The human nervous system is complex and coordinates the behaviour of our entire body. In fact, the nerves are often referred to as our telephone wiring system, as it’s the communication and transmission system of our body.
It the nervous system is injured, the consequences can be serious. Thankfully, personal injury claims can be made if your nerve injury was caused by someone else.
If the nerves are damaged as a result of an accident, essential communications are interrupted causing potentially significant and long-lasting pain and discomfort. If you’re suffered a non-accidental nerve injury, including from medical negligence, you should be able to make a nerve damage compensation claim.
The nervous system has two parts – the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (the nerve fibres).
Our nervous system is crucial to how our bodies function, so if it is damaged in any way the potential is nerve pain and other physical symptoms, such as numbness and weak muscles; tingling; and loss of normal bodily functions.
A nerve injury can affect the autonomic nerves – those that control involuntary bodily functions such as the heart rate and temperature regulation; motor nerves – those that control actual movements and physical actions; and sensory nerves – those that transmit information to the spinal cord and brain from your skin and muscles.
A damaged nervous system can cause a range of physical and emotional problems. Fortunately, nerve injury claims can be brought if the damage was preventable.
To find out whether you could make a no win no fee nerve injury claim, contact us for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in our secure online form on this page to arrange a call back and we can help you claim nerve injury compensation.
Our advisors can help you with the claims process of bringing personal injury claims on a no win no fee basis. Your solicitor will take your case under a no win no fee agreement, so there is no financial risk to you: you will pay no legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful; and if you win – you will pay a success fee (of no more than 25%) out of your compensation to your solicitor to cover your legal fees.
A nerve injury can cause a wide range of symptoms and depends on the type of damage and where in the body the injury was caused. The symptoms can be mild tingling and sensitive or extremely serious, painful conditions such as paralysis or trigeminal neuralgia. It can also cause high blood pressure with all the risks that can present.
The impact of nerve damage can be significant and long lasting, potentially causing permanent disability or physical impairment. Typical symptoms of a nerve injury include:
For some people, the symptoms may be a mild inconvenience, but in others they can have a serious impact on their quality of life – to the extent they require private medical care. Importantly, a nerve injury can also impact on the victim’s mental health – perhaps more than other types of injury.
It is right and proper that if the damage was caused by someone else’s carelessness, individuals can bring nerve injury claims to recover compensation.
A 19-year-old car passenger who suffered a nerve injury in a car accident and left paralysed from the neck down won enough compensation to over the cost of specialist rehabilitation and adaptations to his home for the rest of his life. The exact sum awarded has not been made public
There are many different causes of nerve damage, ranging from autoimmune diseases and diabetes to trauma and medical negligence. Nerve damage can often result from a pre-existing condition or illness, or from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Unfortunately, a personal injury, such as nerve injury, may also be caused by an accident, for example, a work accident, medical accidents, accident in a restaurant or other public place or a road traffic accident. These types of injury can often result in stretch-related damage to nerves and compression nerve damage
A compression nerve injury can be caused by accidents that involve pressure placed on the nerves that exceeds their natural tolerance level of pressure. For example, repetitive actions in the workplace such as long term keyboard use and using the same piece of tool or equipment over a long period of time can cause compression nerve damage.
Stretch-related nerve damage can be caused when nerves, naturally fragile in any event, are stretched beyond their natural limits and beyond breaking point. Where this happens, the nerves can be weakened, preventing or disrupting signals being sent to the brain from the part of the body affected, risking further injury. A stretch-related nerve injury typically heals within 12 weeks so long as the nerve has not been lacerated.
Cuts, lacerations and even punctures to nerves can stop transmission of signals to the brain, resulting in weakness in a limb and or hands/feet, tingling and numbness. Lacerated nerves can be more serious than other types of nerve damage and may require surgery to resolve the problem.
There is also a risk of nerve injury if you undergo a medical or surgical procedure. Surgical procedures typically involve a surgeon navigating the nerve structure of the site to perform surgery and great skill is needed to minimise the risk of error.
Find out more about claiming birth injury compensation.
Operations are often highly complex procedures and patients must be advised of the risks before they consent to surgery. However, this does not mean a surgeon or other medical professional can escape liability for negligence if they cause avoidable nerve injuries or other injury during the course of a procedure.
Where you’ve suffered nerve injury has been caused by an accident that was not your fault – it is only right that you should be able to make a nerve damage compensation claim. Medical negligence claims such as this can also be made on a no win no fee claim basis under a no win no fee agreement.
There are more than 100 types of nerve damage, which is no surprise given that the human body is home to hundreds of nerves.
It is important to recognise that the symptoms of a nerve injury can begin slowly and become increasingly painful and inconvenient. This means that it is not always obvious that a particular accident or procedure may have caused the problem in the first place, so it is vital to discuss it with a specialist solicitor for advice to see if someone else should be held responsible for your nerve damage.
These are the key types of nerve damage:
Injury and damage to the spinal cord can be extremely serious, causing potential paralysis (tetraplegia or paraplegia), lack of limb coordination and high levels of pain. A spinal nerve injury affects strength, movement, sensation and bodily functions below the site of injury.
