If you have been in an automobile crash and experience nerve-related pain, your medical provider may recommend nerve root injections.  

What is a Nerve Root Injection?

A nerve root injection (nerve root block) is an injection of local anesthetic and steroid that is injected under X-ray guidance into the area where the nerve exits the spinal column. Nerve root injections are used to diagnose the source of pain and to treat pain caused by inflammation of the spinal cord [Source: University of Maryland]. They are ordered by your doctor for pain in the arm or leg that follows the path of a nerve. The injection helps determine if the nerve is irritated by “numbing” the nerve root to produce temporary pain relief. When the nerve receives the corticosteroid, the long-lasting medication soothes the irritated nerve root, promotes healing, and significantly relieves pain.

Do You Need an Attorney?

We’ve found that a nerve root injection case quite often requires representation due to the question of whether your condition was caused by the crash or caused by an underlying degenerate condition. Insurance companies will claim that your condition would have needed treatment, regardless of the crash.

The difficulty is that the condition being treated with nerve root injections is often a degenerative condition that has been aggravated or made worse by the car accident. The fight with the insurance company occurs over the argument of whether the treatment would have been needed anyway, regardless of the accident. Adjusters will blame degenerative conditions for your treatment, even if you have never been seen before by a medical professional about this condition.

The reason adjusters fight so hard is because if you prove that the injections were related to the car accident, the insurance company is responsible for paying for any lost wages; your past and future medical bills; suffering, pain, and inconvenience.

Evaluating Your Claim

When talking with your auto accident attorney, you need to be honest about any prior medical history or treatment. As your prior medical history has a big impact on the value of your case. The truth is, a nerve root injection case with a client that has never been seen by a doctor for related problems will have a higher case value than a client who has been constantly seen by doctors for these problems.

Nerve root injections are hard to evaluate for another reason: injections, in general, are used for therapeutic reasons to relieve pain. They do not cure the condition, due to this it is important to your claim that you obtain in writing from your doctor: 

  1.  A medical opinion that your current medical condition is a result of your auto accident
  2.  The prognosis is your condition is likely to be permanent
  3.  An estimation of future cost that includes: costs of injections, physical therapy, and other medical costs

There is no prescribed way to calculate a settlement for auto accident cases, as there are a lot of different factors that play into the settlement. If you’ve been in an automobile accident and received nerve root injections, you might be considering whether or not you need a lawyer. In our opinion, you will need a lawyer to settle your nerve root injection case. These cases are complicated from both a medical and legal perspective. It can be very difficult for a person with no legal experience to obtain the proper narrative report from their doctor to get the money they need from the insurance company.

Brian Glass
Virginia personal injury lawyer selected to SuperLawyers Rising Stars List and the NTLA's Top 40 Under 40.