When a worker suffers nerve injuries caused by an accident or repetitive stress activities at work, he or she may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Various types of occupations can lead to nerve injuries. Although some job-related nerve injuries are caused by trauma like slips and fall accidents, machinery accidents, car accidents or explosions, others occur due to repetitive stress. Severe nerve injuries can be painful, disabling, or even deadly.
Treatment for nerve damage and other nerve injuries varies significantly depending on the type of injury and the extent of the damage. Although rehabilitation and recovery may be possible for some types of nerve injuries, many victims suffer permanent, irreparable damage.
Types of Work-Related Nerve Damage
There are two primary types of nerve injuries, and there are numerous conditions that can stem from each. Two of the most common severe nerve injuries that result from workplace accidents are cervical radiculopathy and traumatic brain injury.
Cervical radiculopathy is nerve damage in the spine that occurs if the nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae are compressed. Cervical radiculopathy can cause pain and loss of sensation in the upper extremities, depending on where the damaged nerve roots are located. Some of the most common symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include:
- Pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest, upper back, and/or shoulders
- Muscle weakness, numbness, tingling in fingers or hands
- Lack of coordination
Cervical radiculopathy can happen for a number of reasons, including pressure from a herniated disc, degenerative bone disease, arthritis, or trauma to the nerve roots. If cervical radiculopathy is the result of a workplace injury, the victim may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for medical bills and lost wages.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, are serious injuries with potentially lifelong consequences. Work-related traumatic brain injuries can occur in any job. Common causes of work-related traumatic brain injury include:
- Falling merchandise
- Construction accidents, such as falling from a scaffold
- Trucking accidents
Traumatic brain injuries and head injuries of all kinds, should not be overlooked or understated when they happen on the job. Head injuries have been linked to a number of lifelong medical problems, including depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and increased stroke risk. Subsequent TBIs can lead to secondary impact syndrome (SIS) which can result in massive swelling of the brain and may lead to a loss of blood flow to the brain. This can cause cognitive difficulties and other neuropsychological effects.
If an employee suffers a traumatic brain injury while on the job, he or she is generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Determining the amount of the workers’ compensation settlement for a traumatic brain injury can be difficult, however, since the impact and severity of the head injury are not always known at the time of the injury.