Nerve damage suffered by car accident victims is usually what is called peripheral neuropathy—damage to the nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. Your body is connected by a network of nerves that sends messages between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and other areas. Nerves in various parts of the body can be injured by the physical trauma of a car accident. One nerve or multiple nerves may suffer injury.
When these peripheral nerves are damaged, you may experience pain, numbness, or loss of function in one or more body parts. Because each nerve has a specific function, symptoms vary depending on the type of nerve(s) injured.
There are multiple causes of nerve damage. Some nerve damage happens gradually over time, but car accident nerve injury is sharp and immediate. Nerve damage suffered in a motor vehicle crash can be severe and long-lasting. The expertise of a skilled neurologist (a doctor specializing in nerve disorders) is often required to treat the condition.
Nerve injury can cause a person to lose the ability to work and perform everyday tasks. A victim of nerve damage may be able to eventually recover full function, but healing takes time. It’s not easy to put your life on hold to give your body time to recuperate.
Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC defends the rights of Maryland residents injured by motorist negligence. If you suffered nerve damage in a car accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses. Medical care can be prolonged and costly. Our car accident attorneys work to make sure the liable party takes financial responsibility for their actions.
What are the symptoms of nerve damage after a car accident? We examine the signs that indicate you may need to see a neurologist.
Common Symptoms of Nerve Damage After a Motor Vehicle Crash
When a nerve is damaged, it interrupts a pathway of communication. Nerves communicate information about:
- Sensations on the skin
- External temperatures
- When and how to regulate body temperate
- Muscle movement
- Blood pressure
- Organ functions
Due to the variety of tasks nerves are involved in, nerve damage can present very differently in each patient. And because nerves spread throughout the body, different types of injuries can cause nerve damage. One car accident victim’s nerve damage could be a result of whiplash, affecting nerves in the neck, back, and shoulders. Another crash victim may suffer nerve damage when a leg or arm is crushed in the collision.
Nerve damage can be difficult to assess because symptoms don’t often present in the area directly harmed. For example, nerve damage suffered in a whiplash injury can cause issues in the arms, legs, or internal organs.
Signs of peripheral neuropathy vary widely, so it’s important to pay attention to your body in the days and weeks following your accident.
The symptoms below are commonly associated with peripheral nerve damage:
- Tingling or numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
- Complete loss of feeling or paralysis in parts of the body
- “Foot drop,” when a foot drags as you walk
- Radiating or spreading prickling sensations
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Pain that worsens with activity
- Buzzing sensations, similar to mild electrical shock
- Extreme sensitivity on the skin
- Balance problems
- Intolerance to heat or cold
- Muscle weakness (sometimes a feeling that it’s difficult to move your limbs)
- Fluctuating body temperatures
- Excessive sweating, or inability to sweat
- A squeezing sensation in your hands or feet, as if you are wearing gloves or socks
- Loss of coordination, clumsiness, or frequent falling
- Spikes and drops in blood pressure (may cause lightheadedness, dizziness, and weakness)
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Sexual dysfunction
Damage to the central nervous system is even more dangerous. If you suffered head trauma or injury to the spinal cord, symptoms may impact your life much more acutely. After a car accident, if you are dizzy, confused, excessively sleepy, vomiting, have seizures, or are unable to remember simple information, seek emergency medical care directly.
Immediate Medical Treatment After Nerve Damage Is Important
Early diagnosis is the best way to cope with nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy can aggravate over time and lead to worsened symptoms. Your moderate injury can become more severe if left untreated. If you experience any symptoms of nerve damage after a car accident, reach out to a physician to schedule an appointment as soon as you are able to do so. Be sure to keep records of treatment to support your car accident claim. Records may include proof of doctor’s visits, test results, physician’s notes, and copies of prescriptions for medications.
Immediate medical treatment is vital to your health—and also key to helping you recover compensation for your injuries. A gap in medical treatment can impact your personal injury claim. An insurance company may try to deny payment because you didn’t seek medical treatment right away. A gap in treatment may be taken as a sign that your injury wasn’t serious—or that the injury wasn’t actually caused by the crash. Your car accident attorney from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC will work with you to gather medical treatment records proving the severity and source of your nerve damage.
Financial Recovery Is Possible for Car Accident Victims
If another party’s negligent actions led to your injuries, you shouldn’t be forced to accept the financial consequences. Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC has a history of winning fair compensation for injured accident victims in the Baltimore area. We understand that the physical, emotional, and financial losses of a vehicle crash can change your life. We work hard to gather a complete understanding of all that you lost. From there, we can work to help you recover those losses.
If you suffered nerve damage in a car accident caused by another driver, we are available to help you explore legal options. Contact our law firm today. You’ll be partnered with an attorney who has experience in your type of personal injury case. There is never a fee to sit down with a member of the Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC attorney team to discuss your case.