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Sciatica Nerve Damage From Car Accident: Here’s What To Know

January 6, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Sciatica Nerve Damage From Car Accident: Here's What To Know

When you have suffered sciatica nerve damage from a car accident, you may be able to recover pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault driver and No-Fault benefits from your own auto insurance company to pay for medical bills and lost wages if your injury disables you from working.

Causation is usually an issue in cases involving back pain. Insurance company adjusters and defense lawyers like to say these are old injuries. It is important to remember that sciatica nerve damage from a car accident could be the result of a new injury caused by the automobile crash – such as pain caused by a herniated or bulging disc – or it could be the result of the automobile crash aggravating and exacerbating an older asymptomatic back injury or pre-existing condition. Either way, whether a negligent at-fault driver caused a new injury or caused a traumatic activation of a pre-existing condition, that driver is still responsible for injuries caused by an auto accident.

What is sciatica nerve damage from a car accident?

Sciatica nerve damage from a car accident occurs when the trauma of a crash damages, compresses, pinches, irritates or inflames a person’s sciatic nerve, resulting in pain that travels the path of the sciatic nerve from the person’s lower back and down through his or her buttocks, legs and feet.

Can a car accident cause sciatica pain?

A car accident can cause sciatica pain. An automobile crash can cause a new back injury, such as a herniated disc or bulging disc, to press on the nerve and cause back pain. A trauma can also cause an aggravation of an existing condition. This is most frequently seen in automobile crashes as a traumatic activation of pre-existing asymptomatic degenerative disc disease. In either event, a new injury or aggravation of a pre-existing condition can affect the sciatic nerve, resulting in back pain.

This type of back injury can also happen if the crash causes a person to suffer a broken bone or fracture and a bone fragment either damages or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Pain and suffering compensation

You may be able to sue the at-fault driver who caused your sciatica nerve damage from a car accident for pain and suffering compensation for your back injury. To bring a lawsuit, you will need to prove both that the at-fault driver was negligent in causing the car accident and that your injuries were caused from this car accident.

“Serious impairment of body function” is the legal threshold under Michigan’s No-Fault auto law for pain and suffering compensation, which is also referred to as the threshold test that someone injured in a car accident must first meet in order to recover “noneconomic loss” damages.

In a car accident lawsuit you may also be able to sue the at-fault driver for economic loss damages, such as excess and future medical bills and for wage loss.

Average payout for sciatica nerve damage after a car accident

There is no reliable database about the average payout for sciatica nerve damage from a car accident. The payout settlement factors will include: (1) the nature and extent of your pain, impairments, and disability due to your injury; (2) the amount of treatment you have received and the amount of your medical bills and lost wages; (3) your lawyer’s track record and reputation; and (5) the at-fault driver’s liability insurance limits.

Your choice of an auto accident attorney is always a factor that insurance companies will consider in determining the amount of a settlement payout for this type of injury or for any other injury. Insurance companies track attorneys. They know who the attorneys are that actually go to trial and who the attorneys are that avoid trial and are known to “settle short.” In general, a more experienced attorney with a proven record of success can often settle a case not only faster, but also for significantly more money because an attorney’s reputation is always one of the key factors that insurers evaluate in settling injury claims.

To learn more about what the payout for your injury may be in your case, please check our “Settlement Calculator.”

No-Fault benefits for sciatica nerve damage from car accident

You are entitled to recover No-Fault benefits for sciatica nerve damage from a car accident to help pay for your medical bills and lost wages if your automobile crash-related injuries and disabilities have prevented you from returning to work.

Your No-Fault benefits will also help you pay for household replacement services, transportation costs for going to and from doctor appointments and for your attendant care.

To start receiving No-Fault benefits, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called your “written notice of injury” – with the responsible car insurance company within one (1) year after your crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))

The ONE YEAR filing deadline is very important because if your application for No-Fault benefits is not filed on time within one year after your auto accident, then you will lose the right to receive benefits and you will be barred from making a claim and/or filing a lawsuit for benefits.

Generally, the responsible auto insurance company with whom you will file your application is your auto insurance company or the insurer for your spouse or a relative who lives in your home. If none of those are options for you, then you will need to apply for No-Fault benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. (MCL 500.3114(1) and (4))


If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of sciatica nerve damage from a car accident, then seek immediate medical attention: (1) pain radiating from your lower back down into your buttocks, legs and fee; (2) numbness in those areas; (3) a “pins and needles” sensation; and (4) restriction or loss of movement.

Testing and Diagnosis

To test for and diagnose this type of back injury, your doctor will conduct a physical examination and likely refer you to a specialist for one or more of the following forms of diagnostic imaging tests: (1) X-rays; (2) CT scans; (3) MRIs; (4) EMGs; (5) SPECT; and/or (6) Myelography.

The purpose of the diagnostic testing to identify the injury or aggravated medical condition that is causing your back pain.


When conservative treatment such as physical therapy and pain medication is unable to fully treat this type of back injury, a crash victim may have to undergo surgery to remove pressure or impingement on the sciatic nerve.

Have you suffered sciatica nerve damage from a car accident? Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation

If you have suffered sciatica nerve damage from a car accident and you have questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 968-1001  for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. You can also get help by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

Sciatica Nerve Damage From Car Accident: Here\'s What To Know

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