When you get hurt on the job, you may feel embarrassed about what happened, but you also may have a severe injury. Nerve damage is a common work-related injury, and it can occur in all industries. If you suffer nerve damage at work, you may be able to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Nerve damage causes chronic pain and may seriously affect your ability to continue working and earn a living. Some of the most common causes of work-related nerve injuries include:
- Repetitive motion.
- Cuts and lacerations.
- Falling from a height.
- Slipping and falling.
- Crushing accidents.
- Broken bones.
- Workplace violence.
- Exposure to toxic substances.
Each of these can easily lead to nerve damage. Common nerve injuries resulting from these accidents include:
- Rotator cuff injury.
- Herniated disc.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Pinched nerve.
- Peripheral nerve damage.
- Partial or complete paralysis.
If you have been injured at work, you want to quickly remove yourself from the dangerous situation. You must get medical attention right away to avoid further injuring yourself.
What Are Symptoms of Nerve Damage?
Even if you feel fine right away or days after your workplace accident, you may start experiencing symptoms of nerve damage. Do not discount these symptoms:
- Sudden or extreme pain.
- Pain when moving.
- Burning sensation.
- Muscle weakness.
Not only can these symptoms take a long time to appear, but recovering from nerve damage can take a long time as well. Some people never fully recover and can never completely return to their pre-injury life.
Nerve damage can also be excruciating for some people. It can cause you to miss out on activities you might enjoy, such as sports or dancing, because of the pain, even with medication. Nerve damage also causes inflammation, and you may be given steroids to reduce that inflammation, but long-term steroid use may have potential side effects.
What Are Treatment Options for Nerve Damage?
Workers suffering nerve damage often undergo physical therapy. Moving can be painful, but it also helps prevent stiffness and increases your ability to move.
Nerve damage may also leave you unable to do your current job, at least to your full capacity. This means you may need to find a new job and undergo training to learn new skills that do not worsen your pain or injury.
In extreme cases, workers suffering nerve injuries will need surgery. Especially if a nerve has been severed, surgery may be the only option to alleviate the pain. Sometimes, a nerve graft is required. Recovering from this invasive surgery can take a long time.
Workers’ Compensation Requirements
With few exceptions, employers must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage. This is a type of no-fault insurance, meaning that you may be entitled to benefits unless you intentionally injure yourself. Your employer is also protected from being liable. Your injury must also occur while you are working.
For example, if you are with coworkers playing a team sport after work hours and suffer a nerve injury, you probably will not be able to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you are participating in a team sport during work hours and at your workplace, you may be entitled to benefits. This example shows a grey area for Workers’ Compensation, so it is best to speak with a trusted lawyer to understand your options.
Possible Workers’ Compensation benefits include a portion of your lost income and coverage of your medical bills. Unlike a personal injury claim where you can collect non-economic damages for pain and suffering, Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited to economic damages. This may be a substantial amount of money, depending on your injury. Because nerve damage can render you incapable of returning to work, you may be able to recover a significant amount to help cover your expenses as you adjust to your new life.
There are different types of Workers’ Compensation benefits. Each is categorized by the type and severity of your injury and your ability or inability to return to work. Some types of Workers’ Compensation benefits include:
- Temporary partial disability: You can work temporarily in a reduced capacity and will be able to return to full capacity eventually.
- Temporary total disability: You are unable to work at all during your recovery.
- Permanent partial disability: You can return to work in a reduced capacity, and you will not be able to return to your prior work.
- Permanent total disability: You will not be able to work again.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be unable to return to any type of work. While this may mean a substantial life change for you, it may mean that you can collect more compensation. A lawyer will be able to explain possible benefits.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Can Help You Get the Benefits You Need for Your Nerve Injury
Nerve damage can be painful and can lead to extensive and costly medical treatment. If your injury occurred at work, you might be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. To learn more about your legal options, speak with one of our New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey, and Trevose, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.