Have you suffered nerve damage because of medical negligence? Could have your nerve injury been avoided had the quality of care not been of a poor standard? Our guide will explore medical negligence that has resulted in nerve injuries in a couple of different circumstances.
We will start the guide off by looking at what nerve damage is and how a nerve injury may occur. The guide will discuss the different types of nerves within the human body and how these can be affected by injury. How nerves can be damaged will lead on from this and then we will look at the symptoms of nerve injuries. We’ll be looking at the eligibility criteria for making a medical negligence claim. And why nerve damage can result from substandard medical care.
There is a medical negligence compensation calculator table that follows with figures from a publication that lists past values for pain and suffering.
Additionally, we’ll be guiding you through the process of making a claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor and how they might benefit you.
However, if you have any further questions after reading, please don’t hesitate to contact us on the following details:
- You can call us on 0800 652 3087
- Chat with us using the live chat feature at the bottom of the page
- Or you could send us your enquiry and we’ll get back to you at a time convenient to you
Select A Section
- What Is A Nerve Injury?
- Types Of Nerves
- Causes Of Nerve Damage And Injuries
- What Are The Symptoms Of Nerve Injuries?
- What Is Spinal Accessory Nerve Damage?
- How Could Medical Negligence Cause Nerve Damage?
- Long-Term Effects Of Nerve Injuries
- Rates Of Negligence In The NHS
- Could I Claim Against The NHS
- Time Limits To Claim For Negligent Medical Care
- What Can I Claim For A Nerve Injury?
- No Win No Fee Nerve Injury Medical Negligence Claims
- Talk To An Expert
- Where To Learn More About Medical Negligence Claims
- Nerve Injury Claim FAQs
Nerve damage is also called peripheral neuropathy. A nerve injury involves any of the nerves in the body being damaged which can result in debilitating symptoms that may persist over a long period of time.
Nerve damage can happen in the extremities like the feet, hands and arms. Injuries to the nerves and nerve tissue could have been caused in an accident but made worse through medical negligence. Or medical negligence could have caused the nerve damage while diagnosing or treating another injury. For instance:
- Suffering a slipped disc after a fall in your home and receiving poorly executed surgery because of medical negligence. This may have caused you to suffer further harm resulting in permanent nerve damage as well as ongoing pain and discomfort.
- Undergoing surgery for an open fracture in your ankle that causes unnecessary nerve damage.
All medical professionals whether this is a nurse, doctor, surgeon or dentist owe all the patients they agree to treat a duty of care not to cause avoidable suffering. To have a valid medical negligence claim you must first prove how this duty was breached? That negligent practices caused you to suffer harm that would not have happened had another route been taken. And finally that a competent practitioner of the same profession would not have caused such harm.
The body is home to a couple of different nervous systems that work together to help the body function. For instance, the central nervous system is formed of the brain and spinal cord. And the peripheral nervous system consisting of three types of nerves.
Each group of nerves in the peripheral system have a different role to play within the body. They include:
- Sensory nerves transmit sensations like pain and touch
- Motor nerves that control the muscles
- Autonomic nerves regulate different functions in the body including blood pressure
As they each have an important role in keeping the body functioning normally, any damage caused to them could have severe consequences. In addition, the more severely they are injured, the bigger the impact may be on the quality of a person’s life.
The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused by diabetes. Because diabetics suffer from huge amounts of sugar within their blood this can eventually go on to cause diabetic polyneuropathy. However, a wide range of other causes can also result in nerve injury including; shingles, different types of certain medication, viruses and accidents causing physical injury.
Medical Negligence Causing Nerve Injuries
There are various ways in which medical negligence could cause nerve injuries, such as:
- A nurse administering anaesthesia through a needle incorrectly.
- A surgeon using unsuitable equipment in surgery
- A medical professional failing to diagnose conditions that lead to nerve damage because they failed to diagnose clear symptoms.
- Dentists causing nerve damage through negligent practices.
According to the NHS, there are some symptoms that may be a sign of nerve injuries or nerve damage. They might include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Burning, stabbing or shooting pains in the affected area
- Muscle weakness
- Balance and coordination may be affected
- Hot or cold feeling in the affected area
- Pins and needles
However, there may be more and you should make your doctor aware of all the symptoms so they can diagnose you accurately.
If you present clear symptoms of nerve damage to your doctor and they fail to reach a diagnosis when another physician of the same competency would not you could have a foundation for a medical negligence claim. However, you must be able to prove that you suffered more than you would have had the negligence not occurred.
