About 3% of trauma patients sustain a peripheral nerve injury. In fact, the most common cause of peripheral nerve injury is car accidents (46%). Motorcycle accidents account for another 9.9%. (Alwalaa Althagafi, Acute Nerve Injury).
If you have been in a car accident, it’s important to know that nerve damage is a possibility – and it may also be the basis for financial compensation. Potential injuries should receive medical attention to prevent additional harm, promote healing, and document injuries for the purpose of claiming financial compensation.
Is Nerve Damage Possible From a Car Accident?
Compression trauma, overstretching, or a laceration from a car accident can harm the nerves and prevent normal function. Symptoms may include impaired feeling and movement.
About the nerves
Nerves are cells that relay information throughout the body. These impulses communicate feelings and sensations. They also regulate basic bodily functions like breathing, digestion, and heartbeats.
The central nervous system is the brain and spinal cord. It is protected by bone, membranes, and cerebrospinal fluid. The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that send messages throughout the body. Nerves are sensory, to help you with sight, smell, touch, and taste, or they are motor related, for bodily function and movement.
Nerve damage is harm that prevents normal nerve functioning. Signals to and from the body no longer reach their destination, interfering with bodily movement and processes.
Types of Nerve Damage
Nerve damage may fall into three categories:
- Avulsion: A complete tearing of the nerve from the spinal cord roots. With prompt reimplantation treatment, some motor function may be restored. Sensory restoration is unlikely through reimplantation following avulsion nerve damage.
- Stretching: Stretching nerve injury occurs when the nerves are stretched without a complete tear or break. Being pulled in an abnormal way or with high force can cause stretching nerve injury. The elasticity of the nerve is overwhelmed by trauma.
- Rupture: When the nerve pulls to the point of breaking, it is a ruptured nerve injury. A rupture severs the ability to transfer signals from two points in the body.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Types of Nerve Damage, Carlstedt, New Treatments for Spinal Nerve Root Avulsion Injury
Degrees of nerve damage
While all nerve damage is serious, nerve injuries are classified by degree. First degree is the least serious. Fifth degree is the most serious.
- First degree: A block of conduction at the location of the injury. It is generally considered reversible, with recovery in hours or weeks without surgical intervention.
- Second degree: Disruption of the axon occurs, but surgery is generally not required.
- Third degree: Damage extends to supporting structures as well as the nerve itself. Medical intervention is necessary and may range from minor cleaning to grafting.
- Fourth degree: Significant damage to the nerve and its supporting structures may result in scars. These scars may prevent regeneration. Surgery is required.
- Fifth degree: A complete tear of the nerve into two segments. Damage cannot heal without surgery.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage After a Car Accident
- Loss of feeling, a prickly or numb feeling
- Radiating or throbbing pain
- Weak muscles, muscle spasms
- Poor balance
- Poor reflexes
- Trouble moving
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty sleeping
Know that these symptoms may be masked in the immediate shock of being in an accident. Seek medical attention if there is any possibility that you are injured.
Settlements for Car Accident Nerve Damage
While it may not produce disfigurement that is visible to another person, nerve damage is a very real car accident injury. It can significantly interfere with a person’s life and long-term prognosis. A victim may receive a settlement for their nerve damage.
Florida uses a no-fault system for car accidents, but there are significant exceptions. A nerve injury may be a qualifying injury based on its severity, permanence, or impact on the victim’s life. To receive a settlement, you must bring a claim and seek an appropriate amount for your damages.
Damages for Nerve Injuries in a Car Accident
Nerve damage can be debilitating. Nerve injuries are associated with disability and high morbidity. They result in lifestyle changes, limitations, and adjustments. Damages may include:
- Medical diagnostics
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Other medical expenses
- Lost income, in the short term and long term
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Permanent loss of mobility and scars
- Damage to lifestyle
Broken bones often accompany nerve injuries. A victim’s injuries should be considered in total in a claim for damages. Compensation for a victim is proportional to their own injuries. The amount a victim receives may depend on other factors like the strength of the legal case and insurance policies that may provide compensation.
Ask About Compensation for Car Accident Nerve Damage
If you have suffered nerve damage in a car accident, we invite you to talk to a lawyer at Eltringham Law Group. Nerve damage is a common car accident injury, and you may deserve compensation. Reach out to a Florida car accident lawyer to discuss your case and begin today.