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Trigeminal Neuralgia After an Accident

pain

One of the most painful neurological conditions is trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Also called tic douloureux, it is often described as the worst pain a human may ever experience as it affects the trigeminal nerve, the fifth of 12 cranial nerves. Some patients may experience TN because of a brain lesion or other type of abnormality. In other cases, facial trauma, stroke, or surgical injuries may cause trigeminal neuralgia.

If you have suffered trigeminal neuralgia in an accident caused by another party or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, call our law firm today for free, friendly case advice from one of our personal injury lawyers in the Sacramento area at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Since 1982, our skilled attorneys have helped injured parties receive the financial compensation they need and deserve in their personal injury cases. We have extensive experience handling brain trauma cases, including those involving tic douloureux. Our lawyers will stand by your side and have your best interests at heart throughout the process. For information on your rights and potential options for recovery as a party injured in an incident caused by negligence, please contact our legal team today to arrange a free consultation.

What are the Signs of Trigeminal Neuralgia?

The symptoms of tic douloureux may include some of the following patterns:

  • Attacks that evolve into higher intensity and frequency with time
  • Constant burning sensations or aching that may happen before it has developed into the spasm-like pain of TN
  • Episodic attacks that may last days, weeks, or even months
  • Jabbing, shooting, or severe pain may be described as an electrical shock
  • A localized pain in one area or along the face in a wide pattern
  • Pain that is experienced in the areas in which the trigeminal nerve supplies, such as the lips, gums, teeth, jaw, cheek, and in less frequent cases, the forehead and the eye

It is essential to see a physician if you are experiencing facial nerve pain, mainly recurring or prolonged pain or pain that has not been relieved through the use of over-the-counter oral analgesics.

What Can Irritate the Trigeminal Nerve?

Stimuli that may initiate the pain of TN include:

  • Applying makeup
  • Brushing teeth
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Shaving
  • Smiling
  • Talking
  • Touching and washing the face
How is Tic Douloureux Categorized?

Trigeminal neuralgia is placed in two categories, including:

  • Classic TN: This is the most common form of tic douloureux and generally involves vascular compression of the nerve.
  • Symptomatic TN: This is the least common form of TN and occurs when a patient presents with all the signs and symptoms of tic douloureux, but no clinical evidence suggests nerve compression.
How is Trigeminal Neuralgia Treated?

In an initial encounter with a patient presenting with tic douloureux, a physician may prescribe medications to block or lessen the pain signals that are transmitted to the brain. These may include:

  • Anticonvulsants: If the effectiveness of the anticonvulsant decreases, a physician may switch the medication or increase the dosage. Potential side effects may include nausea, drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness.
  • Antispasmodic Agents: A muscle-relaxing agent may be used in combination with carbamazepine or alone for neuropathic pain relief. Possible side effects from antispasmodic agents include nausea, drowsiness, and confusion.
  • Botox Injections: Studies have suggested that patients with tic douloureux have reported pain relief from onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) injections when medications no longer help.
Is Surgery Necessary for Tic Douloureux?

A patient may be considered a surgical candidate when intolerance is reported from the side effects of prescription medications or decreased effectiveness of drug therapy for pain management. Some of the surgical options for TN may include:

  • Balloon Compression: The purpose of this surgical technique is to disrupt the pathway the causes chronic pain by compressing the trigeminal nerve. A needle is inserted through the cheek into the trigeminal nerve. An opening is created in the skull through the foramen ovale. A small balloon is inserted through the catheter placed in the area and is expanded for nerve compression. A patient undergoing this type of surgical procedure is administered general anesthesia.
  • Brain Stereotactic Radiosurgery: A gamma knife is often used for stereotactic radiosurgery, a minimally invasive surgical technique used to treat vascular malformations, tumors, and other abnormalities in which the brain is presenting. The procedure involves submillimeter accuracy by using specialized equipment to focus approximately 200 beams of radiation on a brain abnormality. The precision of this surgical technique often results in a minimum delivery of radiation to healthy tissues surrounding the affected area within the brain.
  • Glycerol Injection: A surgeon will administer a small amount of alcohol (glycerol) into the area where the trigeminal nerve exits the skull. The purpose of the glycerol injection is to numb the trigeminal nerve, eliminating some of the short, eliminating some of the nerve's short-circuiting fibers, and ultimately providing through the cheek and directed through a small opening in the base of the skull where the trigeminal nerve lies. This procedure generally involves a patient placed under mild sedation.
  • Microvascular Decompression (MVD): This surgical procedure involves the relief of abnormal compression of the trigeminal nerve. It consists of a craniotomy, a technique surgeons use to open the skull and insert a sponge between the artery responsible for triggering pain signals and the nerve. The trigger may be a branch of the petrosal vein and the superior cerebellar artery. MVD seeks to remove compression of the nerve, further relieving pain symptoms.
  • Radiofrequency Thermal Lesioning: This minimally invasive technique involves a special needle used to create lesions in the patient's nerve. These transmit high-frequency radio waves to produce heat and damage to the affected nerve. This process also helps reduce or eliminate neuropathic pain by blocking signals to the brain. A small amount of local anesthetic is generally administered before the surgical technique to help the patient relax and tolerate any discomfort in which may be experienced during radiofrequency thermal lesioning.
Can You Seek Compensation for an Accident-Related Injury?

California law allows injured parties the right to seek financial recovery of economic and non-economic damages in connection to an accident caused by someone else's negligence. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Financial compensation may be sought through a personal injury claim filed against the at-fault party and their insurance company.

What is Comparative Fault and How May it Affect a Personal Injury Case?

Comparative negligence refers to the contribution of one's own traumatic injuries through a negligent act. In California, it is not uncommon for claims adjusters to allege that an accident was caused by the claimant's own neglect to fulfill a duty of care or an exacerbation of injuries from the delay in seeking medical treatment. Suppose the insurer is successful in disputing liability for the incident through a comparative fault defense. In that case, the amount of compensation awarded to the claimant may be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to that individual. In other words, the injured party may still be eligible for financial compensation, but it would be a fraction of the amount they would have been entitled to otherwise.

In other cases, an insurance carrier may attempt to minimize liability by claiming that accident-related injuries were preexisting and unrelated to the incident. The insurance company may prove that trigeminal neuralgia existed before the accident and that the collision did not cause the medical condition in question. Keep in mind that a preexisting injury does not necessarily prevent a claimant from seeking financial compensation. It may mean that the burden of proof lies on the claimant for establishing that the accident worsened their preexisting medical condition. This may be accomplished through evidence like medical records.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help After an Accident

An experienced injury lawyer may help an injured party in many ways after a traumatic incident caused by another party or entity. Many injured parties may be entitled to financial compensation for economic and non-economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses. However, some people may accept settlements that are worth far less than the full and fair value of their case because they do not have an accident attorney advocating for them. With legal counsel, you may increase your chances of receiving a favorable case outcome and avoid being taken advantage of by difficult insurance companies. An attorney may help by:

  • Conducting an independent investigation of all contributing factors to the incident
  • Identifying all at-fault parties who may be held liable for damages incurred
  • Handling communications and negotiations with insurance companies
  • Assessing all economic and non-economic damages, including estimated future costs
  • Consulting with expert witnesses and other professionals
  • Filing a lawsuit if all attempts at a fair settlement fail with the insurer
  • Building a solid case to present in civil court

An experienced accident attorney understands California's personal injury laws and will know how to negotiate with the insurance carrier to obtain a full and fair settlement amount. Without a lawyer, you may be at a significant disadvantage when attempting to negotiate with the insurer on your own for losses incurred. Watch this video to learn how to find the best personal injury lawyer to represent you.

Contact a Trigeminal Neuralgia Attorney Today

After a traumatic accident, your attention should be focused on recovering from your injuries. The last thing you should have to deal with following a crash is difficult insurance companies looking to minimize or invalidate your bodily injury claim for trigeminal neuralgia. When you retain legal counsel, you can concentrate on getting better while your attorney handles all aspects of your case.

Our law firm has over three decades of experience handling cases like yours. To learn how we can help you, call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. Our personal injury lawyers are available anytime to meet with you, go over the details of your case, and provide free, friendly advice on how to move forward in your situation.

Photograph Source: By "Sammy-Williams" via Pixabay

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