Nerve damage from a car crash can range from mild to severe. Some victims deal with chronic pain while others suffer permanent paralysis.
Below, our experienced law firm discusses the common types of nerve damage that can occur in auto accidents, including common symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and how to include nerve damage in a claim for compensation.
If you are unsure of what to do about the nerve damage you suffered in a car crash, Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg-based car accident attorneys are here to help. Our firm has obtained more than $100 million on behalf of our clients, and there are no upfront costs for our services.
Give us a call. We are ready to help you. Phone: (717) 727-2550.
Types of Nerves and Their Function
There are three main types of nerves:
- Motor nerves: Your motor nerves control motor functions like walking, standing and grabbing.
- Sensory nerves: Sensory nerves allow you feel how hot, cold, hard or soft something is. When these nerves are damaged, victims experience numbness and/or tingling.
- Autonomic nerves: These are nerves that control involuntary bodily functions, such as your heart, lungs and digestive system.
Types of Nerve Damage From a Pennsylvania Crash
Car crash nerve damage is often the result of being jolted around during the collision. The forces that your body experiences can cause various injuries that result in nerve damage.
These are some common examples of nerve damage that may be caused by a Pennsylvania collision:
Your back is particularly vulnerable to injury in an auto accident. You could experience blunt force trauma, or sudden, violent twisting that ruptures the discs in your vertebrae. When a spinal disc ruptures, it can compress the nearby nerves. This can cause pain in your back and in your extremities.
Pinched nerves are often a result of tensing up just before impact. Pinched nerve injuries can range in severity. Sometimes the issue resolves itself in a matter of weeks, while other times the damaged nerve can cause severe inflammation. Victims may deal with chronic pain for a significant amount of time after the crash.
Whiplash Nerve Damage
When your car collides with another, your head and neck are likely to jerk forward before your seat belt and airbag stop your forward momentum. However, stopping your forward momentum can be incredibly traumatic to the soft tissues in your neck, shoulders and upper back. This can also stretch or tear the nerves in your neck, causing significant pain.
Secondary Nerve Injury
A broken bone or internal injury suffered in a car crash can be accompanied by nerve damage. Blunt force trauma or getting violently moved around during impact can stretch or squeeze nerves in various areas of the body.
This is a term for inflammation of the spinal cord or spinal nerves. Sometimes this is a completely debilitating injury.
Three Categories of Nerve Injury
Nerve injuries can be divided into three categories:
This is an injury the disrupts the flow of blood to nerves. This is often what happens when a crash victim suffers whiplash.
This is another word for crushed nerves. These injuries are often the result of blunt force trauma. Sometimes the nerve damage the victim suffers is permanent, but some people are able to make a full recovery.
This is the most severe nerve injury, as the nerves are crushed or lacerated. Full recovery from this injury is almost always impossible. It may be possible to regain some lost mobility and feeling in the affected area.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Nerve Damage?
Numbness or paralysis are the telltale symptoms of a nerve injury. However, there are many other symptoms that may accompany a nerve injury. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. Each injury is different, but immediate treatment may lower the risk of chronic problems from nerve damage.
Some of the symptoms that may accompany a nerve damage injury:
- Weakness in your muscles
- Spasming muscles
- Struggling with balance
- Chronic pain in your head or neck
- Twitching muscles
- Impaired reflexes
- Shooting pain in your leg
- Burning sensation
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Increased sensitivity to touch or temperature
How is Nerve Damage Diagnosed and Treated?
When a patient reports or exhibits symptoms of nerve damage, doctors do a physical examination to evaluate:
- Muscle strength, such as the ability to hold something in your hand
- Range of motion
- Measuring your pulse on different parts of your body
Doctors are likely to run other tests to determine a more detailed diagnosis of the nerve injury. This may include an electromyography test to measure nerve function, nerve conduction study to determine how nerves respond to stimulation, and an MRI or CT scan to identify internal injuries that may be causing nerve problems. Doctors might order nerve or skin biopsies.
Treatment recommendations depend on the type and severity of the nerve injury. For example, nerve damage from whiplash often resolves itself in about two months. However, the effects of a crushed nerve are often permanent for many victims. Doctors are likely to prescribe physical therapy to help regain strength and mobility in the affected area. Electrical stimulation may help to regrow nerves. It may also be possible to perform surgery to repair the damage.
Compensation For Nerve Damage From a Car Crash
As Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, you can seek compensation for medical costs from your own car insurance policy, no matter who is at fault for the accident.
Victims may be eligible to seek significant compensation for treatment of a nerve injury, as recovery may take a long time. Some victims will never fully recover and will need compensation to help them manage their symptoms.
Here are examples of some of the damages you may be able to include in an injury claim:
- Surgery, such as surgery after suffering a fractured spinal cord
- Physical therapy
- Medical testing
- Follow-up appointments
- Prescription medication for pain management
- And more
Your lawyer may be able to seek many other forms of compensation for a long-term nerve injury, such as:
- Modifications to your home or vehicle because you are no longer able to walk
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- And much more
Including Nerve Damage in a Compensation Claim
You are going to need strong evidence to recover compensation in an insurance claim or lawsuit for a car accident injury. This includes a detailed diagnosis from your doctor. It is vital that you relay all your symptoms to your doctor in your first appointment and subsequent appointments. If new symptoms appear, or old symptoms get worse, make sure to inform your doctor.
Following your doctor’s treatment plan is also critical. You need to show that you are doing what you can to mitigate your injuries. This also shows you are taking the situation seriously, which bolsters your credibility. Insurance companies are looking for any reason to claim your injuries are no big deal, and stopping treatment makes it easier for them to make this argument.
Your lawyer may also recommend keeping a daily journal in which you describe how your injury affects you each day. You can describe the pain and limited mobility and how it makes it difficult to do the things you used to do.
Contact Schmidt Kramer Today For Answers to Your Legal Questions
Do have legal questions after suffering an injury in a Pennsylvania car accident?
Contacting an experienced lawyer can be an important step after suffering a car crash injury. Victims often have many questions that a lawyer can answer. An experienced lawyer may also be able to represent you and fight for full compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Schmidt Kramer has been obtaining favorable results for clients for decades, and there are no upfront fees with our services.
Call us to learn more: (717) 727-2550. We are here to help.