Hurt at Work: What You Need to Know About Nerve Injuries and Getting a Workers’ Comp Nerve Damage Settlement
Unfortunately, painful and debilitating nerve injuries plague thousands of workers across the United States. Many factors can cause nerve damage, such as repetitive stress injuries from your job or a workplace accident. Suffering from a nerve injury can be disruptive to both your lifestyle and your ability to make a living. Fortunately, individuals who suffer from nerve injuries may be eligible to receive a workers’ comp nerve damage settlement to cover the cost of their medical expenses and provide wage replacement benefits while they recover.
If you are suffering from nerve damage from being hurt at work in Pennsylvania, it is important that you contact a workers’ compensation attorney. Workers’ compensation insurance companies and employers often engage in tactics to try to pay out as little as possible. Your attorney is there to support you and stand up against these parties to help get you the benefits you deserve.
The experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo have successfully handled over 300,000 claims during our over 85 years of service. Our team takes a personalized and diligent approach to help workers get the relief they need. We take the time to understand what happened and how you would like us to help.
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What Are Common Types of Nerve Injuries?
Riddling our body are millions of nerves, from those on our feet and hands to our wrists and abdomen and everywhere in between. Many types of nerve injuries can plague workers, whether as a result of strenuous or repetitive work or after a work accident. Bruising and stretching of nerves and tissue are common and typically occur after an accident. Oftentimes, bruising and stretching of the nerves can lead to tearing as well. Workers should take this type of injury very seriously because it can lead to paralysis or limited strength and mobility. In certain cases, these types of nerve injuries can cause permanent damage.
The other significant variation of nerve injury involves specific pressure on nerves, which makes it difficult or impossible for them to operate efficiently. The pressure on the nerves prevents them from sending transmissions to and from the brain. A similar, albeit temporary and less severe, version of this occurs if we are sitting on our foot wrong and it falls asleep. In some conditions, this damage occurs over time and results in a loss of blood supply to the damaged area.
Fortunately, doctors may be able to heal or alleviate much of the pain associated with pressure nerve injuries. Workers can gradually regain functioning and, hopefully, feeling by engaging in rehabilitative therapy or undergoing surgery to relieve the pressure.
In certain situations, nerve damage can be the result of a more serious work-related injury like spinal damage.
Because nerve injuries are impossible to see for the outside observer, your employer may attempt to dispute the severity of your injury. It is common for employers to downplay nerve injuries and question whether the injuries are related to work. Employers may try to rush workers suffering from nerve damage back to work before their recovery. It is typical for employers to claim that workers have recovered “enough” to reenter the workforce. But returning to work before you are ready further jeopardizes your health and can potentially worsen your nerve damage. For that reason, it is important to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer after your injury. They can investigate your claim and determine the proper course of action to maximize your chances of receiving benefits.
What Are the Signs of a Nerve Injury?
Oftentimes, workers may try to downplay the extent of their injuries, never realizing that they are suffering from nerve damage. But even minor injuries can degrade your nerves over time and result in severe chronic pain that requires medications or surgery to address. Being aware of and listening to your body is important, as is speaking with a physician if you sustain an injury or something that does not feel quite right.
Nerve damage can present itself in a variety of ways depending on the source and extent of the injury and the individual. But the following are common signs of nerve damage workers with this injury may experience:
- Loss of sensation or loss of function in a body part;
- Any injured ligament or sprain;
- Pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness;
- Muscle bruises or strains; and
- Lacerations to tendons.
These conditions can occur gradually or occur immediately following a serious accident. After you are hurt at work, it is important to know that you do not have to see the doctor your employer suggests. Under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law, you may be able to choose your doctor unless your employer posts a list of at least six providers. Your workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on your rights and refer you to a qualified, unbiased physician who can give you a fair and adequate examination.
What Are Common Causes of Work-Related Nerve Injuries?
Workers may develop a nerve injury gradually or acquire it from a workplace accident. For example, workers exposed to toxic chemicals like lead or arsenic may gradually develop nerve damage. Likewise, radiation exposure over time can lead to nerve injuries. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, people who perform repetitive physical actions, such as typing, may develop carpal tunnel syndrome, a form of peripheral neuropathy.
Workplace accidents can also lead to nerve injuries. Examples of accidents that may cause damage to the nervous system include the following:
- Slip and fall,
- Car crash,
- Chemical spill, and
- Workplace falls.
Regardless of the cause of the underlying nerve damage, it is important to act quickly to protect your health and your right to receive compensation. Under Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp laws, you may be eligible for benefits even if the work injury is not due to a sudden, traumatic accident. Workers who experience gradual damage to their bodies may be entitled to benefits as well.
What Should I Do If I Suffer a Nerve Injury at Work?
If you suffer a nerve injury at work, contact a doctor to understand the damage to your body. As soon as you believe the nerve damage is or might be work-related, notify your employer immediately. Under PA law, workers must tell their employer within 21 days of when they suffer an injury or discover their condition might be work-related.
Notifying your employer begins the workers’ compensation claim process. By law, your employer must report the situation to their insurance company or designated self-insurance manager immediately after receiving a notice of injury. They must also file a form with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within 48 hours of receiving notification of a fatal work accident or within seven days of receiving notice of any other type of injury that results in at least one day of missed work.
After you notify your employer, make sure to keep up with your regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments and follow all treatment recommendations. To further protect your rights, consider contacting a workers’ compensation attorney to help build a case in your favor. Despite what your employer or their insurance company may say, their top priority is protecting their bottom line, not your health. These parties often try to persuade workers to make admissions or retract their statements to avoid paying out the value of the claim. In contrast, a good workers’ comp attorney works for you and has your best interests at heart at all times. They can insulate you against these tactics and help you receive the compensation you need.
What Can I Get for a Workers’ Comp Nerve Damage Settlement?
Workers experiencing nerve damage may be entitled to compensation for what happened to them. The types of benefits available under Pennsylvania law include the following:
- Medical care reimbursement. The workers’ compensation insurance company may cover your qualified, work-related medical expenses.
- Wage loss benefits. You may be entitled to wage replacement payments if you experience a total disability and cannot work or a partial disability that prevents you from earning as much as you did before the injury.
- Specific loss benefits. You may be entitled to a specific type or amount of benefits if you suffer a named loss, such as loss of or loss of the use of a toe or thumb.
- Death benefits. If your loved one dies because of a work injury, you may be eligible to receive benefits to compensate you for their death and the loss of their financial support.
The amount of your benefits and how long you receive them largely depend on the severity of your disability (e.g., total vs. partial). Further, you may receive a lump-sum payment or installment payments on a weekly or monthly basis. It depends on the insurance company’s policy, the applicable law in effect at the time, and your settlement agreement with your employer and their insurance company.
The Dedicated Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo Can Help
Suffering a work injury can be confusing, frustrating, and painful. Nerve damage symptoms can range from numbness to tingling to constant pain, seriously impacting your ability to work or enjoy your life fully. Pursuing workers’ compensation may sound intimidating or exhausting, but you can greatly simplify the process with the right legal team.
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo has fought for workers’ rights since the 1930s. Jason Krasno represents the third generation of workers’ comp attorneys in his family. Throughout his decades in practice, he has represented thousands of injured workers and earned numerous awards for his dedication to workers’ rights. The firm has been named Pennsylvania’s Premier Workers’ Compensation Law Firm by Best Law Firms.
If you suffer nerve damage because of a workplace injury, contact our team today to schedule a free consultation by calling 844-243-4843 or using our online contact form.