What Do You Need To Know About Car Accident Nerve Damage?

A person massaging their injured wrist

When people think about a car accident, motorcycle accident, or even a slip and fall accident, they think about injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and lacerations. However, there are many other ways a person can be injured in an accident. One injury that you may not think about, but can cause serious and permanent damage, is nerve damage.

The Types of Nerves in Our Body

There are three types of nerves in our body. Our nerves are responsible for sending electrical impulses throughout our body. Without our nerves, our body would not function properly; therefore, when our nerves are damaged, the functions the nerves control are damaged. Nerve damage can occur in the spinal cord, brain, and anywhere on the surface of our body.

The three types of nerves are:

  • Motor Nerves - Motor nerves are what allow us to move. Motor nerves send impulse from the brain throughout our body allowing us to pick up objects, run, walk, sit, stand, etc. Damage to the motor nerves can cause problems with mobility, cramps, muscle weakness, and spasms.
  • Sensory Nerves - Sensory nerves work in the other direction. Sensory nerves send impulses from muscles to the spinal cord and brain. This allows us to know when something we are touching is hot, cold, hard, or soft. Sensory nerves also tell our brain that our body is still in motion. Damage to the sensory nerves can result in chronic pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, tingling, and numbness.
  • Autonomic Nerves - Autonomic nerves control functions such as digestions, blood pressure, heart rate, and other involuntary bodily functions. Damage to the autonomic nerves can result in problems with these functions causing the person to suffer from a variety of conditions.

Common Causes of Nerve Damage After Car Accidents

Whiplash is often the first type of injury that someone thinks of in relation to car accident injuries. The sudden and forceful stop of a car can whiplash, stretching and pinching nerves around the head and neck. Whiplash can cause a pinched nerve, something that happens when too much pressure is applied to a nerve and disrupts its functionality. A pinched nerve can resolve on its own or might last because of pressure from a car accident injury. Another cause of car accident nerve damage are lacerations. When cuts are severe enough, nerves can be damaged or severed.

Common locations of nerve damage after an accident include the following:

  • Lower back
  • Middle back
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Feet

Injuries that can cause nerve damage are not always visibly obvious as with lacerations. When a car accident exerts significant force on a person’s body, they might experience blunt-force trauma. Blunt-force trauma can cause nerve damage by stretching or compressing nerves in the region of the injury.

Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Because you cannot "see" nerve damage, most people are unaware they have suffered nerve damage in an accident until they experience symptoms. Symptoms of nerve damage include but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with sweating
  • Dry eyes
  • Chronic pain
  • Paralysis
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Difficulty controlling bodily functions or the body in general
  • Atrophy of the muscles

If you have been injured in a personal injury accident and you are experiencing symptoms you cannot explain, you should immediately contact your physician. Your physician can run tests to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are a result of nerve damage from the accident.

How Much Compensation Is Possible After Nerve Damage?

There are two kinds of compensation you may be eligible for if you've suffered nerve damage in an accident: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Claims for economic damages straightforwardly answer the question, "how much financial loss did the nerve damage cause?" Financial losses include loss of time at work due to nerve damage, medical costs and rehabilitation caused by nerve damage, and even loss of long-term earning ability due to nerve damage. For instance, if you are in a high-paying position that requires precise movements, then nerve damage might rob you of your entire career. This would be covered in your claim for economic damages.

Noneconomic damages include emotional losses caused by your nerve damage. This could include loss of your ability to be intimate with your spouse, play with your children, live independently, live without dependence on pain medication, and other damages. Noneconomic damages are rarely claimed except in cases of life-changing, catastrophic injuries, like paralysis or sexual dysfunction.

To know exactly how much in compensation you could be entitled to will require us to understand the specific details of your case. Speak with our firm today to discuss your case for free!

Because nerve damage can result in serious and permanent injuries, insurance companies aggressively fight against personal injury claims involving nerve damage. Pennsylvania personal injury laws permit accident victims to recover financial compensation for their damages including physical and emotional damages. If you have been injured because of another person's reckless, careless, or negligent actions, you need to consult with a personal injury attorney.

Neuropathy Diagnosis After an Accident

One of the most important steps in receiving compensation for nerve damage is a neuropathy diagnosis from a doctor. Neuropathy describes weakness, numbness, and pain associated with nerve damage. A doctor will provide a neuropathy diagnosis after a variety of tests designed to locate the specific location of a person’s nerve damage. Once the doctor believes they know where the nerve damage occurred, they’ll conduct localized tests including electromyography, nerve biopsy, skin biopsy, and conduction studies.

A neuropathy diagnosis will help with more than the treatment of nerve damage. It will also help a patient understand how much they’ll be able to recover and what treatment they’ll require. From here, it’s possible to better understand how much compensation a person needs during their personal injury claim.

Why Should You Hire an Injury Lawyer After an Accident?

It is never in your best interest to settle a car accident claim without an injury attorney. Insurance companies will try to settle for a lower amount than your claim is worth, and they have multiple techniques to frustrate you into accepting their low-ball offer. An experienced Harrisburg accident attorney at Handler Henning & Rosenberg will not stand for their tactics, we can value your claim more accurately to ensure you receive the maximum compensation allowable by law.

Contact the experienced Harrisburg accident attorneys of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg for a free consultation at (888) 498-3023. Our attorneys are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve after sustaining nerve damage caused by someone else. 

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