How to Know If You Have Nerve Damage After a Car Accident

car accident victim feeling numbness after an accident
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Weeks after a car accident, some people start feeling numbness in their legs or arms. Or they begin suffering from headaches or muscle spasms. The accident victim probably has nerve damage as a result of the car accident. However, there is a good chance they do not connect their new health issues with the car wreck.

Car accident attorneys say it is critical for those who have been in a crash to learn about the symptoms of nerve damage. Then, they will know if they need to go to a doctor to get checked out. If the doctor finds they do have nerve damage as a result of a car accident, a report from the doctor is an important piece of evidence in any legal action the victim pursues against the person responsible for the wreck.  

How Do I Know If I Have Nerve Damage After a Car Accident?

If a car crash victim has broken a bone or gotten stitches after a car accident, there is a good chance they have nerve damage. That is because the swelling around the injuries might have damaged a nerve; they can’t see the injury, but they can feel it. An accident victim might also experience one or more of these symptoms of nerve damage:

  • Numbness,
  • Tingling in the limbs,
  • Arms or legs falling asleep when they are compressed,
  • Shooting pain, most commonly in and around the spine,
  • Prickly or burning sensations,
  • Pain where you were not injured, such as damage to the sciatic nerve at the base of the spine causing pain down the leg,
  • Weak muscles,
  • Muscle spasms,
  • Slow reflexes,
  • Trouble with balance,
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded,
  • Headaches,
  • Bladder or bowel control issues, and
  • Sexual dysfunction.

Many people hurt their backs in car crashes. The nerves around their spines are damaged and they have shooting or radiating pain as a result. Arms also have a lot of nerve damage after wrecks. 

Diagnosing and Treating Nerve Damage

Doctors decide how to treat nerve damage based on a patient’s symptoms and the results of lab tests. A doctor’s exam for nerve damage usually includes:

  • Taking a pulse at several places on the body;
  • Testing a person’s reflexes;
  • Looking closely at their skin and seeing how it reacts to heat and cold and whether it is extra-sensitive; and
  • Advanced tests like nerve and skin biopsies.

A doctor will do tests to know which nerves are damaged. Three types of nerve injuries are most common:

  • Pinched nerves or whiplash. Most people heal from pinched nerves in six to eight weeks.
  • Crushed nerves. Violent wrecks can crush nerves. Some people recover; others are paralyzed for the rest of their life.
  • Severely crushed or severed nerves. Some patients heal in some ways, but few regain full control of their bodies.  

Symptoms of nerve damage after a car accident can persist for years. While some symptoms improve over time, others worsen. Crash victims can improve their chances of healing by going to a doctor right away after an accident.

Even when a doctor knows the kind of nerve injury involved, the time it takes to heal can vary a lot—from weeks to years. When there is a good chance of healing, some patients go to physical therapy and/or chiropractors to feel better. Others take pain medication. 

Image by Rich Legg by

What Do Lawyers Have to Do With Nerve Damage After a Car Accident?

Nerve damage from a car crash can affect a person’s life forever. They may need to change jobs, stop playing sports, or even curtail walks around the block. When someone else causes the crash, they need to pay for the victim’s  wrecked car, doctor’s bills, time when they can’t work, and their  pain and suffering.

A crash victim is much more likely to get what they are due with a car accident attorney on their side. The attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch stand up to insurance companies who don’t want to pay their part. When a victim asks for our help, we will:

  • Find out who and what caused the crash. 
  • Ask their doctor about their exam for nerve damage. Their report will become evidence in the victim’s legal case. (Reminder: Crash victims need to get a doctor to look at them as soon as they notice symptoms of nerve damage after a car accident.)
  • Review police reports. 
  • Look at the victim’s medical bills.
  • Add up damages.

When we add up the crash victim’s damages, we count everything the crash has cost them. Insurance companies don’t. The insurance company will usually offer a lump sum payment—a settlement—that is much smaller than the list of damages we calculate.

Two Ways Lawyers Go After Insurance Companies

At Hipskind & McAninch, we give our clients two choices when they seek more money from an insurance company:

  1. Ask the other party for a settlement right away. A settlement is a cash payment to cover medical dues, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We represent our clients at any settlement meetings. When they settle out of court, they will get the money they need right away. Plus, we won’t need to convince a judge or jury that the other party is guilty.
  2. File a lawsuit. This way involves waiting for a payment because both sides need time to get ready for a trial. If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will decide if the other person needs to pay for damages.  

The Hipskind and McAninch law team has helped many, many car crash victims get the money they are due. We are ready to help you. Trust us to get you a fair settlement for your ordeal. Contact us today to arrange a free first meeting. Fill out our web form or 618-312-1515.  


Car Accidents