Car Accident Nerve Damage: Understanding the Consequences of These Injuries

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In the wake of a car crash, some injuries are obvious. For example, you may be immediately and acutely aware that you have a broken arm or a puncture wound. But other injuries can be invisible—sometimes for hours, days, or weeks after your accident. Unfortunately, car accident nerve damage is a common condition and often overlooked in your initial post-crash medical examination. Below, we take a closer look at the typical symptoms of nerve damage and long-term consequences if not treated effectively. We also explain your legal options for securing proper compensation for accident-related injuries and medical expenses. 

How Car Accidents Cause Nerve Damage 

The human body is home to an estimated 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons, that make up the nervous system. This system winds its way through the entire body, allowing us to be aware of the world around us, sense pain and pleasure, and ultimately function on a day-to-day basis. When these nerves are damaged, this has drastic and permanent effects on our lives. 

Since nerves weave throughout most areas of our body, it’s no surprise that almost any injury—from contusions to lacerations to broken bones—can cause nerve damage. These are called peripheral nerve injuries. However, other conditions result in serious nerve damage, too. Here are some important ones to highlight. Car Accident Nerve Damage | Kirkland Personal Injury Lawyer

Spinal Cord Injuries

These catastrophic injuries can lead to paralysis, loss of sensation, and a range of other debilitating symptoms, depending on the location and severity of the damage. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves, each responsible for critical mobility, organ function, and bowel and bladder control. 

Brachial Plexus Injuries 

This condition occurs when the network of nerves controlling feeling and movement in the shoulder, arm, and hand is damaged due to the violent forces involved in a collision. Victims may experience weakness, numbness, or loss of motor function in the affected limb.


A sudden jolting of the head and neck usually results in one of the most common car accident injuries, whiplash. A large number of important nerves in the area—including eight pairs of cervical nerves—are often damaged, causing chronic pain.

Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Nerves help our bodies feel, sense, and move. But they also do so much more, such as help with organ function and body regulation. When a nerve or a ganglia (cluster of nerves) is damaged, there are numerous symptoms including, but not limited to:  

  • Loss of feeling 
  • Increased temperature sensitivity 
  • Tingling 
  • Numbness 
  • Increased sensitivity to touch 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Chronic pain 
  • Throbbing pain or shooting pain 
  • Lack of coordination
  • Digestive or bowel issues 
  • Issues regulating blood pressure and body temperature 
  • Dulled senses
  • Clumsiness 
  • Paralysis 

The Most Important Thing to do After a Car Accident 

It’s human nature—and a common trauma response—to just want to get home and return to everyday life after a car accident. Unfortunately, while this is what your body and brain are asking for, it’s not in your best interest at all. Even though you might look fine after a traffic collision, your body has been through a distressing event and there may be serious harm.   

For this reason, the most important thing you can do after an accident is to get a thorough medical evaluation. Adrenaline often covers up a significant amount of pain directly after your accident, and nerve damage might not be as apparent as other injuries.  

In addition, it’s absolutely vital to go to a doctor as soon as possible if you start to feel symptoms of nerve damage in the days and weeks after an accident. Don’t ignore pain, tingling, or other symptoms, especially if you’re in the midst of settling your case. 

Serious Consequences of Nerve Damage 

Nerve damage can be treated and managed, but many types have permanent and lasting effects that can significantly change your quality of life, income, and abilities. Some consequences of nerve damage such as:  

  • Chronic pain 
  • Loss of coordination or balance 
  • Weakness and loss of coordination 
  • Loss of organ function 
  • An inability to detect skin issues, injuries, or severe temperatures 
  • Sexual issues 
  • The inability to engage in your interests and hobbies 
  • Lost wages or the loss of your career 
  • The inability to care for yourself or your loved ones 

There are also mental health consequences to suffering serious nerve damage. A person dealing with long-term or permanent nerve damage is more likely to suffer from issues including but not limited to:  

  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • PTSD 
  • Mood swings 
  • Social disorders 

Collecting Damages for Nerve Injuries After a Car Crash 

Washington State law makes it possible for victims of nerve damage to collect damages from any liable parties that contributed to the cause of their injuries.  

You may be able to collect monetary damages for: 

  • Medical expenses, including future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of earning potential 
  • Medications
  • Medical devices 
  • Medical supplies 
  • Rehabilitation and therapy 
How can you collect these damages, and ensure that you are awarded a fair amount? The experienced personal injury legal team at Max Meyers Law has various strategies for calculating economic and non-economic damages so you can regain the quality of life you deserve. We’ll help you collect evidence in your case, argue for your rights against insurance companies and in court, if necessary, and make certain you get the best outcome possible.
Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.