It can be caused by a wide range of accident, such as falls and sporting accidents to gunshots and motor accidents. Spinal nerve damage can also be the result of negligence on the part of a health professional.
The nature and extent of a spinal nerve injury depends on the location and extent of the injury. For example, a ‘complete’ injury leads to loss of all sensory feeling and ability to control movement, while loss of some but not all sensory or motor function is an ‘incomplete’ injury.
Complete spinal nerve damage can mean paralysis – tetraplegia or paraplegia.
Less serious cases of spinal nerve damage can result in muscle weakness, problems with coordination, numbness and tingling in limbs and extremities. Even these physical symptoms can be difficult to live it, particularly if they are long-lasting.
Even in cases of mild nerve injury, you can bring a no win no fee compensation claim against the person responsible.
A grandfather won £2m in compensation after hospital delays led to him being permanently paralysed. Kevin Greenfield had an absence on his spine, causing numbness from the waist down and was hospitalised. However, emergency surgery was delayed for more than 24 hours. The NHS trust admitted breaching its duty of care in some respects but denied liability for the injuries.
Sciatica – Nerve damage in the back or legs can be excruciating, particularly where damage has been caused to the sciatic nerve. This is the body’s largest nerve and branches out from the lower back to the buttocks and hips and down the legs.
If damage has been caused to the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots of the lumbar or sacral spine, pain can radiate along the nerves and down the legs. This known as sciatica (or the medical term, ‘radiculopathy’).
Sciatica can be sharp and excruciating or it can amount to a mild sensation causing minimal discomfort and inconvenience. Sitting, bending, coughing and sneezing and other movements and body functions can trigger sciatic pain.
Sciatic pain usually affects one side of the body but can also cause weaknesses in the legs, calf muscles, the bladder and the bowel. Though sciatic pain sometimes eases without intervention, sometimes surgery becomes necessary – causing further distress and discomfort to the individual.
Sciatica and other types of nerve pain in the legs and back can be an occupational hazard. Where, for instance, your work requires you to carry heavy loads over a long period of time or the job involves significant amounts of twisting, you could be at greater risk of injury.
The nerves in the leg can suffer the result of compression or even be damaged by chemical irritants. The result may be numbness, tingling and pain in the lower legs, feet and toes which may or may not be temporary.
The nerve connecting to the hands is known as the radial nerve and if this is injured, you can experience pain and tingling to the fingers and thumb. You might also experience problems straightening your arm, wrists or fingers.
This type of nerve damage is known as peripheral neuropathy as it affects the extremities – such as the hands, feet and toes.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a localised type of peripheral neuropathy, often caused by pressure exerted on the median nerve which is found in the wrist. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be very painful and inconvenience, including inability to write or to hold things for more than a few seconds without numbness and tingling; and pain and tingling at night.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is, in fact, classed as an occupational diseases for the purposes of RIDDOR reporting (the formal scheme for reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences at work).
Sufferers often have to wear wrist braces to keep their wrist and hand straight, thus reducing the pressure on the median nerve. Sometimes, surgery is the only cure for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Damage to the optic nerve in the eye can be caused by injury or trauma, whether that is an accident or negligence during a procedure performed by a medical professional. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain, so if it is damaged – the effects can be serious, such as full or partial loss of vision; or painful and red eyes, double vision and sensitivity to light.
Optic nerve damage can also be caused in the workplace, particularly where dust particles are created and get into the eyes.
In the UK, it’s estimated nearly 1 in 10 people aged 55 or over are affected by peripheral neuropathy in the UK
Many workers are at risk of nerve damage in the workplace, particularly those required to undertake repetitive, manual work involving equipment and machines. Hand-arm vibration is a particular risk for workers using electric tools such as pneumatic or power drills, concrete breakers, chainsaws and movers.
Hand-arm vibration syndrome (a reportable disease under RIDDOR) is also known as vibration white finger. According to the Health and Safety Executive, workers are particularly at risk if they regularly operate hammer action tools for at least 15 minutes a day or rotary or other action tools for more than an hour a day.
Unfortunately for sufferers, hand-arm vibration nerve damage is permanent. The symptoms can include damage to the nerves, joints and blood vessels and can result in long-term inconvenience to your life, including the ability to do your job.
Employers are under clear and specific duties to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of their workforce and minimise the risk of injury. This includes determining what levels of vibration you are being exposed to and undertaking regular assessments of the health risks from vibration at work. If your employer has failed to comply with their duties, you can claim nerve injury compensation.
If you think you are already starting to show symptoms of hand-arm vibration, you should take immediate legal advice to find out what steps you should take to make a no win no fee claim for compensation.
A panel beater who used a number of hand-held power tools while working for a major car dealership since 1988, developed hand-arm vibration syndrome but was forced to continue using the tools. The HSE found that the worker’s average daily usage was around double the HSE’s recommended exposure – sometimes considerably higher. The company was fined £10,000 by magistrates and ordered to pay £28,000 in costs
It is difficult to estimate how much compensation you may be entitled to for the injury or condition itself (‘general damages’) because of the diverse nature of nerve damage injuries. Serious cases such as paralysis will, for important reasons, deserve a much larger amount of compensation compared to mild, curable cases of nerve damage affecting only the toes.
