Nerve injuries to the hand can lead to painful and sometimes debilitating effects. Four primary factors drive the value of lawsuit settlements for these injuries: (1) the severity of your injuries; (2) whether there is permanent nerve or hand damage; (3) your occupation; and, (4) whether your actions contributed to your injury.
Note that you might suffer nerve damage injuries as the result of an
1. Does the severity of a hand/nerve injury affect a nerve damage settlement?
Most often, yes. Usually, settlement values increase as the nerve damage in your hand grows more severe.
For example, you can typically expect a larger settlement for a personal injury case that involves carpal tunnel syndrome than one involving a mild pinch nerve.
The logic here is that serious injuries will require more extensive medical treatment than mild injuries.
An insurance company or attorney will often agree to a higher payout in these cases because of the size of your medical bills and your extensive medical costs.
Further, severe nerve injury claims are usually associated with chronic pain and much suffering. Again, payouts will increase to help compensate accident victims for these damages.
Note that the medical field often recognizes three general categories of nerve damage. These types of nerve damage include:
- neurapraxia, or the least severe damage where your nerve remains intact.
- axonotmesis, or moderate damage that often leads to permanent paralysis of motor and sensory functions.
- Neurotmesis, or the most severe damage where your nerve is entirely severed, and you are left with permanent damage.1
2. Will permanent damage impact settlement amounts?
Most often, yes. Injury victims that suffer permanent damage often receive non-economic damages.
This includes compensation for such things as
- emotional distress,
- inconvenience, and
- loss of quality of life.
Settlements with non-economic damage awards are generally larger than settlements without them.
Note that nerve damage claims will usually also include awards for economic damages.
Economic damages include compensation for such things as medical expenses and lost wages.
It is usually wise to seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney or law firm if you suffered nerve damage in your hand as the result of an accident.
A personal injury lawyer can advise on what types of damages you can likely collect in your personal injury claim.
An attorney can also help you maximize your compensation in your injury lawsuit or nerve damage claim.
3. Will your occupation affect a settlement amount?
Your occupation can have a direct impact on the settlement amount for your nerve injury claim.
Your settlement will likely increase if you:
- suffer a long-term or permanent injury, and
- make a living by working with your hands.
For example, you would likely receive a larger settlement if you worked as an electrician or massage therapist as opposed to a customer service rep or interpreter.
Further, your settlement value could change depending on what hand your nerve damage is in.
For example, if you are right-handed and your damage is in that hand, you would likely receive more compensation than if the damage was in your left hand. Compensation increases because your dominant hand is limited.
4. Do settlement amounts vary depending on if you helped contribute to an accident?
They can, yes. Most states say that you can still receive compensation for an accident that you helped cause.
However, comparative negligence laws say that while you can still receive compensation for an accident that you helped cause, your compensation will get decreased by your percentage of fault in causing the accident.2
This means if you contributed to a nerve injury, your settlement award would get reduced by your percentage of liability.
Example: John suffers a pinched nerve in his hand following a vehicle accident. While the other driver hit John while speeding, John is partly at fault because he did not come to a clear stop at a stop sign. John incurs $10,000 in expenses because of the accident.
A claims adjuster determines that John was 10% at fault for causing the accident. Because of this fault, the adjuster reduces a possible settlement award to $9,000 (or 10% less than $10,000). This is a lower settlement amount than John would have received if he did not help cause his injuries.
- “Management of peripheral nerve injury,” J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2019 Sep-Oct; 10(5): 862–866.
- Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition – “Comparative negligence.”