Loss of Limb and Nerve Damage
Loss of limb and nerve damage are two of the most devastating results caused by injuries suffered in a car accident or by some other means that was not your fault. It can take years before a person who has lost a limb learns how to function efficiently again, and the psychological scars may last even longer.
Nerve damage is an injury that can cause chronic pain and leave similar mental scars as the loss of a limb. Nerve damage can restrict a victim’s activities and make it impossible for that person to resume work or to enjoy recreational time.
Although loss of limb and nerve damage claims are not as commonly known and understood as other types of personal injury claims, they often exact a significant toll on the financial and emotional resources of victims and their loved ones. It is therefore important to dive deeper into these types of injuries, so that victims and their families are better prepared for the road ahead.
Facts To Know About Loss of Limb
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 500 people in the U.S. lose a limb each day.
The CDC defines limb loss as the “loss of all or part of an arm or leg due to trauma, infection, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or other diseases. There is an estimated 1.9 million people living with limb loss in the U.S. Annually, the immediate health costs for limb amputations – not including costs for prosthetic devices (artificial limbs) or rehabilitation costs – total more than $8.3 billion.”
The main causes of loss of limb are vascular disease (54 percent), followed by trauma (45 percent) – which includes car accidents.
The Mental Toll of Losing a Limb
Years after a person loses a limb, the physical pain may wear off, but the psychological effects linger.
The Amputee Coalition warns that the loss of self-confidence, self-esteem and a feeling of not quite being whole often accompany the loss of a limb.
People who lose a limb may also feel as if loved ones no longer view them in the same way, and they are also faced with the challenge of navigating tasks that were once simple, but are now far more complicated.
Body perception also changes after a person loses a limb, and that can lead to issues with depression, withdrawal from social circles and feelings of isolation.
What Are Nerve Damage Injuries?
Nerve damage injuries are defined as any type of trauma that blocks, interferes with or damages the nerves and the nerve structure in the body.
Per the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, doctors use the Sunderland Classification System to classify nerve injuries in five ways:
- First-degree – A reversible injury that involves a temporary nerve blockage that often does not require surgery. Patients typically recover function within a few hours to a few weeks.
- Second-degree – Affects the axons or electrical currents in the nerve. It may require surgery, depending on the severity of the damage.
- Third-degree – An injury that damages the axons and supporting nerve structure. This injury may require cleaning out the nerve or repairing damaged nerves through grafting.
- Fourth-degree – There is extensive damage to the nerve and the tissue around the nerve that often requires surgery.
- Fifth-degree – An injury in which the nerve is severed and requires surgical repairing.
Causes of Nerve Damage
Nerve damage can occurs for many different reasons, but the most common are:
- Gunshot wound
- Stretch or traction
- Drug injection