The amount of compensation you recover will depend on various factors, including the nature and extent of the injuries; and the wider impact of the injuries on your life and ability to work.
This means your solicitor will look at the cause and extent of your condition, whether you will require any further treatment and the implications for your life. Your specialist solicitor will work hard to secure the maximum compensation for nerve damage.
For an initial rough estimate of how much you could be entitled to, you can use our compensation claims calculator. Bear in mind that nerve damage may be just one part of the injuries you have sustained, for example, if you have been involved in a road traffic accident or a serious incident in the workplace. Your specialist solicitors will explain how a fair compensation figure would be arrived at in these cases.
Your solicitor will also claim ‘special damages’ to ensure you’re not left out of pocket. Special damages are intended to cover your financial losses, such as loss of earnings and overtime, prescription costs and medical expenses, for instance, the cost of private treatment and physiotherapy.
You can also claim compensation to cover rehabilitation costs, eg the cost involved in having adaptations on your home or needing to replace your car to an accessible vehicle.
If you have suffered nerve damage in the workplace, you can probably make a nerve injury claim. The chances are high that your employer has breached its duty of care towards you, in which case it must be held accountable.
In practice, your nerve injury claim will be against your employer’s insurance company under its liability insurance policy – something every employer is legally required to have. This means your employer will simply pass on your nerve damage compensation claim to the insurer to deal with.
Assuming you win your nerve damage claim, the insurance company will then make your compensation payout – it will not come out of the employer’s pocket.
You may not even have been an employee at the time – you may be a contractor, self-employed or working under a zero hours contract. In these cases, you can still make a no win no fee nerve injury claim in the same way as if you were employed directly.
Nerve damage caused by an error while undergoing medical treatment, or delays while awaiting treatment, can be particularly distressing. We entrust our health with the medical professionals and no one expects to go to a clinic or hospital and leave with additional damage and injury.
Medical negligence that can lead to nerve injuries include direct damage caused during surgery, delay in relieving pressure on a nerve; and even the prescription of the wrong prescription drug or pain relief. Patients who suffer nerve damage that was preventable can make medical negligence claims.
However, it can be challenging making successful nerve damage compensation claims for nerve damage following medical negligence. With the help of specialist medical negligence claims solicitors, you can be sure of a robust response to your injury or condition. They are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and will work hard to ensure the NHS trust involved (or other medical provider) will be held accountable for the harm caused by clinical negligence.
There may also be a separate professional negligence claim against the individual who provided negligent treatment.
So long as your lawyers can prove on balance that the doctor or other health professional breached its duty of care towards you and your injury was a direct result of that breach, you can expect to secure nerve damage compensation.
If you were a member of the public and have suffered nerve damage as a result of an accident while out in public or in a supermarket or restaurant, your no win no fee nerve injury claim will be against the business or public authority responsible for the premises. This would usually be the company carrying on business at the time.
Unlike an employee’s injury claim, nerve injury compensation claims by members of the public fall under occupiers’ liability. Businesses have a legal duty of care to their customers and visitors under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, so if you’ve been injured while on their premises they will be held responsible under this law.
In practice, the legal claim will be against their insurance company under their public liability insurance policy, so you need not worry that a cash-strapped business or local council would be financially crippled by your no win no fee claim.
If you or a family member have suffered nerve damage and other injuries to the nervous system or spinal cord as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you should be able to bring a nerve damage claim.
Contact us early, and we can explain the claim process and help you make a no win no fee injury claim.
Under your no win no fee agreement, you would only have legal fees to pay if you win. This would be in the form of a success fee – up to 25% of your compensation payout.
Your solicitor will need as much information as possible and will explain what documentation and evidence they need to build the strongest possible case for you. Your solicitor will be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, giving you reassurance that your case will be dealt with robustly and efficiently.
To make a nerve claim, your solicitor will need to see your medical records to determine exactly what treatment you’ve received so far. So if you’ve not yet seen a doctor, it’s really important to see your GP as soon as possible.
The general time limit is that you have three years from the date the personal injury was caused to start nerve injury compensation claims proceedings. The time limit is more generous if the victim is an injured child or lacks mental capacity.
However, it is often the case with work-related nerve damage that if your condition is the result of damage caused over a period of time, the three years runs from the date you first became aware that your working conditions were the cause.
Nerve damage symptoms can take a long time to develop. This means that if there’s any doubt as to whether a nerve damage claim can be made, individuals should consult with specialist solicitors who are personal injury experts to see if it’s still possible to bring compensation claims.
To find out whether you could make a no win no fee nerve damage claim, you can call an expert legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. Alternatively, you can arrange a call back using the form at the bottom of this page.
Your adviser can arrange for a free initial consultation with someone from a medical negligence team or other experienced team of personal injury lawyers.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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