If you recently got hurt in a car crash, you might wonder how much a car accident settlement for a pinched nerve could be worth. However, there is no average settlement amount for a pinched nerve. What you could recover will depend on the extent of the injury and other factors. You could receive awards for healthcare costs, car repair or replacement, income loss, pain and suffering, and others.
While a pinched nerve can be a relatively harmless injury, some individuals have to undergo costly rehabilitation therapies or surgery. Moreover, a car accident victim could face lifelong consequences as some nerve damage is permanent.
You deserve adequate compensation if another caused your accident. Morgan & Morgan’s car accident lawyers could help you navigate the legal process and fight for what you deserve. Contact Morgan & Morgan now for a free case review.
What Is a Pinched Nerve?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a pinched or compressed nerve can occur as a result of too much pressure from the surrounding tissues. Symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
- Numbness in the area around the affected nerve.
- Decreased sensation.
- Radiating pain in the region of the pinched nerve.
- The feeling of “pins and needles” in the affected area.
- Muscle weakness.
- Feeling that an arm, hand, or foot frequently “falls asleep.”
- Loss of bladder and bowel control.
Pinched nerves can be common after car accidents, as muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues react to the trauma from the crash. Many individuals can recover from a pinched nerve in days or weeks with adequate rest and over-the-counter pain medication. However, others may require costly surgery and physical therapy to relieve pain and resolve the nerve injury.
Causes of Pinched Nerves After a Car Accident
A pinched nerve can occur as a secondary injury due to the following common car accident injuries:
- Herniated discs
Nerve damage after a car accident often occurs in the spinal region. When nerves are pinched or compressed for too long, permanent nerve damage can occur. Therefore, it is crucial to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you feel fine initially.
Diagnosing a Pinched Nerve
In the first instance, your medical provider will physically examine you to determine the pinched nerve’s source. They will most likely test your reflexes, determine whether there is any muscle weakness, and ask some questions about your symptoms.
Diagnostic imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can help identify the cause of the nerve compression. Electromyography (EMG) measures the electrical impulses of muscles and can determine whether your nerves are working properly.
Treatment for Pinched Nerves
The first line of treatment for a pinched nerve is rest and time. Your doctor may advise applying ice and heat to the area, using pain relievers, and wearing a splint or collar, depending on the area affected. If you are suffering from significant pain due to the trapped nerve, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to help manage your pain.
Talk to your doctor to determine whether a course of physical therapy may be appropriate for treating your pinched nerve. In many cases, stretches and light exercise can be beneficial and help to relieve minor pain and ease pressure on the affected nerve.
Surgery is more or less the last resort when all other treatment options have failed. Recovery after surgery for a pinched nerve can take several weeks or months. Your doctor should be able to provide you with a general recovery timeline for your individual nerve injury.
Potential Complications With Pinched Nerves
While pinched nerves often heal without significant issues, in some cases, a pinched nerve from a car accident can lead to serious complications, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Permanent nerve damage
- Buildup of fluids and swelling
- Sensory damage
- Permanent weakness
Determining Your Pinched Nerve Car Accident Settlement Amount
The amount you could receive for a pinched nerve will depend on your damages, the liability of the other party, and the amount of insurance cover available. The two main types of recoverable damages in a car accident case are economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages relate to your financial losses due to a car crash. For example, if you have missed work due to a pinched nerve and incurred steep medical costs, you have the right to seek reimbursement for these expenses. Economic damages can include:
- Past, present, and future medical bills related to the accident
- Medical devices such as collars or splints
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages and future lost earning potential
- Out-of-pocket expenses
After an accident, many injured victims lose more than money and could be physically and emotionally impacted for the rest of their lives. For example, they may no longer be able to enjoy their hobbies and activities. Injured individuals could be entitled to non-economic damages to compensate for such losses, including:
- Physical pain
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of life quality
- Disfigurement and scarring
Once your car accident lawyer analyzes your losses comprehensively, including both economic and non-economic damages, they can give you a better idea of the settlement amount you could recover for your pinched nerve.
How Negligence Can Impact Your Settlement
Most states follow comparative negligence law in some form, which means that even if victims are partially responsible for the accident, they could recover compensation. However, the final amount recoverable will be reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if you are 40 percent at fault for an accident, you can claim only 60 percent of your damages.
If you are partially to blame for a car crash working with an experienced lawyer can be critical. The other side and their attorney may try to take advantage and could assign you a higher degree of fault. An attorney from Morgan & Morgan can protect your rights, ensure that you are treated fairly, and fight for adequate compensation on your behalf.
Proving Your Case
Proving your case will be essential for recovering a car accident settlement for a pinched nerve. In a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to present evidence showing that the other driver acted negligently and that:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care.
- They breached the duty of care, for example, by driving drunk.
- The breach caused your accident and injuries.
- You have damages such as medical bills, income losses, or others.
Types of Negligence in Car Collisions
While car accidents can happen due to poorly constructed roads, bad weather, or vehicle defects, in most cases, other drivers are responsible. You could hold another driver accountable for your accident and damages if they acted negligently, such as:
- Driving intoxicated
- Driving distracted
- Driving recklessly
- Ignored traffic signs and signals
The amount of available insurance coverage in a car accident can severely influence your settlement amount for a pinched nerve. When the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is not enough to compensate you, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover what you deserve. Our car accident lawyers can review the relevant insurance policies and determine if a lawsuit is appropriate.
What Your Pinched Nerve Car Accident Settlement Could Be Worth
As we have seen, many factors can play into a settlement amount. However, an individual that suffered minor or moderate injuries could receive between $10,000 – $80,000 in damages, depending on their accident expenses. For a permanent or disabling nerve injury, an injured individual could be entitled to $100,000 and upwards, potentially into the millions of dollars.
What to Do if You Suffer Nerve Damage in a Car Accident
Protecting your legal rights is critical, even if you are not yet sure whether you will file a lawsuit. Consider taking the following steps to protect yourself:
Gathering evidence at the crash scene or in the days following your accident can be essential. Evidence you could collect includes:
- Photos of the vehicles, accident scene, and injuries.
- The contact details of witnesses
- Medical reports of your injuries
- Receipts for medical costs and other expenses
Seek Medical Help
Seeking medical advice immediately after your accident will be crucial if you have a pinched nerve. Your doctor can diagnose the injury promptly so you can begin treatment as soon as possible. A medical report can also be excellent evidence of your injuries and damages.
Contact a Lawyer
In most cases, victims need a seasoned car accident attorney in their corner, fighting for the best possible outcome of their case and maximum compensation. Morgan & Morgan is here for you. Contacting us for help with your case takes out the stress of finding a suitable lawyer who has the experience and determination needed to handle your claim effectively.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
In many accident cases, an insurance company will compensate victims for injuries such as a pinched nerve. However, if you struggle to receive the settlement amount you require for paying your medical bills and other damages, you could file a personal injury lawsuit.
Acting promptly can be critical for seeking legal recourse as there are time limits for filing personal injury lawsuits. The deadlines vary from one state to another and can be as short as one year. The time usually starts ticking down on the day of your accident.