Cranial Nerve Injury

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A cranial nerve is any of the 12 paired nerves that arise from the lower surface of the brain, with one of each pair on each side passing through openings in the skull to the periphery of the body. The cranial nerves are the only nerves that run directly from the brain, and they control all facial and throat movements, swallowing, speech function, and tear production. All other nerves in the body run from the spinal cord.

There are many causes for cranial nerve injury, including head trauma or brain injury, fetal positioning or forceps pressure, and other medical causes. In fact, cranial nerves can be damaged during a variety of surgical procedures, with the facial nerve being the most susceptible to injury of all the cranial nerves. Damage to the facial nerve can result in the loss of the taste sensation on one half of the tongue and the inability to produce tears. This nerve is also susceptible to paralysis, which can result in devastating social, financial, and mental consequences for the victim.

Different cranial nerves evoke different symptoms when they are injured. The olfactory nerve, a special sensory, can be particularly susceptible to injury, which results in a change in the sense of smell. The optic nerve is considered a special sensory, and can damage the sensation of vision. The oculomotor nerve, a somatic and visceral motor, when it is completely injured, results in the drooping of the upper eyelid, the inability of the pupil to constrict in light, and the inability to look up. Damage to the trochlear nerve, a somatic motor, travels the longest course of any cranial nerve within the skull, will cause an eye to rotate outwards. The trigeminal nerve is a somatic sensory and somatic motor nerve, which affect the sensation of touch to the face as well as the movement of the muscles in chewing. The abducens nerve is a somatic motor and controls the movements of the eye. The auditory/vestibular nerve is a special sensory nerve and affects the sensation of hearing and balance. Then there is the glossopharyngeal nerve, which is a somatic and visceral motor nerve and a special and visceral sensory nerve. It affects the movement of the muscles within the throat, the control of salivary glands, the sensation of taste on one-third of the tongue, and the detection of blood pressure changes in the aorta. The vagus nerve is a visceral motor in control of the heart, abdominal organs, and lungs. The spinal accessory is a somatic motor and controls the movement of muscles in the neck and throat. Lastly, there is the hypoglossal nerve, a somatic motor that controls the movement of the tongue.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident that results in cranial nerve injury, or has undergone a medical procedure that resulted in cranial a nerve injury, you should hire a brain injury lawyer or attorney. They are professionals who specialize in personal injury and who can help you recover damages suffered due to your injuries. Because there may numerous factors involved in a cranial nerve injury case, the amount of compensation you receive will vary greatly state to state. You may be awarded damages for medical costs, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earnings, and mental anguish.

Because each state has its own set of accident, malpractice, and personal injury laws, it's best to hire a brain injury lawyer or attorney with a focus on personal injury and medical malpractice. This way, they will have a deep understanding of the types of cranial nerve injuries, and they will be well versed in your state's statutes and laws relative to personal injury, cranial nerve injury, and medical malpractice.

It's best not to wait to contact a brain injury lawyer or attorney, as statutes of limitations apply in most states. Procrastinating could greatly affect the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries.


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