Nerve Damage Compensation

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Dealing with nerve damage as a result of someone else's negligence can be an incredibly difficult experience. The road to recovery is often long and full of obstacles. However, it's important to know you have rights and potential avenues for compensation.

This page is designed to guide you through the complexities of compensation claims. Providing invaluable information on your rights, common causes and types of these injuries, the claims process, frequently asked questions, time limits for claims within Queensland, and advice to help you navigate this challenging time.

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights after a Nerve Damage Injury in Queensland

Nerve pain often feels like a shooting, stabbing, or burning sensation and can result in a loss of sensation, weakness, and dropping things. These nerve damage symptoms can severely impact your quality of life, as well as become financially burdensome for both you and your family members. Although it can seem complex, this is why understanding your rights is crucial to getting the compensation you deserve.

To help make things clearer, here's a brief overview of the available compensation schemes in Queensland:

  • Car and Road Accidents: If you've been hurt in a road accident, compensation can be claimed under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Claims Scheme. This scheme allows these victims to get compensated for any loss or injuries they've suffered as a result of the accident.
  • Work Accidents: Often referred to as a workers’ compensation claim: if you suffer nerve damage at work, two types of claims can typically be made. Firstly, via WorkCover Queensland or your employer's insurer, a statutory claim can be lodged regardless of who's at fault. Second, if your employer was negligent, you can file a common law claim for compensation. 
  • Public Place Accidents: If you're injured in a public place due to someone else's negligence, compensation may be claimed against the negligent party's Public Liability Insurance. This covers situations where the owner or party responsible for the area failed to adequately maintain safety or was negligent in any way, resulting in your injury. 
What is Nerve Damage?

Nerve damage, medically termed as neuropathy, refers to a condition involving harm or injury to the nerves, often resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness. It's a common issue, with 1 in 20 Australians suffering from some form of neuropathy.

The nerves are like the body's electrical wiring system, transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body. There are several types of nerves in the human body, and damage to each type can affect different body parts and functions. 

For example, damage to motor nerves may result in muscle weakness, twitching, or paralysis, whilst damage to sensory nerves can induce pain, tingling, or numbness. Experiencing nerve damage can be disabling, sometimes leading to a drastic alteration in quality of life and ability to work effectively.

Common Causes of Nerve Damage Injuries

Nerve damage can be caused when the nerves are either cut, compressed, crushed, or pulled. This type of damage is often caused in workplace incidents or on the road (in a car accident, for instance). However, these are not the only common causes to be aware of. 

The most common causes of nerve damage injuries are as follows:

  • Accidents at Work: Jobs that involve repetitive motions or demand heavy lifting can result in nerve damage over time. For example, continuous typing can lead to nerve injury (typically carpal tunnel syndrome)  
  • Road Accidents: Most people associate road accidents with broken bones, however, nerve damage injuries happen internally, so it is important to seek medical advice to determine the cause of your injury, and if you're entitled to compensation. Severe trauma from accidents can cause immediate or delayed nerve damage. 
  • Falls and Slips: Falls from a significant height or slips leading to sudden, harsh impacts can also damage nerves in various parts of the body.
  • Medical Malpractice: Surgical errors or unskilful medical procedures and treatments can result in nerve injury. Peripheral Nerve Injuries (PNI) predominantly occur due to surgical procedures and traumatic incidents and are frequently encountered in medical settings. It is estimated that 13 to 23 individuals out of every 100,000 people experience PNI, so if you have suffered such an injury from medical negligence, you're not alone.
Common Types of Nerve Damage Injuries

There are over 100 distinct varieties of nerve damage. The type and severity that you have may factor into your claim, so it's important to know what type of injury you have. 

Let's have a closer look at some of the most frequent types of these injuries:

  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: This injury affects the set of nerves that sends signals from your spinal cord to your shoulder, arm, and hand. It's a common result of road and workplace accidents involving a sudden impact to the arm or shoulder.
  • Sciatic Nerve Injuries: The largest nerve in your body (beginning in the lower spine and travelling all the way to the foot) is the sciatic nerve. It can be damaged in falls or accidents involving heavy lifting. It often leads to sciatica, resulting in pain, weakness, and numbness in the leg and foot.
  • Radial Nerve Injuries: An injury to this nerve can result in a 'dropped wrist', where the person cannot lift their hand at the wrist. It's often caused by fractures or direct trauma to the arm during accidents.
  • Ulnar Nerve Injuries: This is often known as the 'funny bone' nerve and is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in accidents involving a bent elbow or heavy impact on the arm. Injuries to the ulnar nerve can cause a significant impairment in hand function.
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome: This is a rare but serious condition that can be caused by severe back injuries in accidents. It is a surgical emergency, as damage to these nerves can cause lower body numbness and potential paralysis.
Workers Most at Risk of Nerve Damage Injuries

If you've sustained an injury in your line of work, and this injury has severely impacted your ability to work or your daily life, these are prime circumstances for a nerve damage claim. Workplace injuries involving nerve damage may result in significant loss of function or very prolonged recovery, which can factor into how much compensation you receive. 

