The human body contains hundreds of nerves, bundles of fibers that send and receive messages from the brain. When these nerves become damaged, they can cause pain, motor and sensory dysfunction, and even paralysis. If you suffered nerve damage in an accident and someone else was to blame, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, and emotional distress.
The Durham personal injury lawyer at Kreger Brodish LLP understands how debilitating nerve damage symptoms can be and how frightening the long-term consequences may seem. For over a decade, we have helped injury victims in Durham pursue the compensation they need to move forward. Let us exceed your expectations with our one-on-one attention and personalized service. Contact Kreger Brodish LLP for a free consultation with a nerve damage lawyer.
Common Injuries that Can Cause Nerve Damage
What causes nerve damage? Many injuries can result in nerve damage, ranging from minor to debilitating. The most common injuries that can cause nerve damage include:
- Blunt force trauma – The violent and sudden force of a collision can cause severe damage to the body’s nerves. Blunt force trauma can result from many accidents, including motor vehicle crashes and slip and falls.
- Repetitive trauma – Nerve damage can also be caused by trauma from repetitive actions or motions on the job, particularly among those who work in construction, warehouses, or offices. Any job that involves repetitive tasks can cause these traumatic injuries and nerve damage.
- Whiplash – This injury occurs when the neck snaps violently back and forth. It is commonly caused by a car crash or other violent accident.
- Herniated disc – The vertebrae of the spine are cushioned by intervertebral discs. When the jelly-like inner nucleus of one of these discs is pushed out through a tear or rupture in the outer shell, it can compress the surrounding nerves. Herniated discs can result from the impact of motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, slip and falls, other violent events, and age-related wear and tear.
- Lacerations or puncture wounds – Serious cuts are a common consequence of various incidents, such as motor vehicle collisions, dog attacks, and assaults, and can lead to nerve damage.
- Burns – Contact with hot objects and toxic chemicals can result in severe burns, causing nerve damage.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
Patients suffering from nerve damage may experience various symptoms depending on where the damage occurred and which nerve type is affected. The body has three types of nerves: autonomic, motor, and sensory nerves.
Involuntary actions, such as the beating of the heart and breathing, are controlled by autonomic nerves. Someone suffering from autonomic nerve damage may experience:
- Problems with bodily functions, such as abnormal heart rate, blood pressure changes, trouble urinating, and constipation
- Sweating too much or too little
- Heat intolerance
- Sexual dysfunction
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dry eyes and mouth
Motor nerves control movement by sending messages from the brain to muscles throughout the body. Patients with damage to the motor nerves may experience symptoms such as:
- Muscle atrophy
- Uncontrollable muscle twitching
- Difficulty grasping or picking up objects
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty moving limbs
These nerves send messages to the brain about the body’s senses, such as touch, taste, and smell. Patients suffering from sensory nerve damage may experience the following symptoms:
- Trouble sensing pain or temperature changes
- Burning sensation
How Is Nerve Damage Treated?
Nerve damage treatment will depend on the severity and location of the injury. In some instances, patients with nerve damage may be able to recover fully. But in many cases, nerve damage is permanent and cannot be repaired.
Getting proper and prompt medical treatment is critical. After an accident, nerve damage can worsen over time. However, accident victims who feel fine should still seek medical care so their injury can be diagnosed and treated, improving the possibility of recovery.
Treatments for nerve damage include the following:
- Medications, such as pain relievers, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs
- Topical pain-relieving creams, such as capsaicin cream
- Physical therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Massage therapy
- Braces or orthotics
- Vitamins and supplements
- Surgery, which may involve reconnecting healthy nerve ends, entirely replacing a nerve with a graft from another part of the body, or relieving compression on a nerve
Patients with nerve damage may also need treatment for secondary complications associated with their injury. For example, patients with digestive dysfunction caused by nerve damage may require special care and treatment.
Major Types of Nerve Damage
Nerve damage typically falls under one of three categories based on severity. The three major types of nerve damage are:
- Neurapraxia is a minor, severe type of nerve damage because the nerves are not permanently damaged or severed. Instead, nerve signals are temporarily blocked, often due to compression. Patients with neurapraxia usually recover, but it may take several weeks and requires proper medical treatment.
- Axonotmesis – This injury occurs when only part of the nerve is damaged. Usually, the nerve can repair itself over time. But it can take several months to a year to recover. Unfortunately, some patients may experience only partial recovery and continue to experience loss of function long-term.
- Neurotmesis is the most severe type of nerve injury where the nerve is entirely severed. Patients usually need surgery to treat neurotmesis, and a full recovery may not be possible.
Types of Compensation You Can Get for Nerve Damage
If you suffered nerve damage due to someone’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions, you might be entitled to compensation from them. This compensation can include money for:
- Medical expenses related to treating your injuries, including hospital stays, doctor’s visits, medications, physical therapy, medical equipment, and surgeries
- Costs of long-term medical care for your nerve damage
- Lost wages if you miss time at work due to your injuries
- Loss of future earning potential if your injuries prevent you from returning to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Under North Carolina law, a judge or jury may award punitive damages in cases of “egregiously wrongful acts” that involve fraud, malice, or willful or wanton conduct. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their actions and deter them and others from committing similar acts in the future. While your case may warrant punitive damages, they are only rarely awarded. An experienced attorney can determine whether punitive damages apply to your nerve damage lawsuit.
If a workplace injury or illness caused your nerve damage, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through your employer. These benefits cover all necessary medical treatment and a portion of your lost wages. You could also be entitled to disability benefits if your injury prevents you from returning to work.
How Our Nerve Damage Lawyers Can Help You
Pursuing compensation for nerve damage on your own can be overwhelming, especially if you still suffer from debilitating symptoms. Instead, let an experienced nerve damage attorney with Kreger Brodish LLP handle the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Our legal team is prepared to assist you by:
- Investigating the circumstances of the incident that led to your nerve damage
- Determining who is liable for your injuries
- Gathering helpful evidence to build a solid case against any at-fault parties
- Consulting with medical experts to understand and quantify the cost of your injuries and other losses you suffered due to your nerve damage
- Identifying all potential sources of compensation
- Communicating with the insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
- Filing essential paperwork and keeping track of important deadlines in your case
- We are aggressively negotiating with the insurance companies to get a fair settlement.
- Taking your case to court to help you pursue the maximum compensation if settlement negotiations fail
Talk to Our Experienced Nerve Damage Lawyers in Durham, NC Today
If you suffered nerve damage due to an accident that was someone else’s fault or workplace, you could be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Kreger Brodish LLP have the knowledge, experience, and skill to determine who is liable for your injuries and hold them accountable. Contact our office for a free case review with a skilled Durham nerve damage attorney.