Car accidents can cause a variety of injuries, but a nerve damage personal injury is among the most unsettling. Like most injuries, nerve damage after a traffic accident can occur at different levels of severity, which can mean either temporary discomfort or permanent disability, for the person suffering the damage. Nerve damage happens with injuries to the peripheral nervous system and with spinal cord injuries.
Importance of Nerve Function
When a person has car accident nerve damage, they can get the wrong message about what sensation they should be feeling. They may feel pain when there is no reason to feel pain, or they may feel numbness, or nothing at all when they should feel pain because of some immediate danger.
For some, the signs of nerve injuries are always there, causing frequent to constant pain that forces them to take medications that can potentially harm the stomach or liver. They may also experience paralysis, the inability to judge hot and cold temperature through the skin, loss of sexual function, and loss of control of muscle movement.
It is also possible for nerve damage after a traffic accident to become worse after the accident is over because bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and fluid retention around the spinal cord can continue to aggravate the injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries from auto accidents are a major cause of nerve injuries, especially those that involve the spinal cord. Auto and motorcycle accidents are responsible for more than one-third of spinal cord injuries. Damaged nerve fibers can impair muscles that are located below the actual injury. An injury near the chest or lower back may affect the use of your torso, legs, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function. Neck injuries limit movement of the arms, and can even affect breathing capabilities.
Nerve damage is often referred to as peripheral neuropathy, because it affects the peripheral nervous system that connects the nerves from the brain and spinal chord, also known as the central nervous system. When nerves are damaged , it can interrupt the brain’s ability to communicate with other parts of the body, including external limbs (arms, legs, hands, and feet), the mouth or face, and even internal organs. In addition to car accident nerve damage, some peripheral neuropathy is caused by various medical conditions including diabetes.
The peripheral nervous system is made up of sensory nerves connected to the skin, motor nerves connected to the muscles, or autonomic nerves that connect to internal organs. Nerve damage can affect any or all of these nerve groups. In most cases, those who develop peripheral neuropathy due to disease or injury cannot be cured. Their best option is to look at ways to manage their condition.
Levels of Damage
The severity to which nerves are damaged is measured through the Sunderland Classification System, which assigns five different degrees of severity. First degree injuries happen when there is a local blockage to the nerve, which often corrects itself within a few week. Second degree injuries affect the nerve axons or “electric wires” in a nerve. Third and fourth degree injuries affect axons and the supporting structure of the nerve. In fourth degree injuries there is also significant scarring, which prevents the nerves from regenerating. With fifth degree nerve injuries, the nerve has actually been broken in half. Special diagnostic testing is available to help determine the severity of nerve damage and whether or not surgical or non-surgical options such as physical therapy, massage, or acupuncture are the bet treatment options.
Attempting to reduce pain and the other effects of a nerve damage personal injury is a long and drawn out endeavor, and the experience is different for everyone. Getting compensation to manage your injuries is among the top priorities of the attorneys at Bressman Law. In order to achieve this goal we often enlist the help of expert witnesses in Columbus, Ohio, who are well respected and knowledgeable, and who can relay the extent of your injuries and the typical prognosis of others facing your situation in a communicative and straightforward manner. To learn more about how to get help for car accident nerve damage, contact Bressman Law to set up a consultation.