What Is Nerve Damage?

Nerve damage is an injury to our nerves. Nerves are part of a “telephone wiring” system for our bodies. They pass messages between our brain and the rest of our body. (1)

“A nerve injury can affect your brain’s ability to communicate with your muscles and organs. Damage to the peripheral nerves is called peripheral neuropathy.” (2)

Types of Nerve Damage

Our nerves and nervous system are involved in everything our bodies do. They regulate our breathing, control our muscles, and sense heat and cold.

Bodies are made up of three types of nerves. We can experience three general types of nerve damage: (3)

  • Autonomic nerve damage – control involuntary or only partially voluntary bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
  • Motor nerve damage – control muscle movement and action.
  • Sensory nerve damage – send information from our skin and muscles to our spinal cord and brain. Our brain then recognizes pain, cold, heat, and other sensations.

Causes of Nerve Damage

Our bodies are incredibly complex. It may sound hard to believe, but there are actually over 100 different types of nerve damage. People can suffer nerve damage and pain due to cancer and diabetes, among other illnesses. (4)

Compression or trauma are other possible causes of severe and irreversible pain and disability. Anything at all injuring your nerves cause damage and nerve pain — a pinched nerve, crush injury, even carpal tunnel syndrome. Examples of compression and trauma injuries include: (5)

  • Vehicle accidents – Every year, around two million people suffer permanent injuries due to car accidents. Death from car accidents is also an unfortunate reality. In one year alone, over 40,000 people died due to traffic accidents. (6)
  • Construction and other worksites – More than 90 people died in a New York City work-related accident in one year. The same year, over 140,000 people were injured or made ill in nonfatal work-related accidents. Passersby can also be harmed if proper warnings and precautions aren’t posted. (7) (8)
  • Fires and explosions – The City of New York Fire Department reported there were over 40,000 fires across the city in a year. Burn injuries can result in peripheral neuropathy and nerve compression syndromes. These conditions can “lead to substantial morbidity.” (9) (10)
  • Slip and falls – You can seriously hurt yourself if you slip and fall. If you hit your head, for example, you could suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can cause nerve damage and pain, or even death. In one year, nearly 61,000 people died after sustaining a TBI. (11) (12)
  • Laceration/cut to the nerve – Nerves can be damaged by a cut. If so, it may no longer be able to transmit signals to your brain because the connection is broken. You could accidentally sustain a serious injury using a defective tool, piece of equipment, or appliance. This can happen either in your workplace or at home. (13)

If you or anyone you know has suffered a nerve damage injury, contact us for a free case evaluation.

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Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Depending on the nerves damaged and how the damage occurred, you can experience a variety of symptoms. Symptoms of damage to the nerves controlling your muscle movement include: (14)

  • Weakness.
  • Muscle atrophy.
  • Twitching.
  • Paralysis.

Symptoms of damage to the nerves controlling your ability to recognize sensation include: (15)

  • Pain.
  • Sensitivity.
  • Numbness.
  • Tingling.
  • Burning.

Symptoms of damage to your autonomic nerves include: (16)

  • Lightheadedness.
  • Dry eyes and mouth.
  • Too much or too little sweating.
  • Constipation.
  • Bladder problems.

Diagnosing and Proving Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can happen in many ways. To diagnose you, doctors need to perform a full physical exam, as well as a neurological exam. For the neurological exam, your doctor checks things like your reflexes, muscle strength, level of sensation, and coordination. (17)

Your doctor may also use these types of diagnostic tests: (18)

  • Blood tests – Blood tests can reveal vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, and abnormal immune function.
  • Imaging tests such as a CT or MRI – These scans can show possible herniated disks, pinched or compressed nerves, or tumors affecting your blood vessels and bones.
  • Nerve function tests, such as an EMG – An electromyography “records electrical activity in your muscles.” This test may detect nerve damage resulting from an accident. Other nerve function tests can record how your autonomic nerve fibers are working and check to see if your body is able to sweat. They can record how well you are able to sense touch, vibration, cooling, and heat.
  • Nerve biopsy – Your doctor removes a small portion of one of your nerves to check for an unusual response.
  • Skin biopsy – Your doctor removes a tiny bit of skin and looks for a reduction in your nerve endings.


Were you or a loved one injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, and you suffered nerve damage, you may be eligible for compensation from the party at fault. For example, in rules of the road, someone else may be responsible for causing your vehicle accident.

Accidents can happen anywhere. People who own or maintain properties are expected to safeguard their employees and the public from hazards.

On or near a construction site, the property owner or general contractor might be responsible if something falls and hits you or if you fall on an unsafe walkway. Premises liability may be a consideration if you get hurt falling in a restaurant bathroom, a grocery store, or the parking lot of a big box store.

Maybe you were injured while using certain tools or a piece of equipment for your job. Or maybe you bought a product of some kind, leading to serious injury. Manufacturers and distributors of the equipment and those products may be held responsible for your injury.

If you or anyone you know has suffered a nerve damage injury, contact us for a free case evaluation.

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How W&L Can Help

Weitz & Luxenberg is a national, recognized law firm serving clients for over 30 years. We were founded with one main purpose: to help people seriously harmed by the actions of others.

We are located in the heart of New York City and have represented clients from all over the state. Every state’s specific rules and laws are different. If you were injured in New York, we encourage you to consult with an attorney who has the New York wrongful death and personal injury laws down pat.

Plus, look for a firm with a solid history of winning. Weitz & Luxenberg has won over $18 billion on behalf of our clients over the years. Here are just a few notable successes:

  • $100,000s settlement – A woman lives with irreversible brain and nerve damage, pain, and other medical complications. She suffers because a suitcase fell from an overhead bin on an airplane and landed on her. We sued the airline and settled this lawsuit out of court for six figures.
  • $20.5 million verdict – A man suffered permanent nerve damage and paralysis when a hit-and-run driver slammed into his car. The court ruled in our client’s favor because of the defendant’s extreme recklessness and negligence.
  • $Multimillion settlement – A young man has to live the rest of his life with nerve damage and paralysis. It happened because he fell 25 feet from an apartment building’s unsafe, second-story walkway. He landed on the pavement. The building owner failed to meet city safety codes.