The following are some of the industries where the job requirements put workers at higher risk of this type of injury: 

  • Construction: Workers in this industry are at higher risk due to frequent heavy lifting, use of power tools and machinery
  • Manufacturing: The repetitive motions often required in manufacturing jobs can lead to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause long-term damage.
  • Healthcare: Healthcare professionals, particularly nurses and aides, are at risk due to the physical demands of their jobs. Moving and lifting patients can lead to strains and injuries. 
  • Agriculture: Farmers and other agriculture workers face risks from heavy machinery and the repetitive nature of their work, which can lead to injuries resulting in nerve damage.
  • Transportation: Drivers are at risk from accidents as well as conditions like sciatica caused by long periods of sitting.

Regardless of your profession, if you’ve suffered from a workplace accident resulting in an injury, you may be eligible for compensation. Our team of expert personal injury lawyers are here to guide you through the process, with our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise ensuring you can pursue your claim risk-free.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

If you have suffered a nerve damage injury in a road, work, or public place accident in Queensland, you might be entitled to claim compensation. It's critical to first seek advice from a medical professional who can diagnose and document your injury. The claim process following this can be complex, so it's important to understand the steps involved.

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Nerve Damage Compensation Claim?

Bringing a nerve damage claim forward requires substantial evidence. You need to prove the negligence of another party has caused your injury.

Here's a list of documentation and evidence that can support your claims:

  • Medical reports: You should have an extensive medical record detailing your nerve damage and its implications. This includes the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment required.
  • Expert testimonies: Professional opinions from neurologists or other related medical experts can provide a delineation of how the nerve damage has affected your everyday life and ability to work.
  • Incident reports: If your nerve damage injury occurred at work or in a public place, an incident report filed at the time can serve as vital evidence.
  • Photos or CCTV footage: Pictures of the accident scene or CCTV footage corroborating your claim could prove invaluable.
  • Witness statements: If there were any witnesses to the accident, their accounts can lend credibility to your allegations.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

Now, let's delve into how nerve damage compensation claims are calculated. 

There are several key factors to consider: 

  • Severity of the Injury: The degree of nerve damage you have endured will significantly affect your compensation sum. This includes the pain and suffering, the permanency of your injury, and any disfigurement or physical impairment.
  • Impact on Quality of Life: If your injury has had a negative impact on your lifestyle, your daily routines, or hobbies, these aspects are factored into the financial settlement.
  • Loss of Earnings: If you've experienced income loss due to being unable to work or have your earning capacity reduced, this loss will be included in your compensation claim.
  • Medical Costs: All expenses related to your treatment, such as physiotherapy sessions, medications, surgeries, and future medical care needs, are taken into account.
  • Assistance Needs: If you need help with day-to-day tasks, whether paid or unpaid help, this will also impact your compensation.

The same injury doesn’t always lead to an identical payout amount. For instance, let's consider two people suffering from equivalent similar injuries:

The first person is a 25-year-old athlete whose damage has stopped their promising career, while the other person is a 70-year-old retiree whose daily activities have been somewhat affected, but not significantly so.

Despite the similarity of injury, the athlete's compensation claim may be higher due to the substantial impact on their earnings and career.

Every case is unique, with different factors influencing the final settlement. That's why it's crucial to get tailored advice from experts in personal injury claims.

Time Limits for Nerve Damage Injuries

In Queensland, you typically have three years from the date of injury to lodge a claim for compensation for an injury caused by a road, workplace, or public place accident. 

More specifically, for work-related injuries, you have: 

  • 6 months from the date of the accident/injury/illness to lodge a claim with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's workers' compensation insurer if self-insured). This is an essential first step for all cases regardless of fault.
  • 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start court proceedings for a common law claim. These claims can be run in addition to a standard WorkCover claim where the negligence of your employer or another party caused or contributed to your accident and injuries.

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months but must be within 3 years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How long do nerve damage injury claims take to settle?

Settling this type of injury claim generally takes between 12-18 months. However, various factors can lengthen this timeline. These factors can include complicated elements in the case, the amount of medical evidence required, disputes over liability, or even how well the insurance company involved cooperates.

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How can nerve damage injuries impact the ability to work?

Depending on the severity and location of your injury, you may find your motor skills or sensory perceptions altered. These changes can make it difficult to perform tasks that were once straightforward - such as typing, lifting, or even holding a pen.

For manual workers, this can be particularly devastating, potentially resulting in the inability to continue in your current role and forcing you to find alternative employment. 

It's crucial to understand these potential impacts when claiming compensation, ensuring you incorporate the possible future losses and challenges you may face.

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How can I prove negligence in a nerve damage compensation claim?

To prove negligence was the cause of your injury, it's essential to demonstrate that another party was responsible for your injury.

This involves providing evidence to show: 

  • The defendant had a duty of care towards you.
  • The defendant breached this duty of care by failing to uphold reasonable standards of care.
  • Your injury is a direct result of this breach.
  • You've suffered losses or damage as a result, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
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What types of nerve damage injuries are eligible for compensation?

Compensation can be sought for a variety of nerve damage injuries, including, but not limited to, peripheral nerve damage, brachial plexus injuries, and spinal cord damage. These can result from incidents like road accidents, accidents at work, or in public places. It’s also possible to claim for conditions like neuropathy and Guillain-Barre Syndrome that have developed due to negligence.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options Elbow Injury Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
March 1, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.