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Nerve Injuries in the Auto Industry

Attorneys Handling Workers’ Compensation Cases in Chicago

Nerves are bundles of small fibers that are part of the nervous system and communicate messages between the brain and the body. Through the nerves, the brain may message muscles to move. Conversely, nerves may carry information about temperature or pain within the body to the brain. Because workers in manufacturing plants operate heavy machinery, nerve injuries in the auto industry are a persistent concern. These types of injuries can occur in cutting or crushing accidents, or through repetitive motion. If you sustained nerve injuries while working in the auto industry, you should discuss your situation with the Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.

Nerve Injuries in the Auto Industry

The body contains many different nerves, any of which could be damaged through pressure, excessive stretching, or cuts. Pressure and stretching of a nerve can range from mild to severe. However, when a nerve is cut, it will no longer send signals to or from the brain. The symptoms of any nerve injury depend on which nerve was injured, as well as the nature of the injury and the severity.

Symptoms of nerve injuries include pain, weakness, and numbness. For instance, while working in an auto manufacturing plant, if you suffer a crushing accident that damages a nerve responsible for transmitting motor signals from one of your limbs, you may experience weakness in that limb. Sometimes signs of nerve injuries include changes in the color of the skin, changes in sweat production, and muscular atrophy. The symptoms of a nerve injury may be intermittent, constant or recurring. For instance, carpal tunnel syndrome is a nerve injury involving repetitive pressure on the median nerve and the symptoms experienced by a worker may be intermittent or recurring.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act sets up a no-fault system of benefits for those who are injured on the job. An autoworker who experiences nerve injuries at work may submit a claim for benefits against the workers’ compensation insurance policy of the employer.

If you sustain a nerve injury while working at an auto manufacturing plant, you should provide your employer with written notice. When an accident causes acute nerve injuries that require an immediate visit to the ER, you might assume your employer already should know about your injury. However, providing written notice of the injury as soon as possible creates a permanent record.  Your employer should then alert its workers’ compensation insurer so that the insurer has no reason to believe the nerve injuries are unrelated to work. You have 45 days after a workplace accident to provide notice to your employer.

Medical Benefits

Immediately after sustaining a work-related nerve injury, you should seek medical care. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is required to pay for reasonable medical care and rehabilitation therapy needed to cure or relieve the impact of the injury. There are situations in which only therapy and rehabilitation are needed, and these may be covered by workers’ compensation. Depending on the circumstances, however, reasonably necessary medical care may include surgical treatment, such as nerve repair, nerve decompression, and nerve grafts.

Disability Benefits

After sustaining nerve injuries, you may be eligible to receive temporary disability benefits. Temporary total disability benefits are 2/3 of your average weekly wage up to a state maximum. With a mild nerve injury that requires rest for three to four weeks, for example, it may be possible to obtain temporary total disability benefits during that period. However, if nerves are completely cut or damaged beyond repair in a serious accident, it may be appropriate to seek permanent total disability benefits or permanent partial disability benefits. When the nerve damage results in permanent and total inability to work, benefits may be calculated the same way as temporary total disability benefits. However, if the nerve injuries cause permanent and partial disability, an attorney can explain the four methods by which benefits may be calculated: wage differential, schedule of injuries, the non-schedule method, or disfigurement.

Consult a Seasoned Chicago Lawyer

Nerve injuries may be painful and may make it difficult or impossible for you to work. If you suffered nerve injuries while working in Chicago, you should discuss your situation with the experienced attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent injured auto workers in Rockford, Quincy, Champaign and Aurora, along with Adams, Winnebago, Cook, Sangamon and Kane Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.