My Arm Tingles. Did I Suffer Nerve Damage in My Car Accident?
- 1. What Is Nerve Damage?
- 2. Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Damage After a Car Crash
- 3. How Is Nerve Damage Diagnosed and Treated?
- 4. Nerve Injury Claims After a Car Crash: 3 Ways You Can Strengthen Your Case
- 5. Why Working With an Experienced Attorney Matters
- 6. Contact Crosley Law for Help Getting the Compensation You Need
My Arm Tingles. Did I Suffer Nerve Damage in My Car Accident?
The nervous system is extremely complex and more fragile than many people realize. In a car accident, nerve damage can occur in the brain, spine, and limbs. While you should always see a doctor after a crash, it is especially important to do so if you believe your symptoms (like tingling arms or hands) are a sign of nerve damage.
Nerve damage can have a significant impact on your way of life and can be challenging to diagnose and treat. If you’re worried you’ve suffered nerve damage after a car crash, keep reading to learn how to tell and what to do to get the help and compensation you need.
What Is Nerve Damage?
Nerves let different areas of the body communicate with each other. They carry signals throughout the body and are essential to its proper functioning. Nerves can be damaged in a variety of ways, such as being bruised, compressed, torn, or crushed.
There are several types of nerve damage:
- Radiculopathy: injuries to the nerve roots that branch off your spine
- Peripheral neuropathy: damage to your peripheral nerves, which are outside of your brain and spinal cord, including the median and ulnar nerves in your arms
- Myelopathy: compression or damage to your spinal cord
If a nerve is bruised or slightly damaged, it may fully heal over time. However, torn or crushed nerves typically require medical treatment, and may only regain partial function.
How Do Car Crashes Cause Nerve Damage?
During a collision, a quick deceleration or blunt force trauma can compress nerves. Debris can also cause deep cuts that sever your nerves. In this case, you’ll likely feel the nerve damage right away.
However, neuropathy—nerve damage that results in numbness or tingling— is sometimes slower to develop.
Any time your nerves experience prolonged compression, they can be damaged. Car crashes can cause swelling, herniated discs, whiplash, and other internal injuries that can press against your nerves. If you start experiencing numbness, tingling, shooting pain, or muscle weakness shortly after a car crash, seek immediate medical care and tell your doctors about the incident.
Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Damage After a Car Crash
While nerve damage can happen anywhere in the body, we’re going to focus on the most common injury locations: the spine and arms. Signs of nerve damage can differ depending on where you suffered the injury, but typically include:
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Shooting or radiating pain
- Muscle weakness or decreased range of motion
- Decreased or lost reflexes
While some of these symptoms may resolve with treatment, nerve damage is a serious injury can be permanent.
Signs of Spinal Nerve Damage
You have 31 pairs of spinal roots that branch off your spinal cord, and each one communicates with a specific area of your body. When your spinal nerves are damaged, they can cause profound symptoms in your back and throughout your body.
- Numbness: A common sign of spinal nerve damage, numbness can occur along your spine, neck, or even run into other body parts.
- Shooting or radiating pain: Pain that runs down a leg, arm, or into your head is common with radiculopathy (a pinched nerve at the base of the spine).
- Pain in uninjured body parts: Each of your spinal nerves sends messages to-and-from a different part of your body. When one is damaged, you may feel discomfort in the body part it serves. For example, L4-5 radiculopathy in your low back may cause hip pain.
- Foot drop and problems walking: Nerve damage in your low back can lead to muscle weakness and motor dysfunction in your legs and feet. In severe cases, you may notice a foot drop or changes in your gait.
- Severe headaches: Headaches are common after a crash and can be a sign of many serious conditions, including damage to nerves in your upper back or neck.
- Bladder and bowel control: Damage to nerves in your low back and tailbone can lead to bowel or bladder incontinence. If this happens, seek immediate emergency medical care.
- Sexual dysfunction:Injuries to nerves in your low back and sacrum can also cause serious sexual dysfunction.
Signs of Nerve Damage in the Arm
The main two nerves in the arm, the ulnar and median, run from the shoulder into the hand. When these nerves are damaged, you may experience:
- Hand numbness: Since the nerves run the full length of your arm and into your hand, a laceration or other injury to your upper arm could cause a lack of sensation in your hand and fingers.
- Tingling or burning: A tingling or burning can occur in your hand or fingers as a side effect of nerve damage.
- Hand or wrist weakness: Nerve damage can cause hand weakness that worsens the more you use it.
- Decreased grip: Grip strength may also be affected by nerve damage, making it difficult or impossible to do simple tasks like eat with a fork or write with a pen.
If these symptoms are focused on your little finger and half of your ring finger, you likely have an injury to your ulnar nerve. Symptoms in the rest of your hand suggest a median neuropathy. (A common type of median neuropathy is carpal tunnel syndrome.)
How Is Nerve Damage Diagnosed and Treated?
As we mentioned earlier, always see a doctor immediately after a car crash, even if you think your injuries are minor. A headache or wrist pain could be a sign of a serious nerve issue that could worsen over time if untreated.
