If you are in a car accident, you must immediately check yourself for signs of physical injury. Regrettably, though, some injury symptoms may not appear until well after an accident happens. By going to the emergency room for a full medical evaluation, you reduce your odds of missing or ignoring a potentially life-changing injury.
Nerve injuries are some of the more common delayed injuries in car accidents. If you have a peripheral nerve injury, you may not realize you need medical care until hours, days or even weeks after the collision.
Your peripheral nervous system
You have a central nervous system that includes your brain and spinal cord. To deliver movement and sensation signals from your brain to the rest of your body, you also have a peripheral nervous system. This system contains 43 pairs of motor and sensory nerves that affect virtually everything you do and feel.
A peripheral nerve injury
The trauma you sustain in a car accident may damage one or more of your peripheral nerves. If you have a peripheral nerve injury, you may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Excruciating and continuous pain
- A burning or tingling sensation
- Loss of motion or sensation
Doctors use the Sunderland classification system to describe the seriousness of peripheral nerve injuries. With this system, a first-degree injury is minor, while a fifth-degree one is potentially catastrophic. An MRI, MRI neurography or CT scan may help doctors diagnose a peripheral nerve injury.
While doctors usually have a variety of options for repairing peripheral nerve injuries, your treatment plan may be expensive. Ultimately, pursuing financial compensation from the driver who caused the accident may give you the means to pay for your recovery.