A nerve injury can affect almost any part of the body and may have permanent effects. Damage to nerves can range from minor to severe and may be temporary or long-lasting. Some of the symptoms of nerve injuries include chronic pain, muscle weakness, loss of bowel and bladder control and paralysis.
You could suffer nerve damage in many ways, including road traffic accidents, accidents at work and criminal assaults. Substandard medical care can also lead to nerve damage due to surgical mistakes, medication errors, misdiagnosis and mishandling during childbirth.
As long as another individual was at least partially responsible for your harm, you might be able to make a nerve injury claim. If your case is successful, you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as any financial losses and expenses related to your injury.
If you feel you may have grounds to claim nerve damage compensation, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If you have a valid case, you will be offered a no win no fee agreement, so you can start legal proceedings without taking any financial risks or paying any upfront fees.
Can I make a nerve injury claim?
If you suffered a nerve injury that you believe was caused by another person, you might be able to make a nerve injury claim. A free consultation with a personal injury lawyer is usually enough to understand whether you are eligible for compensation.
As a general rule, you should be able to claim nerve damage compensation if:
- You suffered a nerve injury in the last three years
- The damage caused you physical pain or psychological distress
- Another person was partially or entirely responsible for your nerve damage
- That person owed you a duty of care
You do not have to worry about proving a duty of care. Your solicitor will handle all the legal aspects of your claim and refer to the relevant legislation to establish that another party is responsible for your accident. What you can do is take the necessary steps to gather as much evidence as possible, such as:
- Take photographs of the accident scene if your injury was due to a road traffic or workplace accident.
- Take pictures of any visible injuries that caused your nerve damage.
- Get the names and contact details of any witnesses to your accident.
- Seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Your medical records will serve as essential proof if you want to claim nerve injury compensation.
- Get the names and wards of the medical staff that treated you.
- Write a detailed statement about how you suffered nerve damage and how this affected your life.
- Keep proof of all the financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your injury.
Your solicitor will also arrange a free consultation with an independent medical expert with specialist knowledge in the field to assess the full extent of your injuries, possible treatments and the long-term effects of your nerve injury.
What are the symptoms of nerve damage?
The nervous system plays a crucial role in every aspect of our lives, including moving, breathing, eating and sleeping, and it has two main parts:
- The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord.
- The peripheral nervous system is made up of nerves that extend to all parts of the body.
The nervous system consists of three types of nerves:
- Sensory nerves are triggered by the environment and carry signals to the central nervous system. There are at least six external and two internal sensory receptors, including receptors for taste, vision, hearing and temperature.
- Motor nerves send signals from the central nervous system to the muscles of the body to help you move and carry out your daily activities.
- Autonomic nerves control the involuntary and partially conscious processes of the body, such as breathing, digestion, heart beating and blood pressure.
Because nerves are essential to everything you do, nerve damage can severely affect your quality of life and ability to function. A nerve injury can cause a wide array of symptoms, depending on the location and type of nerves that are affected.
Autonomic nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Dizziness and fainting when you stand up
- Urinary problems such as loss of bowel control and inability to empty the bladder entirely
- Sexual dysfunction
- Difficulty digesting food and loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, heartburn, vomiting
- Sweating too much or too little
- Sluggish pupil reaction, making it difficult to adjust to light and dark
- Very fast heart rate, especially during exercise
- Shortness of breath
Motor nerve damage causes a variety of symptoms that include:
- Painful cramps
- Muscle loss
- Muscle weakness
- Bone degeneration
- Involuntary muscle twitching or tics
Sensory nerve damage may cause:
- A general sense of numbness
- Pain and oversensitivity
- Tingling, prickling or burning sensations
- Loss of balance and other problems with positional awareness
- Insensitivity to injury
- Inability to detect pain that may warn of a heart attack or other acute condition
An accident may cause different types of nerve damage at once, resulting in a mix of symptoms. The symptoms of a nerve injury can be constant or fluctuate, and they often have a significant impact on your life. If another person was responsible for your injury, you could be eligible to make a nerve damage claim.
What are the main causes of nerve damage?
