Spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, and brain traumas are common issues many car accident victims have to deal with. All these injuries are categorized under one term known as neurological disorders.
Unlike other injuries, such as broken bones, open wounds, or severe neck injuries, neurological injuries may not be apparent. These injuries may take days, weeks, or months to develop, but when they do, they may cause much pain.
Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, neurological injuries can cause long-term disability and may be life-changing.
It’s essential to seek immediate medical help if you’re struggling with issues such as headaches, numbness, tingling, migraines, and weakness after an accident.
A thorough medical evaluation may reveal if you had a head or nerve injury and proceed with the necessary treatment.
What Are Neurological Injuries?
Neurological injuries occur when the nervous system gets injured. The system consists of the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.
Neurological injuries affect various parts of the body, including the blood vessels, organs, muscles, and bones. The injured nerves affect different activities such as physical movement, feeling and sensations, and body control.
People who suffer neurological injuries require special medical care and rehabilitation that can last for several months. Some individuals may recover completely from nerve damage, while others may never do.
It’s important to seek immediate medical help for an appropriate diagnosis if you experience unexplainable symptoms after a car accident. You can then include the injuries in your car accident claims if someone else caused the injuries.
Car Accidents and Neurological Injuries
Although neurological injuries can occur from falls or sports injuries, car accidents are the most common causes. Common neurological disorders from a car accident include traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury.
Neurological injuries mostly occur from high-speed collisions or mild fender benders. The nerves can get thoroughly damaged from excessive pressure, overstretching, or the severity of the nerve.
A simple mild fender bender can jerk you enough to bang your head against your headrest, causing serious head injuries. Additionally, a minor bump on a speeding vehicle is enough to cause serious brain damage.
If you’re involved in an accident, there are three common ways your nerves can get damaged. These include:
Whiplash is a common neck injury due to severe jerking motion of the head and neck. This motion causes the nerves around these areas to stretch or pinch.
The forceful back-and-forth movements are usually caused by rear-end collisions. Whiplash can result in long-lasting complications and severe neck pain.
If you hit your head, leg, arms, or any part of the body on a hard surface inside or outside the car, you’ll end up with compressed nerves.
High-impact collisions can throw the body around the car or outside, causing you to hit a hard surface.
Blunt force traumas cause brain and head injuries. Injuries from blunt force trauma can result in a lot of pain and suffering. In many cases, blunt force trauma can be fatal. These injuries are the most common causes of disabilities and deaths after car accidents.
Lacerations are deep cuts sustained after a car accident that can sever the nerves. Lacerations usually go past the skin’s innermost layer, reaching the nerves near the affected area. If you get into contact with broken glass or sharp metal, you’ll suffer lacerations.
Lacerations can cause a great deal of pain and inability to perform simple tasks. The victims may require immediate medical intervention to prevent blood loss and further nerve damage.
Types of Neurological Injuries After a Car Accident
Only specialized doctors with years of experience can accurately diagnose nerve damage from neurological injuries. They can examine your spine and check the damaged discs before developing a suitable treatment plan.
In most cases, symptoms that medical professionals look for to diagnose different types of neurological injuries include:
- Paralysis of the limbs and appendages
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or pain in the neck and back
- The ringing of the ears
- Inability to comprehend information.
- Uncontrolled muscle movement
- Increased skin sensitivity
With these symptoms, the doctor can diagnose the type of neurological damage you might have suffered. Some of the common types of neurological issues include:
Neuropathy is also known as nerve damage from trauma experienced in an accident. The injury occurs when the nerves are severely stretched, crushed, or compressed. In severe cases, the injury can partially or completely detach the nerves from the spinal cord.
These kinds of nerve damage affect the peripheral nervous system and may interfere with your basic motor skills, ability to hold on to objects, and your balance. You may also feel excessive pain or numbness in the affected area.
People suffering from neuropathy may need physical therapy to regain strength, balance, and movement. In case of nerve damage or compression, the patients may need to undergo surgery and use different mobility aids.
Radiculopathy occurs when one or more nerves do not work usually due to irritation or compression. Symptoms of radiculopathy include numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the affected area.
Radiculopathy is associated with spinal issues affecting various regions such as the lumber, cervical, and thoracic.
Car accidents that cause radiculopathy involve acute trauma that causes damage to the discs, ligaments, and nerves along the spinal region.
This condition can affect the neck and run all the way to the lower back, depending on the nature of the accident.
To diagnose compressed nerves, your doctor may need to understand your symptoms and assess your injuries.
They will test your muscle strength, sensation, and reflexes to pinpoint the affected spot. Depending on the injury, treatment can be surgical or non-surgical.
Extreme strain and force in the neck can cause severe damage that can be classified as a pinched nerve. Quick acceleration or collision from a car accident can cause such kind of damage and can affect different nerves.
Pinched nerves mostly happen to the neck and head and lead to compressed or sprained nerves. Pinched nerves can also happen from broken, moved, or dislocated bones. Nerves also get damaged from burning, severing, or stretching from a car accident.
A pinched nerve can cause radiating pain, muscle weakness, and numbness or the affected area. Pinched nerves from acute traumas may affect the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and feet.
With immediate intervention, pain, and discomfort from pinched nerves can go away within a few weeks.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the most common neurological injuries from car accidents is traumatic brain injury (TBI). When an outside force causes a violent blow to the head, your brain will be affected.
This may also happen due to whiplash or when the skull forcefully hits the vehicle’s dashboard or windshield. The victim may experience severe brain dysfunction, known as traumatic brain injury.
TBIs are always complex and may take a lot of time to heal or may not heal completely, causing various disabilities. In most cases, TBI may take days or weeks after the accident to show any symptoms.
In mild cases, TBI may cause temporary brain dysfunction. Severe cases may result in bruising, bleeding, and soft tissue injuries. It may also result in severe brain damage that can last for the lifetime of the patient.
People who suffer from traumatic brain injuries after auto accidents often experience various challenges. In worse scenarios, the injury can cause death or lifetime disability. Other patients may be reduced to a vegetable state for the rest of their lives.
Seeking Help After Neurological Injuries from a Car Accident
Many neurological injuries may take weeks or even months to show symptoms. However, seeking immediate medical help after an accident is always advisable, even if you don’t feel any pain, especially if you hit your head.
While untrained eyes may not recognize internal head injuries such as brain bleeding, neurologists might notice even the slightest abnormality.
If they notice any symptoms, they will conduct physical examinations and tests to determine the cause. They will check the bones, spine, disks, and nerves and conduct immediate interventions that can be lifesaving.
Once they recognize a problem, they will start an immediate treatment plan. Many of the symptoms can be treated immediately and prevent lifelong impairments.
For severe injuries that may not heal completely, the specialists may recommend some life changes to help manage the situation.
Getting Compensation for Neurological Injuries
Neurological issues or nerve damage can take a lot of time to heal and may cause serious life changes. Even with immediate intervention, it’s not a guarantee that you will heal completely. You may need to undergo many therapies and treatment procedures.
The aftermath of the injuries can take a toll on your overall health, mental well-being, and financial security. Even with treatments and rehabilitation, you may not go back to your usual self.
If someone else caused the accident, you’ll have to file for compensation to recover the money spent on medication and losses as a result of missed work. Hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.