While a car accident occurs in a split second, the outcome can affect victims for a lifetime. Car accident victims often suffer varying degrees of injuries from serious collisions. One example of a severe injury from a crash is nerve damage.
There are more than 100 types of nerve damage, ranging from mild to severe. Despite the severity level, it can almost always result in overwhelming medical expenses and pain and suffering. So whether you’ve suffered a pinched nerve or radiculopathy, you deserve justice.
What are Nerve Damage Injuries?
Nerves are an essential part of our nervous system. They compromise a wide-ranging network involved in all of your body functions. Nerves are responsible for thousands of roles, from regulating breathing to controlling muscles and temperature perception.
The three different types of nerves in our bodies are:
- Autonomic Nerves – these nerves control our involuntary and partially voluntary activities. Examples include regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Motor Nerves – motor nerves control movement by sending signals from our brain and spinal cord to the muscles.
- Sensory Nerves – sensory nerves control pain and other sensations. They relay information from the skin and muscles to the brain and spinal cord.
When we experience trauma that stretches, compresses, crushes, or pinches a nerve, the result is nerve damage. Such injuries can interfere with our ability to function properly or execute daily activities. Any nerve damage can significantly reduce your quality of life if it causes pain, discomfort, or otherwise interferes with your ability to live normally.
Degrees of Nerve Damage Injuries
Nerve damage refers to a broad category of nerve injuries. Virtually any type of trauma can affect nerves. For personal injury cases, the easiest way to quantify nerve damage is by the level of injury severity.
The three levels of severity for nerve damage are as follows:
1. Neurapraxia – the lowest level of nerve injury is Neurapraxia. It’s an injury to your peripheral nerves. Since it’s a mild nerve injury, it can typically heal on its own with rest and time.
2. Axonotmesis – this is a group of more serious nerve injuries. Your nerves stretch and get damaged. The result is long-term or permanent paralysis of certain sensory and motor functions.
3. Neurotmesis – the most severe type of nerve damage injury. This is when the nerve gets completely severed. The result is permanent damage.
The degree of nerve damage severity you experience will impact your symptoms, pain, and recovery time.
Symptoms of a Nerve Damage Injury
There are more than 100 different types of nerve damage. In addition, different types of nerve damage will produce various symptoms.
If you have autonomic nerve damage, you may experience these symptoms:
- An inability to feel chest pain
- Hyperhidrosis or anhidrosis
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Bladder problems
- Sexual dysfunction
Damage to the motor nerves could produce symptoms like:
- Muscular atrophy
Sensory nerve damage can present symptoms such as:
- Sensitivity to touch
- Tingling sensations
- Lack of positional awareness
Sometimes people can have symptoms indicating multiple types of nerve damage. For example, you might experience pain and weakness in your legs with lightheadedness at the same time.
Causes of Nerve Damage After a Car Accident
The force of an impact during a car collision can cause damage to virtually any part of your body. Car accidents can also cause nerve damage.
When accident victims’ bodies get thrown against the vehicle’s steering wheel, dashboard, door, or windshield, they can suffer severe injuries. Sometimes, a person sustains a different injury that causes secondary nerve damage, like a bone injury.
Drivers and passengers often experience nerve damage in their arms, legs, feet, shoulders, hands, and face. The location of the damage will depend on how they suffered the injuries.
Here are some common car accident injuries that cause nerve damage:
Nerve Damage From Back Injuries
Back injuries and nerve damage are among the most common auto accident duos. Damage to the spinal cord can cause profound nerve damage.
The spine comprises small bones, tissues, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. The bones and soft tissues protect the spinal cord.
The spinal cord nerves relay messages between the brain and the rest of the body. During an accident, the force of an impact can cause injury to the delicate spinal parts. The result can be damage to the surrounding nerves. For example, a bulging or herniated disc can cause a pinched nerve.
Severe back trauma can cause spinal cord damage, which can cause permanent damage. The damages can range from paralysis to incontinence, or other chronic conditions.
Nerve Damage From Neck Injuries
When a crash happens, a person’s head can rapidly snap back and forth, causing whiplash. Whiplash is a type of neck sprain caused when the soft tissue of the neck stretches or tears. The forceful jerking motion of the head and neck that causes whiplash can also cause nerve damage. If the whiplash is bad enough, it can cause a painful shoulder injury.
Nerve Damage From Blunt-Force Trauma
Blunt force or non-penetrating trauma is an injury from a forceful impact, like an automobile collision. For example, slamming against a hard surface like the door or dashboard in a car accident will cause blunt-force trauma—one of the most severe blunt-force trauma results from a passenger getting ejected from the car.
Hitting the head or other extremities so hard on a surface can compress the nerves in that area. For example, a blow to the head could cause swelling and compress cranial nerves, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Nerve Damage From Lacerations
Sometimes car accident victims suffer lacerations. Lacerations are any cut in the skin with jagged edges. A deep laceration can sever nerves in that area and cause nerve damage.
Avulsions are a severe form of laceration and result from a sharp object cutting the skin at an angle. Avulsions usually are deep cuts with the skin forming a flap around the puncture. Additionally, avulsions commonly involve separating a bone from a tendon or ligament. This separation can lead to acute nerve damage.
Seek Legal Advice from a Denver Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered nerve damage injuries in a car accident caused by someone else, you might want to seek professional legal aid.
We can help you seek full compensation and hold the negligent parties accountable. You may be entitled to recover for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation, or call (720) 500-HURT.