Nerve injuries can occur in many ways, and sometimes they are nobody’s fault. However, if you suffered nerve damage due to the negligence of another party, you might be able to make a nerve injury claim. The most common causes leading to a claim for nerve damage compensation include:
- Negligent surgery
Nerve damage during surgery could result from anaesthesia or the procedure itself. The contact between surgical instruments and a nerve can lead to damage such as slicing or accidental severing. A surgical instrument may also rub against a nerve, causing inflammation.
A mistake in administering local, regional or general anaesthesia can also lead to a nerve injury if the syringe touches a nerve or cluster of nerves while administering the anaesthetic.
- Fractures and dislocated bones
Bone fractures and dislocations could potentially damage a nerve that travels close to the bone or joint. When a bone is fractured, the nerves can be stretched, crushed or bruised. These injuries usually heal on their own over weeks, months or years.
Sharp bone fragments can also cause nerves to be torn. These injuries do not heal on their own and need to be surgically repaired. If you suffered nerve damage due to an accident that was someone else’s fault, you might be eligible to make a nerve damage claim.
- Penetrating injuries
Puncture wounds are forceful injuries caused by sharp, pointed objects that go into the skin and underlying tissues. Penetrating injuries are usually deep and narrow and may be due to road traffic accidents, falls, violent crimes and even dog bites. Deep puncture wounds may cause moderate to severe nerve damage and may entitle you to claim nerve injury compensation.
- Electrical injuries
The nervous tissue is unable to resist an electrical current passing through the body and may suffer temporary or permanent damage as a result. Even a minor jolt of electricity can lead to nerve damage and neurological complications.
Electric shocks can affect all three types of nerves and interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the muscles and organs. That may result in pain, numbness and weakness, as well as difficulty with normal bodily functions such as breathing and urination.
- Cuts and lacerations
Cuts and lacerations are common injuries that may be caused by many types of accidents, including slips, trips and falls, car accidents and machinery accidents at work. If someone else was at least partially responsible for your accident, you could make a nerve injury claim.
While these injuries are usually moderate and do not cause serious complications, a deeper cut may also damage or sever nerve structures in the injured area. If a nerve is cut, the surgeon may need to locate the ends of the nerve and sew them back together.
- Burn injuries
Minor to moderate burn injuries are usually very painful but do not affect the underlying nerve tissue. Third and fourth-degree burns, however, extend through the skin and may cause damage to the nerve endings.
Symptoms of burn-related nerve damage include tingling, sensitivity to touch and shooting pains around the injured area. These symptoms may persist for a while and eventually stop when the injury heals. In case of severe burns that cause complete loss of feeling, the nerve damage is often permanent.
- Medicines and toxic substances
There are many medicines and substances that have the potential to cause nerve damage, which usually causes changes in sensation and movement. Such medications include chemotherapy, certain antibiotics and drugs used for the treatment of epilepsy.
If you suffered a nerve injury due to a medication error or exposure to toxic substances at work, you might be able to make a nerve damage claim.
- Compression and trauma
Many different causes, such as machinery accidents and manual handling tasks at work, road traffic accidents or falls from a height, can result in trauma or compression of nerves. Injuries such as herniated disks, whiplash, crush injuries and pinched nerves usually lead to pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness.
While the treatment often includes medication, physical therapy and steroid injections, more severe cases may need surgery. The symptoms may resolve completely over time, but severe or prolonged compression can lead to permanent damage.
- Birth injuries
Mishandling and other forms of negligence during childbirth can cause avoidable harm to the baby’s nervous system. A common example is damage to the brachial plexus, a group of nerves that control the shoulders, arms and hands that occurs in about one to three out of every 1,000 births.
A difficult delivery may also cause damage to the facial nerve, resulting in facial paralysis. The paralysis usually improves within a few weeks, but more severe cases may need surgery.
Many different types of diseases may lead to nerve damage, such as diabetes, autoimmune conditions, infections or cancer. A delayed or incorrect diagnosis of any of these conditions can permanently damage any of the three types of nerves.
Although not all nerve injuries can be prevented, if your neuropathy was due to substandard care or treatment, you might be able to make a nerve injury claim for negligence.
There are many other circumstances that may lead to nerve damage. If you feel that another person is responsible for your injury, you might be able to make a nerve damage compensation claim.
What treatments are available for nerve injuries?
