Car Accident Nerve Damage: What You Need to Know

man with back pain, Car Accident Nerve Damage What You Need to Know

You most likely know that car accidents often result in a variety of injuries, ranging from minor to severe or even life-threatening. Some of the most common injuries include broken bones, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cuts and bruises, and more. What you may not consider, however, is nerve damage and pain that may occur after a collision.

There are about 7 trillion nerves throughout the human body. When an impact occurs, any one of these nerves may become pinched, stretched, torn, or otherwise damaged. Because nerves are responsible for sending signals to the brain, including signals for pain, these types of injuries can cause long-term (and possibly lifelong) problems, including chronic pain.

Unfortunately, nerve pain is often overlooked after a car accident, which may cause some injured parties to not seek medical attention for their symptoms. In addition, because some nerve pain or damage cannot be proven empirically, it may be more difficult to seek compensation for these injuries.

At Scholle Law, our Duluth car accident lawyers understand how debilitating nerve damage can be. Even if the injury does not result in paralysis or loss of function, the pain alone can be nearly unbearable. Our attorneys are here to help you get the full compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and other losses.

Give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team is here 24/7 to discuss your case.

Common Injuries Resulting in Nerve Damage after a Car Accident

Whether you were involved in a minor fender bender or you were T-boned at high speed, there is always the risk of suffering from nerve pain or damage after a collision. Some of the most common injuries resulting in nerve pain after a wreck include:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the head suddenly jolts forward then back, resulting in neck trauma. While whiplash typically affects the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue in the neck, it can also damage your nerves.
  • Impact to the spine: If your back or spine is impacted in the wreck, your nerves may become pinched or compressed, resulting in pain, weakness, tingling, and/or numbness. You may have experienced this type of injury, called radiculopathy, in the form of sciatica.
  • Herniated disk: A herniated disk occurs when one of the rubbery disks between vertebrae is damaged. This can pinch or otherwise impact a spinal cord nerve, resulting in weakness, tingling, numbness, pain, and/or paralysis. While herniated disks may heal on their own, surgical intervention may be required.
  • Secondary nerve injuries: Between broken bones, internal injuries, and other common injuries after a car wreck, nerves throughout the body can be damaged. They may sever in an open wound or may be stretched or squeezed by the impact.

Types of Nerve Damage

Common Injuries Resulting in Nerve Damage after a Car Accident infographic

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You have almost certainly experienced some kind of nerve pain in your life. For instance, you may have pinched a nerve while playing sports or developed a “crick in your neck” from sleeping in an odd position. Luckily, these types of nerve injuries are typically minor and can be resolved with applying heat, massaging the affected area, stretching, and simply waiting for the nerves and surrounding muscles to relax again.

After a car accident, however, nerve damage may be more severe. The impact of the collision can tear, stretch, or otherwise seriously injure your nerves. These types of injuries are commonly classified into three basic types, which can be further divided by their severity, ranging from first to fifth degree:

  • Neurapraxia: The mildest form of nerve damage, neurapraxia occurs when your nerve is stretched or compressed. It typically resolves itself in a few days to a few months with rest, massage, ice, and other at-home treatments.
  • Axonotmesis: This type of nerve damage is classified by damage to the axons (which sends messages to other nerves) and their myelin sheath (axons’ protective covering). While physical or occupational therapy is often required, full recovery within six months to a year is common.
  • Neurotmesis: The most severe type of nerve damage, neurotmesis occurs when the nerve is completely severed. These injuries typically occur after a violent, open injury. While immediate surgical intervention can help the victim partially recover, complete recovery is highly unlikely.

Symptoms of Nerve Damage

After a wreck, you may feel all sorts of pain from your injuries. As such, it can be difficult to identify nerve damage in areas that suffered other injuries, such as broken bones. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Numbness in the hands, feet, arms and/or legs
  • Throbbing, burning, or jabbing pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Heightened sensitivity to touch and/or temperature
  • Unexplained pain during activities that should be painless, like sleeping
  • Paralysis and/or lack of coordination, including falling
  • Inability to sweat or excessive sweating
  • Digestive problems
  • Sudden drops in blood pressure

While some of these symptoms may be caused by other injuries from your car wreck, they can also point to nerve damage. Regardless of the actual cause, it is important to seek medical attention immediately if you do experience these symptoms. Nerve pain should be evaluated and treated as quickly as possible to lessen the risk of permanent damage.

Get the Help You Need after a Car Accident Resulting in Nerve Damage

Car accident nerve damage can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. As such, it is crucial you seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms. Delaying treatment could result in exacerbated or even permanent damage.

Unfortunately, recovering from nerve damage may take months or even years, depending on the severity. That could leave you out of work and drowning in medical bills and other expenses. The good news is, our Duluth car accident lawyers have the expertise to help you through this difficult time.

At Scholle Law, our focus is on you and your recovery. Our experienced attorneys know what it takes to get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team is here 24/7 to discuss your case.