was not your fault, you can claim compensation.
*Source: Official Department of Transport statistics (gov.uk)
Accidents at work - Nerve damage claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an nerve injury at work, or have developed a condition like carpal tunnel syndrome due to your working conditions, you may able to claim nerve damage compensation.
Nerve damage compensation claims and medical negligence
Making a claim against a medical professional or an institution such as a hospital may seem daunting. With the right legal advice and support, however, you can confidently assess your options, and choose the path that is best for you.
An experienced, specialist solicitor will clearly explain how the claims process works. Your lawyer will answer any questions you may have and will help you through every stage of your nerve damage compensation claim, so you can focus on your recovery and rehabilitation.
Personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win No Fee is an agreement (technically known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') which is entered into between the injured person and the personal injury solicitor.
No Win No Fee means that if your nerve injury claim is not successful then you would pay no legal fees at all.
If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to the solicitor.
You can focus on your rest and recovery, knowing that there is nothing whatsoever to pay if your case is unsuccessful.
How can Quittance help?
Quittance is a panel of personal injury solicitors. The panel takes on all types claim, no matter how niche, and offer specific expertise in personal injury and medical negligence.
Our solicitors have an excellent track record of winning claims and will fight for the best possible compensation settlement.
To speak to us about your claim, without obligation, call 0800 612 7456.
Find out if you can claim nerve injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Meet the team
The nationwide panel of QLS solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of compensation claim, from fast track claims to catastrophic injury. Our lawyers are selected for their specialist knowledge and their winning track record.
Do I need a solicitor to make a claim?
Technically, no, but a solicitor can help to ensure you get the correct amount of compensation that you are entitled to. Your lawyer can also correspond with the defendant and their insurance company, on your behalf, to negotiate on issues like interim payments.
Will I need to go to court?
Unlikely. Liability is often readily admitted by the driver who caused the accident, and for this reason there is usually no need for a claim to go to court in order to find who was responsible for the accident. In addition, insurance companies prefer not to go to court, as this will significantly increase their costs.
Cases will rarely go to court, and usually only if the claim involves disputed liability or other complex factors.
Who actually pays the compensation?
Road traffic accident claims are usually settled by the defendant's insurance company. If the defendant does not have insurance (or is untraceable), compensation is paid by the Motor Insurers Bureau' (MIB).
How long after the accident do I have to make a claim?
If the accident occurred within the last 3 years, you may be entitled to make a claim. Therefore, you can start a claim 1 or even 2 years after the date of the injury.
A claim will normally need to be started within 3 years of the diagnosis of the injury. However there are exceptions:
If you are. or feel that you are, partly responsible for your injury, a claim should still be possible with a 'split liability agreement'.
Can I claim an interim payment?
An interim payment is when you receive a part-payment of your compensation settlement before the compensation claim is settled.
Interim payments can be arranged if your nerve injury has left you unable to work and/or unable to pay for treatment.
To receive an interim payment, you will need to meet certain criteria.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert