There are few more complicated subjects in the fields of anatomy and medicine that the human nervous system. It consists of both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is the complex of nerve tissues that control all of the activities of the body, and in humans, consists of the brain and the spinal canal. The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerve tissue in the rest of our bodies, including our arms and legs. As discussed elsewhere in our website, the Zinn Law Firm is experienced in handling injuries to the central nervous system, including traumatic brain injury and injury to the spinal cord that can result in partial or complete paralysis. We also have extensive experience handling chronic pain conditions like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and fibromyalgia that arguably are created by an anomalous paid feedback phenomenon that involve both the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Injuries to the peripheral nervous system can also be devastating. Often a traumatic bodily injury that results in fractures and lacerations can also involve injury to peripheral nerves. For example, we have handled a number of cases involving traumatic injury to an individual’s face that result in fractures of the bones of the face and jaw that can also result in severed nerves in and around the face, mouth or lips. These injuries sometimes heal fully, but sometimes they have permanent effects that can include drooling, inability to enunciate, difficulty eating or chewing food, as well as interference with kissing and sexual intimacy.
The attorneys at The Zinn Law Firm also have had extensive experience dealing with injury to nerves in the legs and arms. We have represented a number of clients who have suffered direct or compression injury to the femoral nerve and/or sciatic nerve either due to traumatic fracture or due to improper technique or monitoring during surgeries. Injury to these nerves can result in a condition often referred to as “foot drop” where essentially the patient loses the ability to flex her ankle or toes, and instead the foot remains permanently extended, dragging on the ground if a corrective orthotic brace is not used. We have represented clients who have suffered these type of lower limb nerve injuries due to internal bleeding during hip replacement procedures that was not properly monitored post operatively, or when nerves are lacerated or overly stretched during surgical procedures. We have also seen clients who have suffered nerve compression and foot drop after serious, complex fractures that result in heterotopic ossification. Heterotopic ossification, or HO, is a condition when a fractured bone “over-heals” and creates new bone in tissue where there was none before. In some case, the HO growth can result in new bony structures that impinge on, or even completely encapsulate, nerve tissue, resulting in enological deficits like foot drop and other motor nerve compromise that affects the client’s ability to walk.
The peripheral nervous system consists of both motor and sensory nerves. Injury to sensory nerves can cause unrelating neuropathy, or neurological pain. There are many effective medications that can help our clients deal with neuropathic pain, such as Gabapentin and Lyrica, as two examples. However, these medications themselves can often produce significant, negative side effects that many of our clients have found difficult to tolerate.
Another issue many of our peripheral nervous system injury clients encounter is the uncertainty of whether their injury will ever improve. Injured nerves, even those that are partially or completely lacerated, often have that ability to grow back over time. Sometimes our clients’ physicians advise that it can take up to two or three years for the body to heal as much as it can from injuries to the nerves in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. For this reason, we often need to wait before attempting to resolve a nerve injury case because it may take several years before we know whether our clients uneven gate, lisp, or persistent nerve pain is permanent, or may at least resolve somewhat.
There are a number of diagnostic test our nerve injury clients can undergo that often help to inform them and their physicians as to the nature and degree of peripheral nerve injury. These tests can include electromyography (EMG) examinations and nerve conduction testing. Yet even this testing while often effective at identifying an injury cannot accurately predict whether or not a peripheral nerve injury will ever improve. Sometimes time, and a patient attorney who will not rush your case to settlement so he can get paid, are the best ways to make sure you are fully compensated for an accident resulting in nerve injury. At the Zinn Law Firm, we understand this and will not rush you to consider settling or trying your peripheral nerve injury claims until you are ready, and until as much information about your prognosis is known to you and your physician.