Nerve damage can cause permanent disabilities. These disabilities can prevent you from working or caring for your family. You might even need a caretaker to help you shop, cook, or dress.
In some situations, doctors can relieve the nerve inflammation that produces some of the symptoms of nerve damage. But in many cases, the effects of nerve damage can produce permanent injuries.
If you suffered nerve damage in an accident, it is essential to learn more about these injuries and how you may be able to seek compensation for them.
How Does Your Nervous System Work?
Your nervous system has two parts. The central nervous system (CNS) includes your brain and spinal cord. The brain produces control signals for your muscles and organs. It also receives sensory signals that tell it about your environment. The spinal cord connects your brain to your body below your neck.
The peripheral nervous system includes all the nerves connected to your CNS. Doctors typically use the term “nerve damage” to refer to an injury to the peripheral nervous system.
The peripheral nervous system has many parts, including:
These nerves connect your brain to your head and face. The cranial nerves control your facial expressions and chewing. They also collect sensory information from your ears, eyes, nose, and tongue.
Your nerve roots connect your spinal cord to your body. The spinal cord branches into a pair of nerve roots at each vertebra. Each nerve root acts as a waypoint for the nerve signals traveling to or from a body region.
Nerve roots branch into peripheral nerves that run to individual organs, muscles, and nerve endings in the skin. These nerves connect your body to the nerve roots that carry signals to and from the brain.
How Does Nerve Damage Happen?
Trauma can damage nerves in many ways, including:
Pressure on your nerves irritates them and causes them to inflame. When nerves experience inflammation, they can misfire, producing spontaneous nerve impulses or dropping nerve signals.
Nerve compression can result from:
When your body tissues dislocate, they can press on nerves or nerve roots. For example, you could dislocate a rib in a car accident. As a result, you might experience pain in the upper chest, shoulder, or back, even though the popped rib pressing on your nerves sits in your lower chest.
Swollen tissues can press on nerves and damage them. For example, repetitive stress from typing can cause tendons in your wrist to swell. The tendons can press on your median nerve, causing your fingers, hand, and elbow to hurt.
Compression forces can deform your discs. Herniated discs happen when the outer shell of your disc ruptures, and the inner gel projects through the fibers. Bulging discs happen when the outer shell of your disc sags and protrudes outward.
Traction happens when your nerves get pulled. Nerve cells communicate with each other using a combination of chemistry and electricity. They must sit close to each other to transmit signals. When they get pulled, nerve signals get lost or miscommunicated.
A common childhood injury happens during birth when a doctor pulls too hard on your baby’s arm. Traction on the brachial plexus nerve bundle causes nerve damage that can paralyze your child’s arm.
A severed nerve cannot carry nerve signals. The chemical and electrical signals produced by nerve cells cannot jump a gap created when an accident slices or tears a nerve.
Burns happen when a chemical reaction damages or destroys your body tissue. In a third-degree burn, the entire thickness of the skin gets destroyed, including the nerve endings. As a result, severe burn injuries typically cause no pain.
What Are Some Symptoms of Nerve Damage?
Nerves carry three types of signals. The symptoms you experience depend on the types of signals that get disrupted by your nerve injury.
The nerve signals produced by your body include:
Autonomic signals control your involuntary systems. These systems operate without any conscious thought.
When you damage autonomic nerves, you might experience symptoms like:
- Heart arrhythmia
- High or low blood pressure
- Irregular breathing
Bowel and bladder control requires a combination of autonomic and motor signals. But the disruption of autonomic signals can cause incontinence.
Motor signals control your muscles in response to conscious thoughts.
Motor nerve damage can cause:
- Loss of dexterity
- Muscle spasms
Keep in mind that motor nerve damage can lead to other problems. For example, nerve damage that weakens your leg can cause you to limp. Limping may, in turn, cause you to walk crookedly, wearing out your ankle and knee.
Sensory signals run to your brain from your body.
Loss of sensation can produce:
- Nerve pain
- Loss of smell or taste
When you experience nerve pain, it may seem to emanate from uninjured body parts. For example, if you injure a disc in your neck, it can press on a nerve root leading to your arm. You might experience numbness and pain in your elbow even though you did not injure it.
How Can You Obtain Compensation for Nerve Damage?
After you get hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s actions, you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation. The compensation you can seek for your injuries covers your economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages include your past and future medical expenses, lost income, and diminished earning capacity. Since doctors cannot repair nerve damage, you could face substantial expenses for therapy. Worse yet, you might need to change your job duties or even quit working altogether.
Non-economic damages include all the ways your injuries affect your quality of life. Nerve injuries produce pain, mental anguish, and disabilities. They might even prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. As a result, you could have substantial non-economic losses to include in an injury claim for nerve damage.
The dedicated legal team at George Salinas Injury Lawyers fights to ensure that our clients’ voices are heard. To discuss the compensation you can seek for the effects of nerve damage in San Antonio,contact our team George Salinas Injury Lawyers at (210) 225-0909 for a free consultation.