Neurological injuries cause trauma to the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of nerve damage next to assault, falling accidents, and sports accidents.
Any type and degree of neurological injury is scary because it can change a person’s entire life. All it takes is a minor accident to sustain potentially life-long damages. The effects can debilitate a person after a car accident.
Nerves can get stretched, torn, or severed during a high-impact collision that causes severe injury. If your nerves get damaged in a car accident, that can result in neurological damage. Common examples of injuries that lead to neurological damage include neck injuries that pinch or stretch nerves, deep lacerations, and blunt force trauma, which can compress nerves.
There are two specific neurological conditions that can result from car accident injuries: neuropathy and radiculopathy. We will discuss both conditions, symptoms of neurological damage, and what to do if you sustain such injuries in a Denver car accident.
How Do You Treat Neurological Injuries After A Car Accident?
Treating nerve damage might require surgery, prescription medication and physical therapy. Your specific treatment plant will depend on the type of nerve damage you suffered. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you might nerve damage:
- Paralysis of any limbs
- Partial or complete
- Paralysis of appendages
- Partial or complete
- Muscle pain
- Muscle twitching
- Uncontrollable movements
- Sensation of pricklies
- Sensitivity to hot and cold, more than usual
Neuropathy: Damage to the Peripheral Nervous System
Neuropathy is any damage to the peripheral nervous system, rather than the central nervous system. It’s most commonly caused by physical trauma that serves a nerve to partially or fully. Neuropathy also entails nerve damage caused by compressing, crushing, or stretching nerves.
For example, a broken bone can put a dangerous amount of pressure on nerves causing nerve damage. Another example of an injury that can lead to neuropathy is a slipped disc; a slipped disc can compress the nerve fibers surrounding the spine and result in nerve damage.
Radiculopathy: Damage to Nerve Roots
Radiculopathy is commonly referred to as pinched nerves. Such a condition results from irritated or compressed nerves at the root of the nerve, where they exit the spinal column. Rather than a specific injury, radiculopathy is used to refer to a range of symptoms that happen after a spinal column nerve gets pinched.
Symptoms of radiculopathy include numbness, tingling, and pain at the site of the pinched nerve. It most often occurs in the following areas:
- Lower back (lumbar radiculopathy)
- Neck area (cervical radiculopathy)
- Spine (thoracic radiculopathy), which is the most debilitating type
Car accident trauma can cause damage to the spinal discs, ligaments, and muscles, resulting in radiculopathy between the neck to lower back.
TBIs Are A Common Cause of Neurological Damage
Traumatic brain injuries from car accident trauma can lead to nerve damage as well. If the crash impact injures the victim’s nerves at the base of the skull, they may end up with cranial nerve damage. Such types of TBI can cause problems with normal brain functioning like thinking, understanding, movement, communication, and their actions.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Nearly half of all TBIs in the US are caused by car accidents. They are most often caused by violent blows to the head, an object penetrating the skull, which are both very real possibilities in a car accident.
TBIs are a complex brain injury that have a broad range of symptoms. Every injury case is unique and there are no two cases of injury that are exactly alike. As such, everyone’s resulting disability or impairment will be unique depending on your injury circumstances.
While some people may experience symptoms immediately, others might not see symptoms until days or even weeks later. Mild brain trauma can cause temporary dysfunction in the brain while more severe trauma can cause long-term damages or disability. The most severe cases of traumatic brain injury can lead to death.
The most common way people sustain TBIs in car accidents is by hitting their head on the dashboard, steering wheel, or flying object, glass, or other debris hitting the head. A serious jerking motion that causes the neck to snap back and forth can also be strong enough to cause neurological damage. In a very intense collision, the impact of the crash can be dangerous for the brain. With the intense force, the brain hits the skull and gets bruised or torn. This can result in not only neurological damage but brain bleeding as well.
Two Different Types of Brain Injuries
- Open Brain Injury – an open brain injury involves a fractured skull and an object penetrating the head and brain.
- Closed Brain Injury – a closed brain injury is a non-penetrating injury but can still cause blood clots or swelling, which can be deadly if left untreated.
Both open and closed injuries can cause neurological damage and result in side effects like unconsciousness, paralysis or death.