You could suffer from many different types and combinations of nerve injuries. Some of them can be easily treated, while other injuries may lead to permanent damage. Your healthcare provider will carefully consider your circumstances to provide the right treatment for your injury, which could include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Oral corticosteroids to reduce swelling and pain
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and irritation to a nerve and alleviate pain
- Physical therapy to alleviate and heal nerve damage and strengthen the muscles
- Wearing a splint or collar to limit motion and allow muscles to rest
- If the nerve damage has been caused by an underlying illness such as diabetes, the treatment will be aimed at managing the underlying condition
- Adding ergonomic chairs, desks or keyboards to your home or office to relieve nerve pressure
- Avoid further exposure to a toxin or medicine that was responsible for your nerve damage.
- Vitamin supplements, if your nerve injury was caused by a vitamin deficiency such as B12
- More severe problems that do not respond to other treatments may need surgical intervention
Your doctor may also recommend other things to ease the specific symptoms of a nerve injury, such as:
- Diet changes and medication to treat digestive symptoms
- Medicine to stop your bladder muscles from squeezing too often and empty your bladder all the way.
- Drink more fluids and empty your bladder at regular times each day.
- Drugs to help you sweat less.
- Take medicines that control your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Getting extra salt and fluid into your diet to raise your blood pressure.
- Take drugs that control your immune system and bring down inflammation in your body.
Unfortunately, certain types of nerve damage cannot be cured and may lead to permanent debilitating conditions. If another party was responsible for your injury, you might be eligible to make a nerve injury claim.
Can I claim for a nerve injury caused by medical negligence?
Yes, if you suffered a nerve injury due to negligent medical treatment, you should be able to claim nerve injury compensation. Your solicitor will consult with a medicolegal expert and gather relevant evidence to show that:
- A healthcare professional breached their duty of care towards you. All medical staff have a duty to act as competent and skilful professionals with the same level of training would in the same circumstances.
- The substandard care you received caused you a preventable nerve injury of some type.
- You suffered damages such as pain, suffering and economic losses as a result.
You can make a nerve injury claim against any medical staff, whether you are claiming against the NHS or a private healthcare provider. You could suffer a nerve injury due to:
- Dental negligence
- Medication errors
- Surgical negligence
- Cosmetic surgery
- Birth injuries
Some common examples of how nerve damage can occur due to substandard medical care include:
- The accidental injection of antibiotics, analgesics and other drugs into or near a nerve
- Bleeding from a punctured artery after giving a blood sample which leads to nerve compression
- Delay in surgical fixation of fractures where there has been nerve damage at the time of injury
- Failure to notice ischaemia after a fracture or other injuries
- Traction during manipulation of the back or neck
- Delay in diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, which can result in paralysis and incontinence
- Direct damage to a nerve from cutting, compression or stretching during surgical intervention
- Needlestick injuries causing damage to a nerve
If you believe your nerve injury was due to negligent medical care, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced solicitor will investigate your circumstances and let you know whether you are eligible to make a no win no fee medical negligence claim.
How much nerve injury compensation can I claim?
Every personal injury claim is unique, so it can be challenging to estimate how much compensation you can claim. However, when you get in touch with a no win no fee solicitor, they will work hard to fully understand the impact that your nerve injury has had on your life, loved ones and ability to work.
Your solicitor will use this information to work out the maximum compensation you might be entitled to receive. To do this, they will consider the following:
General damages, which relate to the physical and psychological impact of your injury and cover the following aspects:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental pain and anguish
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of a career and job satisfaction
- Loss of prospects
- Inability to complete everyday tasks
- Lack of ability to pursue a hobby or attend a social event
Special damages are awarded to cover the financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of your nerve injury. This could include:
- The cost of past and future medication and treatments
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Travel expenses
- Cost of care and assistance you may need due to the injury
- Future loss of pension if you cannot return to work and must retire early
- Modifications to your home or vehicle
- Cost of mobility aids and other medical equipment
- Any other related financial losses and expenses
The compensation award aims to put you back in the financial position you would have been in had the accident or negligence not occurred. You do, however, have a duty to minimise your losses.
