Representing Those Suffering From Nerve Damage
Your nerves run from your brain stem throughout the rest of the body. They act as messengers for the brain, sending signals and commands both from the brain and to it. It is thanks to your nerves that you are able to feel textures, move around, and even breathe. That is why nerve injuries are so debilitating. Injured nerves could result in partial or full-body paralysis, leaving you unable to walk, work, or enjoy your favorite hobbies.
If you have suffered nerve damage due to someone else’s negligence, perhaps in a car accident, then you deserve proper compensation. Negligent parties should always be held accountable for their actions, but doing so can be difficult, especially if you are recovering from nerve damage. That is why you should contact a Boulder personal injury attorney at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. We want to fight for you rights. Call us at (303) 665-2929 to schedule a free consultation.
What Causes Nerve Injuries?
Peripheral nerve damage affects nerves in the body that lie outside of the brain and spinal cord. These nerves are responsible for sensation, movement, and function of the glands and organs. Injury to the peripheral nerves can seriously affect the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles and organs, and, therefore, bodily function.
Peripheral nerve injuries may be mild or severe and can be caused by stretching or pressing on the nerve. Leading causes of nerve damage include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian injuries
- Gunshot wounds
- Surgical errors
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Industrial or work-related accidents
- Slip or trip and fall accidents
- Accidents causing trauma to the body
Symptoms of nerve damage can develop after an accident with severe, or even more minor, injuries, such as a motor vehicle crash or a fall. In fact, vehicle collisions and falls are among the most common causes of nerve damage. Slip- or trip-and-fall accidents cause blunt-force trauma from the impact of the body hitting the ground, which can injure the nerves. On the other hand, auto accidents can cause nerve injury in several different ways, including:
- Whiplash: The whip-like motion of the head and neck, for example, in a rear-end collision, can stretch and pinch the nerves in the neck.
- Blunt-force trauma: In a motor vehicle collision, it is not uncommon to hit the head, arms, or legs against a hard surface inside or outside the vehicle. The force of impact can compress the nerves.
- Lacerations: Deep cuts can be caused by shattered glass or sharp fragments in a car crash. These lacerations may sever the nerves, causing serious injuries.
Even a slow-speed accident can lead to severe nerve damage if there was enough force behind the impact of the two vehicles. However, not all nerve injuries are permanent — in fact, some will heal with time. Knowing what type of nerve damage you are suffering from is key when seeking treatment, as well as building your case against the at-fault party.
Levels of Nerve Injury
In the most commonly used classification system, Seddon’s, nerve injury is classified by severity into several different categories:
- Neurapraxia: This is the mildest form of nerve injury, in which the nerve remains intact and the prognosis is good. Neurapraxia can cause temporary loss of motor and sensory function. It may take up to 12 weeks to recover completely from this level of nerve injury.
- Axonotmesis: This level of nerve damage is caused by crush injuries and displaced bone fractures disrupting the nerve cell’s axon (the long, threadlike portion along which impulses are conducted from the cell body to other cells). With axonotmesis, the axon is damaged, while the surrounding connective tissue remains intact. Partial or complete recovery is possible without surgery, but it may take several months.
- Neurotmesis: This type of nerve injury is caused by knife and gunshot wounds and severe ischemic (restricting blood flow) injuries. Both the axon and the surrounding connective tissues are damaged, and recovery will not occur. Neurotmesis usually requires surgery.
In addition to Seddon’s classification of nerve injuries, there is also avulsion. Brachial plexus avulsion ranks among the most serious types of nerve damage. This occurs when the nerve root is torn from the spinal cord and can result in limited feeling, paralysis, or severe pain in the hands, arms, and shoulders. Surgery can be done is some cases, but a majority of the time, an avulsion cannot be fixed and leads to permanent disability.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch For
Nerve damage may not be immediately noticeable, since nerves are located inside the body. This means that nerve damage is an internal injury, and while it can be caused by deep cuts, it can also be caused by sudden jerky motions, leaving no external evidence of an injury at all. Keep an eye out for these symptoms after any accident:
- Muscle weakness
- Painful muscle cramps
- Uncontrollable spasms
- Tingling in the hands and feet
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty sensing temperature changes, textures, and pain
- Excessive sweating
- Sudden drops in blood pressure
Even if you aren’t experiencing all of these symptoms, you should still seek medical help. Keep in mind that different nerves have different jobs, so depending on which one is injured, you may only experience two or three of these symptoms. Allowing nerve damage to go untreated can make it worse, or even lead to it becoming permanent.
What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition, often affecting one arm, leg, hand, or foot. CRPS usually occurs after an injury and is believed to be caused by damage to or malfunction of the peripheral and central nervous systems. CRPS is not yet fully understood, so there are no concrete causes. That being said, it can be a side effect of severe nerve damage.
CRPS-II (causalgia) is diagnosed when there is a confirmed, associated nerve injury. Symptoms of CRPS can vary in severity and duration; however, they most often involve intense pain, swelling in the impacted limb, and muscle spasms. Thus far, no treatments are 100% effective for CRPS. Medications and physical therapy are often used to mitigate symptoms, and CRPS may eventually fade or lessen in severity. However, in more severe cases, it can cause long-term disability.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Nerve Injuries
Severe damage to the nerves suffered in an accident can cause chronic pain and long-term disability. It is important to aggressively pursue the compensation you will need to cover your medical expenses, time away from work, and other losses. Your best course of action is to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC in Boulder at (303) 665-2929. Our Boulder personal injury attorneys have the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide the dedicated legal representation you need after a nerve injury accident.