Despite taking proper safety precautions and adequate training, workplace accidents happen every day, and there’s no way to prevent their occurrence. It’s unfortunate that many of these injuries result in debilitating nerve damage that can cause temporary discomfort or even permanent disabilities.
If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of nerve damage and workers' compensation insurance, speaking with an independent insurance agent is a wise choice. Independent insurance agents can provide expert guidance on how much insurance your company should have, your state’s particular regulations, and much more. While reading this article, be sure to write down any questions or concerns you may have to develop a wider understanding of a common topic.
Average Cost of Nerve Damage Settlement
The average worker's comp settlement in the United States is $21,800. However, the operative word here is ‘average’. This means that settlements can vary from as low as $2,000 up to $40,000, with only a small percentage of nerve damage awards more than $60,000..
So, there isn’t a definitive answer about the average cost of nerve damage settlement. The reason for this is that no two cases are alike, and nerve damage includes a broad designation of injuries that range from minor discomfort, repetitive-stress-induced injuries, to permanent disabilities with individuals experiencing pain and/or lack of feeling for life.
Furthermore, every state awards different amounts based on how they classify the extent of an individual’s disability, caps on benefits, and other factors. For these reasons and more, speaking with an independent insurance agent can more accurately assess your situation and determine which benefits you may qualify for.
Types of Workers’ Comp Settlements
The severity of your worker’s comp nerve injury determines the extent to which you’ll receive appropriate benefits in either a lump-sum payment, weekly payments, or less commonly, a structured settlement.
After an injury, the following four classifications of benefits will be offered to an injured individual:
|Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)||Nerve-related injuries that fall under this category typically reward workers who can maintain some capacity of employment. TPD basically compensates workers for the difference between their previous wages and their current reduced wages.|
|Temporary Total Disability (TTD)||Nerve-related injuries that are designated as TTD, which prevents a worker from performing any work duties while they recover, can expect to receive 2/3 of their income while they recover. However, many states offer benefits up to a certain cap or time. After this period elapses, benefits may end until further medical examinations are performed on the injured party to determine their current and expected disability status.|
|Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)||For nerve injuries serious enough that an injured worker permanently loses the use of their body, you will be covered under permanent partial disability. This designation is for workers who can only do a limited amount of work after their injury. Depending on the state that you were employed in or reside, the amount you can expect and the maximum you can receive varies depending on factors such as future employability, available vocational training, and more.|
|Permanent Total Disability (PTD)||If your nerve injury is such that it prevents you from working at all in the future, you may be able to get two-thirds of your weekly earnings for the rest of your life.|
State-Specific Workers' Comp Benefits
Each state has laws in place that require most employers to pay into a workers' compensation insurance system, which provides benefits to injured employees who are eligible to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
In general, most injured employees can receive the following kinds of benefits via a workers’ compensation claim in most states:
- Weekly compensation, often ⅔ of an employee’s weekly income
- Due to the nature of nerve damage’s long-term effects, adjusting for wages can be offset in a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement depending on the severity of the injury. This amount may include the cost of retraining for other occupations.
- Payment of medical bills
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation
Types of Work-Related Nerve Damage
In order to understand how future medical settlements work, you must first understand the nature of nerve damage. There are a variety of types of nerve damage that occur in the workplace due to accidents, working conditions, or the health of the individual.
The three most common causes of nerve damage are:
|Type of Nerve Damage||Example|
|Trauma||ulnar nerve damage from a fall|
|Repetitive Use||carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)|
|Illness||complications from diabetes|
Generally speaking, work-related nerve damage injuries fall into the first two types. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, symptoms may not manifest until much later, making some injuries eligible for a workers’ comp claim in the future. Also, nerve damage can be coupled with head or spinal trauma, encompassing the most serious type of nerve damage. Injuries of these types may result in permanent disability, paralysis, and even death.
Categories of Nerve Damage
Of the aforementioned types of nerve damage, work-related nerve damage falls into two general categories.
|Bruising, stretching, or tearing of a nerve or the surrounding tissue||Caused by loss of blood supply to the affected area, this condition results from sudden trauma or stress on the area over time. In these cases, the nerve is generally not permanently damaged. If the pressure is relieved through physical rehabilitation, surgery, or other treatments, nerves may be regenerated over a period of months or years. This type of nerve damage can often be reversed within a few days or months and is generally less severe.|
|Pressure on nerves that inhibit the transmission of signals to/from the brain||Caused by loss of blood supply to the affected area, this condition results from sudden trauma or stress on the area over time. In these cases, the nerve is generally not permanently damaged. If the pressure is relieved through physical rehabilitation, surgery, or other treatment, nerves may be regenerated over a period of months or years. This type of nerve damage can often be reversed within a few days or months and is generally less severe.|
Calculating the Cost of Nerve Damage in a Workers’ Comp Claim
There are many factors to consider when calculating the cost that an injured worker will recoup.
|Medical bills||The total amount claimed in medical costs, especially for developed nerve damage, is likely to be the biggest component of a workers’ comp claim. These bills generally cover: Fees involved in the physician’s consultation and diagnosis, pharmaceuticals, tests (e.g. x-rays, scans and blood tests); surgery, anesthesia, hospital stays, treatments from physical therapists, neurologists, and other specialists, medical devices such as crutches, motorized scooters, or a bedpan. Also include medical bills that were covered by personal insurance.|
|Lost wages||The monetary amount is based on your income/salary, which takes into account how much time you have taken off work, and as well as estimated time in the future that an employee will miss. Generally, ⅔ of a worker's income is given while they recuperate in accordance with state laws. Some states enable workers to receive this income for a set period of weeks or until a payout amount has been reached. For instance, if it is estimated that you’ll lose 12 weeks of work due to a nerve injury while your weekly income was $800, you can expect to receive $533 per week or $6,396 as a lump-sum.|
|Property damage||For injury claims that stem from an automobile accident, you will need to include repair costs for your vehicle, personal items inside, and damages from the accident. For this category, viable items include briefcases and laptops.|
|Future medical expenses||Includes expected costs for the future. If a doctor has recommended surgery or you will need continuing physical therapy for nerve damage, be sure to include these factors. Doctors will evaluate an individual’s condition 104 weeks after filing a claim with an Impairment Rating Evaluation, or IRE. If it is determined that an individual’s condition improves, benefits may be reduced or withdrawn. For individuals who show no signs of improvement, or a decline in their quality of life, a medical professional will officially state Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), where benefits will continue and shift towards preserving an individual’s quality of life instead of focusing on improvement.|
Now that you’re up to speed on how nerve damage and workers’ compensation insurance works, it’s time to speak with an independent insurance agent to find the right coverage and discuss your unique situation.
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