Herniated discs. Whiplash. Nerve injuries. The pressure, stretching, and occasional severing from a car accident can cause immense injuries, including considerable nerve damage.
Nerve damage can have an extreme impact on your life. From preventing you from working to making it very difficult for you to take care of yourself or engage in your normal daily activities.
If you suffered nerve damage in a car accident, what should you expect from a settlement, and how do you know you have received a reasonable offer?
First Things First: Breaking Down the Compensation You Might Pursue for Nerve Damage
You suffered nerve damage in your car accident. Now, you may deserve compensation for your injuries, but you may need a better idea of just how much compensation you can expect and when you should realistically accept a settlement offer.
Nobody can guarantee the compensation you can recover for your nerve damage injuries. However, we can help you break down the losses you sustained in the accident and, as a result, what compensation you might want to ask for as you move forward with your car accident claim.
Ask yourself these questions to get a better idea of how much compensation you might have the right to recover following your car accident injuries.
What medical costs did you face?
Nerve damage can lead to considerable medical costs. You may suffer from ongoing pain that you need to resolve as soon as possible, especially if it has caused substantial limitations in many areas of your life. Working with your doctor can help you resolve many of those symptoms. However, the resolution you face may vary.
For example, herniated discs may press on nerves that send pain, numbness or tingling, or weakness shooting through your body. In some cases, patients may require surgery to fully resolve their symptoms and that can significantly raise the medical bills those patients may face.
Take a look at all the medical bills you had after your car accident.
#1. Did you seek emergency care?
Ideally, you should always pursue emergency medical care after a car accident, even if you do not think that you suffered serious injuries. Sometimes, you may have serious injuries, including injuries like whiplash or a herniated disc, that you do not feel immediately after the accident.
Medical treatment can help you 1) identify and 2) treat those injuries not to mention providing much-needed evidence of exactly when your injuries took place, which may later prove critical to your car accident claim.
Emergency care, however, can prove very expensive. You may have ambulance transport bills, emergency room bills, and the cost of any care that you received while in the emergency room including provider bills, which may come separately from your actual emergency room bill.
#2. Did you need immediate treatment, including pain medications, to treat your nerve damage?
If you suffered serious damage in the accident, you may have required immediate treatment, including pain medications, to help you manage your pain. While the cost of pain medications may prove less expensive than many of the other financial challenges you face immediately after your accident, you should not ignore those costs, since they can add up quickly.
Make sure you track the cost of any prescriptions given to you for your pain as well as the cost of immediate treatment, including items like braces, for your injury.
#3. Did you require physical therapy?
The cost of a single physical therapy visit may not seem as though it costs much. However, as you continue to go to physical therapy and pursue treatment for your injuries, you may notice those costs adding up. Many insurance companies will also cover only a set number of physical therapy treatments each year, which may leave you paying out of pocket for any additional treatments.
You can treat many types of nerve damage, including injuries like herniated discs, with physical therapy, stretching, and other measures that do not require surgical intervention. However, those injuries can take time and numerous treatments for you to make a full recovery.
#4. Did you need surgery to treat your injuries?
In extreme cases, you might not recover from your injuries on your own, even with extensive physical therapy and other types of treatment. While most nerve damage will not require surgical treatment, in extreme cases, it may.
Surgical treatment can increase the cost of your recovery substantially. You may have to pay the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the hospital where the surgery took place. All of those bills may arrive separately, which may leave you scrambling to figure out just how much you owe.
All the medical bills associated with your nerve damage can add up quickly, especially as your doctors work to figure out what injuries you suffered and what treatment will provide you with the greatest level of relief. All those medical costs, however, can roll into your car accident claim, which may help you recover some compensation for those high bills after your accident.
How much time did you have to miss at work due to your injuries?
Nerve damage from a car accident can impact your ability to work in several critical ways. If you suffer from nerve damage, you may have numbness or weakness in your hands and arms that can make it very difficult for you to sit behind a computer all day or to lift heavy objects. Nerve damage in your legs can leave you feeling wobbly and unstable on your feet.
Not only that, nerve damage can cause ongoing pain in the positions you sit in regularly. You may, for example, have a hard time sitting behind your desk with a herniated disc in your back.