Diagnosing nerve damage typically involves:
- A neurological exam that checks reflexes, strength, sensations, and coordination
- Electromyography (EMG) nerve function tests that record electrical activity in the muscles
- Nerve conduction studies (NCS) that record how your muscles respond to stimuli
- MRI and CT scans to look for internal injuries, such as herniated discs
Depending on your condition and treatment, you may undergo multiple EMG, NCS, and other diagnostic tests.
Some nerve damage can be fixed or minimized by prompt treatment, helping accident victims lead more active lifestyles.
For median or ulnar neuropathy, your doctors may suggest a carpal or cubital tunnel release. If you have spinal nerve damage, you may undergo a discectomy, laminectomy, or injection therapy.
While diagnosing nerve damage can be costly, invasive, and time-consuming, refusing to get medical help is not the answer. If you’re concerned about the cost of treatment, it’s important to remember that you can include medical bills in an insurance claim personal injury lawsuit.
While diagnosing nerve damage can be costly, invasive, and time-consuming, refusing to get medical help is not the answer.
Nerve Injury Claims After a Car Crash: 3 Ways You Can Strengthen Your Case
Severe nerve damage can make it hard to work and do your daily routine. When a reckless driver injures you, you have the right to demand compensation. Here are three ways you can strengthen your personal injury claim.
1. Get Prompt Medical Care
With any injury (but nerve damage, especially) ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Delaying treatment will only make the injury worse and could make it harder to get the compensation you deserve. Sometimes, the insurance company will argue that your nerve problems are a pre-existing condition or aren’t “that bad” if you put off seeing a doctor.
Medical records can serve as powerful evidence in a personal injury claim, linking your condition to the crash, documenting its severity, and highlighting the ways your life has changed.
Even if you think you have minor bumps and bruises, go see a doctor. (And if you’re worried about medical bills, you can include them in your personal injury claim.)
2. Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer
Once you’ve gotten medical help, call a personal injury attorney. Just like medical attention is critical for your physical recovery, legal representation is essential to your financial recovery.
If the crash wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay the medical bills, miss out on your future earnings, or live with financial uncertainty. A personal injury lawyer can help you demand compensation for all your economic and non-economic losses, including your unpaid medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
3. Know How Much Your Nerve Damage Claim Is Worth
Your nerve damage after a crash profoundly affected your life. But how much is it worth, financially? That depends on factors unique to your case:
- The cost of your medical care, including emergency treatment and follow-up appointments (both now and in the future)
- The cost of any tests and additional medical procedures, like surgery or physical therapy
- Medical devices like splints, walkers, or wheelchairs
- Your lost wages, including immediately after the accident and into the future
- Emotional trauma or injuries, like stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (or damage to your marital relationship)
As you research how much your nerve damage claim is worth, be wary of the information you receive from the insurance company, your insurance adjuster, or even online settlement value calculators.
The insurance company and its employees might seem helpful, but their goal is to protect their bottom line, not you and your future. They’re under no obligation to offer you sound advice or an accurate estimate of your claim’s value. Rather, they want to wrap your case up as quickly and cheaply as possible.
If you’re communicating with the insurance company, you can expect to receive offers that are far too low, and you shouldn’t accept anything without consulting with an attorney first.
Online settlement value calculators are also unreliable, because they often do not capture the nuance of your injuries or your experience. Additionally, there are many ways to calculate subjective damages, like pain and suffering. These methods vary depending on who is doing the calculation. To get a clear, realistic picture, you need to speak with an experienced attorney.
Why Working With an Experienced Attorney Matters
If you suffered nerve damage after a car crash in San Antonio or elsewhere in Texas, you deserve answers, assistance, and financial compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, filing a successful insurance claim or lawsuit for your nerve damage is extremely difficult—especially if you’re still dealing with the effects of the injury. In situations like these, it’s in your best interest to hire a skilled Texas personal injury attorney. When you work with an attorney to handle your nerve damage claim, they can:
- Handle all the communications between you and the insurance company
- Organize all the documents for your case, including medical bills, liens, medical records, assessments, and more
- Investigate every possible source of compensation for your injuries
- Investigate the circumstances and compounding factors that impact your condition and connect you to the resources you need to recover as completely as you can
- Carefully calculate the value of your case, including the costs of medical bills, medical care, and any in-home assistance or mobility devices you may need, now and in the future
- Move quickly to preserve any evidence that might affect your case
- Work with specialists to understand what happened to you and hold the responsible accountable
- Keep you informed of what’s happening at every step in your case so you can feel confident about your choices
- Use their experience to ensure you get a fair settlement offer, and if you don’t, work with you to pursue a lawsuit to seek compensation in court
Even cases involving seemingly minor injuries can be overwhelming and difficult to handle without an attorney on your side. If your injuries are severe, it’s even more complicated. And when the crash wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to spend the rest of your life paying for someone else’s mistake.
If you’re ready to get the support and legal advice you need and deserve, don’t wait to contact a personal injury attorney who can support you.
Contact Crosley Law for Help Getting the Compensation You Need
Nerve damage can make everyday tasks difficult or even impossible and have a drastic impact on your life. At Crosley Law, our experienced car accident attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve if a car crash caused you nerve damage.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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