There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves that start at the brain and lead to parts of the body primarily the head and neck. They work together to contribute to movement and muscle control.
The 11th pair of nerves is called the spinal accessory nerve which contributes to the movement of muscles in the shoulders, head and neck.
However, if it’s damaged such as through negligent surgery, it could result in various symptoms such as:
- Weakening of the trapezius muscle in the shoulder
- Chronic pain
- Limited movement in the shoulder
Medical negligence is when a practitioner deviates from proven practices and professional standards. Through omission or actions that are considered negligent causes harm to a patient that could have been avoided. Medical negligence could cause:
- Negligent Misdiagnosis, e.g.failure to diagnose diabetes when clear symptoms were ignored.
- Delayed treatment, e.g. because the patients received a negligent misdiagnosis.
- Dental negligence / dental surgery negligence, e.g. failing to treat a root canal correctly and damaging a nerve in the tooth
- Surgical negligence, e.g. clipping the nerve during a carpal tunnel surgery
If you’ve experienced something similar but are unsure whether it was caused by negligence, contact our team and they’ll be happy to provide you with further clarification.
An injury or damage to the nerve could result in severe impacts on someone’s quality of life. For instance, it could cause:
- Permanent damage
- Damage that gets gradually worse
- Affect to the autonomic nerves such as heartbeat and blood circulation
Furthermore, if your nerve damage was a result of untreated diabetes, it could lead to other injuries such as foot ulcers. If these are left untreated they could result in an infection such as gangrene which could then lead to amputation.
Additionally, you may need further costly adjustments to help with your day to day life. For example, walking aids if nerve damage is in the legs or part-time care to help with certain activities.
However, you may be able to claim back the cost of these in compensation. For more information on the types of damages, you could claim, see further down in our guide.
There were a total of 11,682 new claims and reported incidents made to the NHS Resolution in 2019/2020.
The graph below highlights what department the claims of negligence came from. The figures don’t provide an insight into how many claims were made because of nerve damage resulting from negligence. Additionally, it doesn’t give details of the cases where medical negligence was proven.
However, it does highlight the cases of medical negligence against the NHS.
The figures are provided from the NHS Resolution.
To be able to claim for nerve damage against an NHS Trust courts may want to apply the Bolam test to be sure the duty of care medical professionals have for their patients has been breached. This would take a group of professionals with similar credentials and ask whether the treatment or care provided was of an acceptable standard. If it is agreed that the doctor provided care that was considered acceptable then there will be no case to answer.
To make a claim against a care service, firstly, you could make a complaint through the NHS complaints service.
However, your complaint may be passed to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who handle complaints that aren’t resolved with the NHS complaints procedure.
Alternatively, if your complaint isn’t responded to or resolved in the way you’d hoped, you could seek help from a medical negligence solicitor to help you with your claim.
However, it’s important that you’re aware of the NHS Resolution and how they could be involved in your claim against the NHS. They act as a representative and handle claims made against the NHS.
For more information on claiming against the NHS, contact our team on the number above.
Please be aware of the time limits in place when making a medical negligence claim. The general time limit is three years, either from the date:
- The incident took place
- You gained enough knowledge that a medical professionals negligence caused or contributed to your injury
However, they may be exceptions that apply to your current situation. For instance, the three years are frozen for anyone injured under the age of 18. During this time, a claim can be made on their behalf by a parent, guardian or solicitor. This can be done by acting as a litigation friend.
Alternatively, the three years will start from the date of their 18th birthday and they’ll be able to make a claim for themselves from this point.
Furthermore, a claim can be made on behalf of anyone who lacks the mental capacity to put forward a claim themselves. Again, this could be done by a parent, guardian or solicitor who could act as a litigation friend.
If the person has no chance of regaining their mental capacity, the three years will be frozen indefinitely. However, if there is a chance they’ll regain their mental capacity, the three years will start from the date of their recovery during which time they can make a claim for themselves.
However, if you have any further questions, please contact our team on the number above and they’ll be happy to help.
Your compensation award may be made up of general damages which cover the pain and suffering inflicted by the negligence, also special damages that cover any financial losses.
General damages will take into account your physical and psychological suffering as well as the effect the injury has had on your quality of life.