According to the guidelines published by the Judicial College, you could receive the following compensation awards for the pain and suffering caused by your nerve injury:
- £2,070 to £21,700 for nerve damage due to carpal tunnel syndrome, depending on recovery time
- £9,670 to £16,760 for moderate to severe nerve damage to the thumb
- £10,640 to £23,130 for nerve injuries caused by nasal fractures
- In the region of £46,300 for temporary paraplegic paralysis caused by nerve damage
- £60,050 to £75,010 for significant loss of bladder control
- Up to £172,860 for complete loss of bowel and bladder function and control
- £27,760 to £96,250 for nerve damage caused by a severe leg injury leading to long-term or permanent disability
- Around £148,330 for a severe neck injury leading to a significant level of disability
- £91,090 to £160,980 for a back injury with damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots causing chronic pain and permanent disability
- £240,000 to £320,000 for severe spinal cord injuries causing the victim to need permanent care
- Around £360,203 for cauda equina syndrome
- £51,460 to £108,620 for severe psychiatric damage with a poor prognosis
After a free initial consultation, your solicitor will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of your compensation prospects.
Can I claim for a nerve injury with no win no fee?
As long as your injury was either wholly or partially caused by another party’s negligence, you might be eligible to make a no win no fee nerve damage claim.
Your solicitor will examine the circumstances of your accident and determine your chances of receiving compensation. If they are greater than 50%, you will be offered a conditional fee agreement, which is the legal term for no win no fee. That means you can take legal action regardless of your financial background and without any risk.
- Help to gather relevant evidence to support your nerve injury claim.
- Speak to witnesses about what happened and get their statements.
- Arrange a free medical exam with an independent professional to assess the extent of your injuries, treatment options and long-term needs.
- Consider how the nerve damage affected various aspects of your life to calculate how much compensation you deserve.
- Prepare and file all the necessary legal documents.
- Contact the other side and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
- Represent you in court if necessary.
If you claim nerve damage compensation on a no win no fee basis, you do not have to pay your solicitor anything if your case fails. If you win, the defendant will cover the solicitor’s fees, while you will only pay a success fee of a maximum of 25% of your award for pain, suffering and past financial losses.
Your solicitor will take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf, which is essential in any no win no fee claim. The ATE insurance is a legal expenses insurance policy that covers all the costs and disbursements incurred if you lose the nerve injury claim, including:
- The defendant’s solicitor fees
- Court and counsel fees
- The cost of police and medical reports
- Printing and copying costs
- Barrister fees
- Expert witness fees
The ATE policy is self-insuring, meaning you do not have to pay the premium if you lose your claim. If you win compensation, the cost of the ATE will depend on how soon in the claim process you purchased it and your expected chances of success.
Is there a time limit to make a claim?
The time limit to make a personal injury claim is usually three years. Under the Limitation Act 1980, the three-year period to claim nerve injury compensation begins on either:
- The date on which an accident or situation caused you to suffer nerve damage
- The date of knowledge of your injury, if the damage was not immediately apparent
After the three years have passed, your case will become statute-barred, and the court will no longer accept your claim. If you have a very good reason for the delay, the court may sometimes allow an extension of the limitation period, but you should not count on this.
As a general rule, the sooner you speak to a personal injury lawyer, the easier it will be to collect evidence, talk to witnesses and build a strong compensation claim.
There are several exceptions to the three-year time limit to make a nerve injury claim. For example:
- Claims for children under 18 years of age could be handled by a litigation friend (usually a parent or guardian) at any point, regardless of when the injury occurred. Alternatively, the victim has until their 21st birthday to make a claim themselves when they become an adult.
- Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, there is no time limit to claim nerve injury compensation for individuals who cannot conduct legal proceedings. This could be due to a head injury or a pre-existing medical condition such as dementia or Down’s syndrome.
- Nerve injury claims related to a violent crime can be brought through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) within two years after the incident.
- If you suffered nerve damage while serving in the military, you could claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years of the accident.
- If you lost a loved one due to a nerve injury, you could claim compensation within three years after the date of death. Alternatively, the three-year time limit to claim might begin on the day you received a post-mortem report confirming the cause of death.
- If you suffered nerve damage while on holiday, working or receiving treatment abroad, you might still be able to make a nerve injury claim. However, the time limit can vary considerably from country to country, so you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
To start your nerve injury claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation. Alternatively, please enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.