Frequently, victims of nerve damage from a car accident find themselves missing work. You may have to miss work immediately after the accident, while you work on recovering from your injuries. A long stay in the hospital can leave you with an immense gap in your income, especially if your workplace does not offer short-term disability assistance.
Then you go back to work. You may assume that your income will go back to normal. Unfortunately, your nerve damage may prevent you from working the way you once did.
You may miss time at work because of follow-up appointments or procedures, which can leave you with further income gaps. You may have to miss work because pain spikes harder on some days than others, making it difficult for you to manage your usual work tasks. Those lost wages just keep adding up.
Work with a lawyer to take a full look at all the income you lost due to your injuries, including hours lost after you returned to work in the first place. The more time you have to miss, the more compensation you may have the right to claim for wage compensation.
How did your nerve damage impact other areas of your life?
Many car accident claims include compensation for the pain and suffering you faced as a direct result of the accident.
Nerve damage can prove extremely frustrating. You may find yourself struggling with ongoing pain or with the challenges created by your weakness. You may have a hard time completing tasks that you once handled with ease. You may not have the ability to enjoy time with friends and loved ones the way you once did.
All those challenges can lead to immense suffering in many areas of your life and that in addition to the ongoing pain often caused by nerve damage.
Talk to your lawyer about how the nerve damage from your accident has impacted you and how to include it as part of your car accident claim.
A lawyer may go over all the limitations you have faced, including things like:
- Missed opportunities or activities
- Lost time with friends and loved ones
- Decreased enjoyment of life
- Lost relationships
What Should You Expect from a Nerve Damage Settlement Offer?
Once you break down the compensation you feel you deserve for the nerve damage from your car accident, based on the actual expenses you faced following the accident, you may assume that the insurance company will follow approximately the same lines you did. After all, car insurance exists to provide compensation for people who suffer serious financial challenges as a result of another driver’s actions, right?
Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely see it that way.
Insurance companies often act in their best interests, not yours. Instead of getting a settlement offer that fully reflects the financial losses you faced because of your car accident, you may receive a settlement offer that reflects just a fraction of it.
What does interacting with the insurance company after nerve damage in a car accident look like? Your experience may vary based on the specific insurance company and the adjuster that handles your claim. However, you may experience several things as you manage your claim.
You may get a low (sometimes even very low) settlement offer.
Remember, the insurance company focuses on its best interests, not yours, first. Often, that means that you may receive a settlement offer that includes only a percentage of the damages you should really expect from your car accident.
The good news: You do not have to take it! If a settlement offer does not reflect your needs, you can work with a lawyer to help increase that compensation and get an offer that better reflects your needs.
You may need considerable medical evidence.
Nerve damage can prove difficult to establish. You know that you suffer significant pain or weakness every day. You have all the right symptoms and even a diagnosis from a doctor. However, you may need to clearly establish the full extent of the damages you sustained, including clear medical evidence.
The insurance company may try to argue that you did not really suffer the nerve damage you claim.
The insurance company may try to claim that you do not need all the treatments you underwent following your accident.
The insurance company may try to establish that you did not suffer the pain and weakness you claim, often based on the activities you engaged in following your accident. The insurance company may try to argue that if you could go out with friends on the weekend, for example, you clearly do not suffer all the pain you claim, even though you may have had to work around weakness and pain to engage in those activities.
To fully establish your right to compensation, you need to provide significant medical records and provide ongoing documentation from your medical care providers.
What to Do if You Receive a Settlement Offer for Car Accident Nerve Damage
The insurance company contacted you. You know that offer does not reflect the real damages you faced.
1. Do not accept an offer that does not reflect your needs.
You can always take time to consider a settlement offer. The insurance company might try to pressure you to accept an offer fast. You may feel a lot of pressure to avoid letting that offer sit. However, you do not have to accept an immediate settlement offer. Let the insurance company know you need time to consider.
2. Talk to a lawyer.
You need a lawyer to represent your best interests and give you a better idea of how to manage your claim, not to mention preparing a counteroffer that reflects the damages you sustained. Let the lawyer look over the compensation offer and give you a better idea of what you should expect moving forward.