Accident victims can suffer various types of injuries. One particularly painful injury many accident victims sustain is nerve damage. In some cases, nerve damage can result in paralysis. In others, it can cause pain and muscle weakness.
One of the particularly difficult aspects of nerve damage is that these injuries are sometimes irreversible. Doctors may be unable to repair damaged nerves or relieve symptoms. As such, nerve damage can affect your ability to work and decrease your quality of life. Everyday activities like walking, driving, or sleeping could also be negatively impacted.
If you are dealing with nerve damage after an accident, here is some helpful information about the topic.
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What Is the Role of Nerves in the Body?
The nervous system includes the brain and nerves and is responsible for sending messages to and from the brain. This system controls every bodily function, including regulation of breathing, control of muscles, and sensations of heat and cold.
There are three types of nerves:
- Autonomic nerves – Autonomic nerves control involuntary and partially voluntary body functions, such as blood pressure, temperature regulation, thyroid function, heart rate, and digestion.
- Motor nerves – Motor nerves control the body’s movements and actions. They regulate all the muscles under a person’s conscious control, including those necessary for walking, talking, and holding objects.
- Sensory nerves – Sensory nerves relay information from the skin and muscles to the brain, giving it information about temperature, pain, and other sensations.
Damage to any of these categories of nerves can cause severe harm.
What Is the Effect of Nerve Damage on the Body?
Nerve roots are located in spinal cord vertebrae, so if a nerve is severed, the messages to your brain cannot be transmitted. This can result in paralysis and loss of sensation in all body regions connected to the nerve.
If a nerve is damaged but not severed, the nerve can become inflamed. This can disrupt nerve signals or cause miscommunications to and from the nerve.
What Are Some Common Causes of Nerve Damage?
There are countless causes of nerve damage. Nerve damage can occur when there is an external force applied to the body. Common causes of nerve damage include:
Car accidents are a leading cause of nerve damage. This is because a tremendous amount of force can be exerted during a car crash. Nerves can be compressed during a collision, resulting in pinched nerves and other types of nerve damage. If a bone fractures, the jagged edge of the bone could tear nerves and other soft tissues.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls can also lead to nerve damage. Many times, people fall on their backs. This can injure the spinal cord or the nerves that branch off of it. Broken bone fragments can also sever or compress spinal cord nerves.
Sports injuries may stretch nerves, causing nerve damage.
Many people who suffer burn injuries often experience nerve damage. First- and second-degree burns can result in pain and some nerve damage, while third-degree burns can sever nerves.
Workplace accidents, including crushing injuries, can cause nerve damage. Once a nerve is crushed, it cannot properly carry nerve signals to the brain, which can disrupt motor function and other bodily functions.
Dangerous Drugs or Toxins
Certain toxins can be ingested in the body and cause nerve damage, including lead, arsenic, and mercury. Some medications cause nerve damage as a side effect.
What Are the Symptoms of Nerve Damage?
The symptoms you experience due to nerve damage often depend on the type of nerves that have been affected.
When autonomic nerves are damaged, symptoms may include:
- Inability to sense chest pain
- Inability to tolerate heat
- Excessive sweating or inability to sweat
- Irregular breathing
- High or low blood pressure
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Sexual dysfunction
- Acid reflux
These consequences can significantly impede your ability to work and erode your quality of life.
When motor nerves are damaged, common symptoms include:
- Uncontrollable muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness or atrophy
- Painful cramping
- Slurred speech
- Limited range of motion
- Loss of balance or coordination
Some motor nerve injuries result in paralysis.
Sensory nerve damage may include symptoms such as:
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Burning sensation
- Difficulty sensing changes in temperature or sensing pain
- Difficulty walking, maintaining balance, or performing functions that require fine motor skills
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of hearing
In some injuries, accident victims may suffer more than one type of nerve damage and may experience various symptoms. If you suspect you may have suffered nerve damage in an accident, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
What Are the Treatment Options for Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage is not always reversible, so treatment tends to focus on relieving symptoms and helping the accident victim adjust to a new life. Some treatments can help prevent the damage from progressing.
Some treatment options may include:
- Medication, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, and topical pain relievers
- Electrical nerve stimulation
You can seek payment for these treatments through a personal injury claim against the party responsible for your injuries.
What Compensation Is Available for Nerve Damage Claims?
To obtain compensation for your nerve damage from a third party, you will generally need to show they were negligent in causing your harm. This relies on showing they owed you a legal duty, they breached that duty, and they caused you to suffer damages. Damages may be economic or non-economic in nature.
Economic damages include financial losses, such as:
- Past and current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages and employment benefits
- Long-term reduction in your earning capacity
- Damage to your personal property
In contrast, non-economic damages are losses you experience that are not directly tied to a specific dollar amount, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Inability to participate in activities of daily living
- Damage to relationships with others
An experienced personal injury lawyer can review your case and explain the types of damages for which you can seek compensation.
Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Nerve Damage Injury Attorney for Assistance
If someone else’s negligence caused your nerve damage, you should not have to bear the financial and emotional burden without just compensation. An experienced Philadelphia nerve damage injury lawyer from Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers can help you seek the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Contact us today for a free case review.