However, it may be subsidised by any past or future financial losses incurred as a direct result of the injury. These will be covered under special damages and might include:
- Care costs, e.g. part-time care to help with certain daily activities
- Walking aids, e.g. wheelchair or walking stick
- Loss of earnings if the nerve damage has resulted in you being unable to do your job or having to reduce your hours
- Travel expenses
What evidence will I need?
As part of your nerve injury claim for medical negligence, you will need to provide medical evidence to support your claim. This might include medical records which may provide details of:
- Prior appointments that show any previous treatment and diagnosis
- Symptoms patient informed the medical professional of
- Treatment or surgery plans
- Medication prescribed
This evidence will help to show the state of your injuries and how they may have been sustained. However, you may need to attend an additional assessment which will provide a further report to support your claim of medical negligence.
Additionally, if you’re claiming for any additional damages, you’ll require evidence in the form of payslips to show any loss of earnings as well as receipts and invoices for any other losses.
What’s my nerve injury claim worth?
The table provided below may give an idea of how much your claim will be awarded. It lists different types of nerve injuries and figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).
The JCG may be used alongside the additional medical report to work out how much your claim is worth. However, the figures should only be used as a guide as actual compensation figures may vary depending on the severity of your injury.
|Thumb||Serious injury to the thumb: Injuries might include thumb amputation, nerve damage, or fracture which requires wires and causes other symptoms such as sensitivity||£11,820 to £15,740|
|Thumb||Moderate injury to the thumb: Injuries might include damage to the tendons or nerves and affect sensation and function||£9,080 to £11,820|
|Leg||Less serious: (i) The award may be given to serious soft tissue injuries that may cause some nerve damage in lower limbs.||£16,860 to £26,050|
|Back||Severe: (i) Injuries might include damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots causing serious ongoing issues and disability such as severe pain and partial paralysis.||£85,470 to £151,070|
|Back||Severe: (ii) Injuries might include damage to the nerve root causing other issues such as an impact on mobility and loss of sensation.||£69,600 to £82,980|
For any further information, please contact our team and they’ll be happy to help you understand how compensation is calculated.
We understand you may have apprehensions about using a solicitor to represent you during your claim due to the legal costs that you’re usually expected to pay. However, we have a solution that allows you to access expert advice from a medical negligence solicitor to help you during your claim.
Our advisors could connect you with a solicitor who can represent you on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning if your solicitor is unsuccessful with your claim, you won’t pay solicitor fees.
If your solicitor is successful, you’ll pay a small fee. However, this is capped and can be decided on with your solicitor before making a start with your claim.
Furthermore, you’ll be represented by a solicitor who is experienced in handling medical negligence cases. Most importantly, you can avoid upfront fees.
We understand that although we’ve tried to cover as much information as possible, you may still have questions regarding your potential claim. If so, our advisors are available to provide you with answers and further clarification on anything you may be unsure of.
Additionally, they can assess whether you have a valid claim and if so, could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor. An experienced solicitor can then take you through the next steps of your claim.
For more information, contact us on the following:
- Telephone 0800 652 3087
- The live chat feature at the bottom of the page
- Send us an enquiry using the contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible
If you suffered a nerve injury when a dentist pulled out the wrong tooth, see our guide for more information.
For further help on claiming compensation for a misdiagnosis, our guide could help.
Visit our guide for more information on the legal advice you may need when claiming against the NHS.
If you require more information on nerve damage caused by unmonitored or untreated diabetes, see the Diabetes website.
For more information on the standard of care you’re owed as a patient, see the General Medical Council website.
See the government website for more information on the duty of care owed to you by the NHS.
For further information on nerve injury claims, see below for the answers to some commonly asked questions.
Is nerve damage Medical Malpractice?
If the damage was further harm caused by a medical professional breaching their duty of care, this may have been medical negligence and you could make a claim.
Is negligence nerve damage?
Medical negligence is caused when a medical professional fails to provide the correct standard of care and as a result, you suffer further harm such as nerve damage from a poorly executed surgery.
What is the average settlement for nerve damage?
There is no average compensation amount for a nerve damage claim as the amounts may depend on the specific nature of your case. For instance, the severity of your injury and any additional damages you may be claiming.
Can I claim compensation for nerve damage?
If the nerve damage was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to claim compensation. However, evidence will be required to prove the state of your injuries and whether negligence occurred.
We hope you found our guide on claiming compensation for a nerve injury helpful. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
Guide by Megan
Edited by LisM.