Unfortunately, auto accidents happen. When they happen, they bring about stress, property damage, and financial losses. An auto accident may also cause injuries.
While people associate specific injuries like broken bones or lacerations with car accidents, a car accident can also cause nerve damage. You are entitled to compensation for any physical harm caused by another driver’s negligence, including nerve damage.
What Is Nerve Damage?
Your nervous system affects almost every part of your body. Thus, any damage to your nervous system can affect your day-to-day activities.
Generally, there are three categories of nerves in your body.
- Autonomic—this part of the nervous system regulates functions such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion;
- Motor—this part of the nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body; and
- Sensory—this part of the nervous system brings information from your body, such as your skin, back to your brain.
Car accident nerve damage can affect any of these aspects of your nervous system. A damaged nerve can cause pain, immobility issues, cramps, and muscle spasms.
The Causes of Nerve Damage After an Auto Accident
Nerve damage can occur when a nerve is under pressure, pinched, or compressed. In many car accidents, you are jerked or jolted in an unnatural or unexpected manner, which puts pressure on your nerves. In addition, lacerations sustained from an accident can sever nerves, thereby causing nerve damage.
Generally, the symptoms of nerve damage may include:
- Radiating pain and numbness,
- Pain or numbness at the place of the injury,
- Shooting pain,
- A burning sensation,
- Muscle weakness,
- Muscle spasms,
- Headaches, or
- Loss of mobility.
Since your nervous system impacts almost every part of your body, symptoms may vary.
If you are experiencing any physical concerns due to a car accident, you should see a doctor. A doctor can diagnose whatever ails you and recommend a course of treatment. The doctor may send you for X-rays or an MRI for a thorough understanding of your pain. Only a doctor can properly diagnose nerve damage. If you do not treat these conditions, you may end up with permanent nerve damage.
Common Types of Nerve Damage After a Car Accident
Because your nervous system touches every part of your body, nearly any injury you sustain in an auto accident could result in nerve damage. There are, however, several common types of nerve damage caused by car accidents.
Airbags and other car safety equipment may protect parts of your body in a car accident. Your head and neck can be jolted, however, causing strain and injury. This unnatural movement can cause a strain or a stretch of the spine, known as whiplash. An injury to the spine due to whiplash can cause nerve damage.
A disc is essentially a cushion between the vertebrae. The force of an accident can make your body twist, causing a disk in your back or neck to tear or leak. This is a herniated disc. A herniated disc can also be present with whiplash.
A pinched nerve can occur anywhere in your body where there are nerves. If bones, muscles, or other tissue put too much pressure on a nerve, it can become pinched. Commonly, a pinched nerve affects your neck or back. A pinched nerve can also occur in the arms, legs, or shoulders.
These are the most common types of auto accident nerve damage. Harm to the nerves can be extremely serious. Permanent nerve damage can result if you don’t treat your nerve damage. It is important to see a doctor if you believe you have one of the above conditions.
Can I Get a Nerve Damage Settlement from a Car Accident?
Physical injury resulting from a car accident, including nerve damage, can severely harm your finances. You may have missed work or spent a lot of money on your medical care due to the accident. You may also experience both physical and mental trauma due to the accident. If you suffer nerve damage after a car accident, you should be compensated for your losses.
Who Is at Fault?
Depending on who is at fault, you may be able to receive compensation for nerve damage caused by a car accident. Tennessee is what is called an “at fault” state. Your ability to recover damages largely depends on who caused the car accident. If the other driver is more at fault in the car accident, you may be able to recover damages from them. However, if you are 50% or more at fault in the accident, you cannot.
Tennessee also uses “comparative fault” in damages determinations. This means that if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may recover less based on your proportion of responsibility. For example, if you are 10% at fault for the accident, a court may reduce your damages by 10%.
Types of Compensation Available for Car Accident Nerve Damage
The law attaches a dollar amount in damages for the harm you have suffered due to another person’s negligence. There are two main types of damages available in car accident cases in Tennessee.
Economic damages are financial damages that have relatively precise amounts associated with them. They include costs associated with
- Medical treatment for your injuries,
- Mental health care,
- Repairs due to damage to your car, or
- Lost wages if you missed work.
Tennessee does not limit the amount you can recover in economic damages. If you are not at fault, you may be able to recover all your financial losses.
Non-economic damages are not as concrete as economic losses. Non-economic damages may include
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Emotional distress, and
- Other harm such as the inability to engage in everyday activities.
Non-economic damages are capped at $750,000 in Tennessee. If your harm is legally “catastrophic,” however, the non-economic damages may reach $1,000,000. An example of catastrophic harm is paraplegia due to a spinal cord injury.
As with all damages, if a jury finds that you are partially at fault for the accident, it will affect your economic and non-economic recovery.
Time Limit for Bringing Your Nerve Damage Case
A statute of limitations is the time limit that you have to bring a lawsuit for harm caused by a car accident. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for most car-accident injuries is one year. It is important that you consult with a lawyer experienced in handling car accident cases as soon after your accident as possible. If you miss the deadline, you may never see any compensation for your auto accident nerve damage.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
The last thing that you need when you have suffered nerve damage after an auto accident is the stress of figuring out your rights and possible recovery under the law. The experienced lawyers at Batson Nolan PLC can help. Our fierce injury attorneys have decades of experience representing people injured in car accidents. Plus, we offer free consultations. Contact us today.