Common Brain Injuries That Result From Car Accidents
The most common injury sustained by car accident victims is a concussion. Concussions are linked to long-term neurological disorders including problems with memory and vision. If the injury is severe enough, it can cause long-term disability or brain swelling that causes intracranial pressure, eventually leading to death.
How Do I Know if I Need to Get Medical Treatment for Neurological Injuries?
Any accident injury victim who sustained trauma or injury to the head, neck, or spine should get medical attention right away. It’s impossible to know whether someone has suffered a neurological injury without proper medical testing. If you experience any of the following symptoms, get medical attention ASAP:
- Difficulty with your memories
- Experiencing severe headaches
- Uncontrollable fatigue
- Numbness or weakness anywhere on the body, especially if it’s only on one side
These may be signs of a traumatic brain injury or some other neurological injury. The best way to prevent further damage or long-term complications is to get prompt medical care and rule out brain or neurological damage.
What Are the Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Any trauma to the brain, spinal cord, or nerves has the potential to be life-altering or debilitating. The CDC reports that about 30% of all injury-related deaths are caused by traumatic brain injuries. In addition to cognitive and motor difficulties, TBI or neurological injury victims will face emotional challenges and may face vision or hearing difficulties as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic. TBI and other forms of neurological damage can have a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Losing consciousness anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes
- Feeling confused or disoriented
- Feeling tired
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Vision changes
- Ringing in the ears
- Extra sensitivity to light and sounds
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
- Memory and concentration problems
More severe neurological injuries might present further symptoms like:
- Comatose state
- Persistent headaches that gradually worsen
- Persistent Vomiting and nausea
- Dilated pupils
- Fluid coming out of nose or ears
- Severe disorientation or confusion
- Unusual behavior
Do I Need to See a Neurologist After a Car Accident?
Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents often cause head and neurological injuries. Therefore, it’s vital to seek medical treatment from the correct specialists afterwards. If you hit your head, experienced a concussion, or injured your neck or back in the accident, it’s especially important to see a neurologist.
Brain injuries and neurological damage are impossible to see with the naked eye sometimes. But, a neurologist is a doctor who specializes in testing and treating injuries of the brain and spinal cord. If you have any injury that is compromising your nervous system, a neurologist will be able to diagnose and treat you.
Neurologists are medical specialists who know the appropriate testing and imaging to ensure they detect your injuries and prescribe the correct treatment plan. For example, if they suspect you have a brain injury, they might order an electroencephalograph (EEG) test to assess your brain function.
Once they run all the necessary testing, they will devise a plan to treat you accordingly. Seeing a neurologist is the surest way to prevent long-term impairments due to head or spine trauma.
Recovering From Neurological Injuries After a Denver Car Accident
Car accident victims who experience neurological injury might experience anything from lost mobility to memory problems and trouble regulating emotions. While the aftermath of such injuries is often difficult and time-consuming, there are resources and steps that injury victims can use to help them recover.
Keeping a Journal
This might be especially beneficial for head injury or neurological injury victims. That’s because a journal will reflect any cognitive changes and serve as a solid form of evidence of your symptoms. You’ll want to keep a detailed record of any symptoms you experience and any diagnoses and treatment your doctor recommended. All of this will serve as evidence for your claim.
Getting Immediate Medical Attention
No matter how minor you believe your injuries to be, get immediate medical attention. Sometimes injury symptoms don’t show up until later, or until it’s too late. To prevent any worsening of injuries or permanent damage, get medical attention right away.
Additionally, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders to avoid chances of a secondary injury and increase your odds of a full recovery.
Being Smart in Your Communications With the Insurance Company
It’s best to let your attorney handle communications with the insurance company, or consult your attorney before talking to them. They usually try to offer a quick lowball offer to pay you and send you on your way. But unfortunately, their initial offer is usually not what you deserve. Work with an attorney to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible for all of your losses.
Your attorney will also help you obtain evidence such as medical records, police reports, and witness testimonies to support your claim.
Contact an Knowledgeable Denver Car Accident Lawyer
If you suffered any type of neurological damage or nerve damage from a car accident, you are probably experiencing debilitating symptoms. You deserve to seek rightful compensation for your medical bills and more. Our legal team is here to help you recover financially and for other damages like lost income and emotional pain and suffering.
Call us today for a free initial consultation. We will assess your case and find out how we can help you.