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Nerve Damage from Car Accidents and California Case Values

Auto accidents with injuries occur on a daily basis across California. Some of those crashes involve nerve damage. That nerve damage can affect just about any part of the body from head to toe. Pain and disability are the trademark of nerve damage, but unlike a fracture, nerve damage is a hidden condition. Lawyers can’t show an x-ray of it to a jury to prove an injury. That’s why you need to visit an emergency room right after a crash. It could be a crucial first step in documenting nerve damage after an accident that was caused by the negligence of somebody else. After that, you should follow up with your own doctor or a neurologist and consult with a California car accident lawyer at Maison Law who has extensive experience in nerve injury cases. 

How Nerves are Injured in a Car Crash:

There are a variety of ways that nerves can be injured in a car crash. Different symptoms might exist for any of those injuries. The cause of the symptoms might be any of the following:

  • Blunt Force Trauma: This can include the body colliding with anything inside or outside of a car. Injuries could be from head to toe. Swelling and bruising will cause nerves to send pain signals.
  • Deep Cuts: When all layers of the skin have been cut or torn through, muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments are exposed and vulnerable to injury. Nerves don’t regenerate. A partially or completely severed nerve will result in permanent partial disability.
  • Neck Injuries: A whiplash injury to the neck can be caused by any type of a car crash. Nerves at the affected level of the spine are commonly impinged upon by displaced vertebrae, discs or disc herniations.

Peripheral Neuropathy:

When medical personnel speak of neuropathy, they’re referring to dysfunction of a nerve or nerves. Neuropathy typically cause numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in a specific area of the body. The doctors at the Cleveland Clinic advise that when peripheral neuropathy is mentioned, an issue with a person’s peripheral nervous system is being discussed. That system consists of the vast nervous system that is outside of the brain and spinal cord. Nerve cells are known as neurons, and when those become damaged or destroyed, neuropathy results. Neuropathy impairs the ability of neurons to communicate with themselves and the brain. If only one nerve is damaged, the condition is known as mononeuropathy. If more than one peripheral nerve is injured, the condition is known as polyneuropathy

The Three Types of Peripheral Nerves:

The Center of Peripheral Neuropathy at the University of Chicago Medical School tells us that there are three types of peripheral nerves. Those follow along with what they do:

  • Motor Nerves: These send impulses from the brain and spinal cord to each muscle in the body. These allow us to type, hit a golf ball or pet our dog. Motor nerve damage can cause muscle weakness, cramps or spasms.
  • Sensory Nerves: These work to send messages in the opposite direction from muscles to the spinal cord and brain. They let us know whether an object is sharp, round, hot or cold. When one or more sensory nerves are damaged, an accident victim will feel numbness, tingling or even extreme pain sensitivity.
  • Autonomic: This is primarily associated with involuntary functions that we can’t really control like heartbeat, respiration, blood pressure, sweating or digestion.  

What to Expect with Nerve Damage:

Broken bones, and tears of tendons and ligaments from an accident can be repaired by a skilled surgeon without substantial residual symptoms. What can come to issue with permanency of an injury is the secondary injury of peripheral neuropathy.  Coastal Empire Orthopedics in Savannah, GA has noted some of the symptoms that car accident victims who suffered fractures, deep cuts or neck injuries need to watch out for:

  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities.
  • Sharp pains in the hands, arms, legs or feet.
  • Burning pain down the legs that is a common sign of a lower back injury.
  • Involuntary muscle cramping or spasms.
  • Muscle weakness and cramping in the arms or legs.
  • Frequently dropping objects that you’re holding.

Diagnosing Peripheral Neuropathy:

Since nerve damage can’t be seen on x-rays like a fracture, how is peripheral neuropathy diagnosed? Your doctor will likely order a series of tests for this purpose. As per the Mayo Clinic, those will likely
include the following for an auto accident victim

  • Blood Tests: Thorough blood testing that might reveal diabetes or other conditions that might cause peripheral neuropathy.
  • Diagnostic Imaging Tests: CT scans are excellent diagnostic tests for revealing bone conditions that can caused peripheral neuropathy. Magnetic resonance imaging is invaluable for diagnosing tissue conditions that can also cause the condition.
  • Nerve Tests: Electromyography measures electrical activity in an accident victim’s muscles, while nerve conduction tests will measure nerves that are stimulated with electrical currents.

Peripheral Neuropathy Case Values in California:

Given the fact that peripheral neuropathy is a permanent and uncurable condition, it can only be managed. The victim’s doctor or neurologist should be consulted accordingly. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for the condition. If a person’s neuropathy is caused by nerve impingement, surgery can even be performed to eliminate that impingement. Sometimes, surgery is even performed on the nerve itself. Here are a few examples of nerve injury settlements and verdicts from across the United States:

  • $1,850,000 to a 43-year-old woman in Arizona in a collision with a delivery truck driver after the driver decided to back up and hit the front end of her car. She suffered a herniated disc in her neck and nerve damage requiring surgery.
  • $520,000 to a 47-year-old male who was hit by a pickup truck while jogging. Defendant suffered a broken arm and lumbar disc herniation with sensory nerve impairment. He complained of pain and numbness.
  • $1.2 million settlement to a 50-year-old Minnesota motorcyclist who crashed into a car that turned left in front of him. He suffered a nerve injury that restricted the use of his left foot.
  • $100,000 settlement in Massachusetts when a 60-year-old male was stopped in traffic and read-ended. He suffered a cervical herniated disc with discectomy. This appears to be all of the insurance that was available in the case.

Once you’ve damaged a nerve or set of nerves, the likelihood of a 100% recovery is drastically reduced. Never speak with an insurance company without knowing the full nature and extent of all of the injuries and damages that you suffered. 

Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer

Our California car accident lawyer at Maison Law understands nerve injuries, and he knows how to prove them to get clients the compensation that they deserve for them. If you were injured by the negligence of somebody else and you suffered nerve and other injuries, don’t hesitate to contact us right away for a free consultation and case review. We’ll listen to you carefully, answer your questions and advise you on getting you pointed in the right direction. Upon being retained by you, we’ll carefully put the pieces of your case together to prove your case for negligence and damages and work toward obtaining the highest settlement or award that you deserve.

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