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Ruptured Discs after a Car Accident: How They Can Impact You (And the Compensation You Deserve)

What is a slipped disc?

 

Did you suffer ruptured or slipped discs in a car accident? Unfortunately, ruptured or herniated discs occur all too frequently in car accidents. Slipped or herniated discs often cause immense, severe lower back pain as the disc presses on the root of a nerve, sending pain shooting down one leg. Spinal nerves can be damaged. Pain and numbness can set in. Pressure on the spinal cord can cause problems.  Seeking medical advice when you have symptoms is important.

Victims may struggle with everyday tasks, from taking care of work responsibilities to engaging in normal self-care tasks.

If you suffered a ruptured disc in a car accident, the personal injury lawyers at Baumgartner Law Firm could help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Our car accident attorneys represent folks injured in car accidents and other accidents caused by negligence. Our lawyers are available to discuss your case and offer free consultations for injury claims in Texas. Our goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Our lawyers represent people injured in Texas, specifically Houston, Conroe, The Woodlands, Tomball, Humble, Katy, Sugarland, and Kingwood.

What is a Ruptured Disc?

A herniated, or ruptured, disc is an injury to the individual bones, also known as vertebrae, that make up your spinal cord. The Mayo Clinic notes that a herniated disc occurs when the disc’s soft, jellylike center, or the nucleus, slips out through the tougher, rubbery exterior. Herniation often leads to irritation in nearby nerves, resulting in pain or weakness in a nearby limb. Shooting pain from pressure on the spinal canal can be unbearable. Making daily activities tough.

This video gives a great explanation of what a herniated disc is and the impact it can have.

How Do Herniated Discs Occur?

Herniated discs may occur due to the extreme force of a car accident. Often, the sudden, jerky movement of the accident puts excess pressure on a specific area of the spine, leading to herniation or bulging of the disc. Older car accident victims may have a higher risk of disc herniation than younger ones since the spinal cord naturally degrades with wear and tear over time.

Diagnosis of a Herniation After an Accident

After a car accident, you may notice immediate, intense pain in your back accompanied by numbness in your limbs. The doctor in the emergency room may conduct an examination and recommend a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging MRI to document the physician’s suspicions regarding the ruptured disc.

X-rays taken in the emergency room cannot detect a herniated disc, so if you have ongoing pain after an accident and have not received a further scan, you may want to visit your doctor for further evaluation. You may need to ask for an MRI when symptoms do not improve with conservative treatment.

Our car accident lawyers often see instances where the herniation is not diagnosed for weeks or months after the accident. The ordinary situation is no MRI or CT scan is obtained until after conservative treatment of physical therapy fails.

What Are Symptoms of Disc Problems

Bulging or herniated discs can cause a range of problems, including:

  • Leg pain or weakness
  • Numbness or tingling along the affected nerves
  • Pain in the neck and back
  • Shooting pain in arms or legs

If you have pain in your neck or back that seems to extend to your limbs, you may need to see a doctor to rule out a ruptured or herniated disc. If the emergency room does X-rays after an accident and finds no breaks or fractures does not mean you do not have disc problems.

Seeking Treatment for a Herniated Disc

A doctor will often start by encouraging you to try pain management techniques and physical therapy options to help resolve your back pain. Sometimes, a herniated disc can heal independently without further medical intervention. Some patients, however, will not experience a natural resolution of their symptoms and may struggle with ongoing pain.

Surgery can provide one treatment option for herniated disc problems and pain after a car accident. Many of today’s procedures are much less invasive than the ones used 10 to 15 years ago, which makes surgery a much more viable option for dealing with ongoing herniated disc pain.

Surgery, however, may mean significantly increased expenses after your car accident–not to mention further time off work as you manage your recovery. Talk to your doctor about your available treatment options and how to get the best possible resolution to your herniated disc pain after a serious car accident.

The Insurance Company Often Challenges Herniated Disc Claims

Insurance adjusters tend to dispute the cause and value of a herniated disc after a car accident.  There are many reasons the insurance company will challenge the finding. Here are a few of the main issues from the adjuster’s side.

  • The diagnosis did not happen until weeks or months after the crash.
  • They dispute the crash was a cause of the diagnosis.
  • They claim the herniation was preexisting or related to degeneration, not the crash.

Despite the diagnosis of a treating doctor, if a lawsuit is filed, the defense may seek to have a defense doctor examine you in an IME. Those doctors are widely known to testify the crash did not cause the condition regardless of the facts. Discuss your case with a spine injury lawyer in Houston with a free consultation by calling (281) 587-1111.

 

What Compensation Do You Deserve After a Herniated Disc in a Car Accident?

If you suffered a herniated disc in a car accident, you might deserve substantial compensation for your injuries. Herniated discs can bring with them immense pain and suffering as well as considerable medical bills. After your diagnosis, talking with a car accident attorney in Houston is a good idea. When determining how much compensation you deserve, consider these key elements.

What medical treatment did you receive for the herniated discs?

Herniated disc treatment may begin in the hospital emergency room. You may have x-rays immediately after the accident to ensure that you do not have visible spinal cord damage.

Unfortunately, those x-rays may not show disc herniation since the herniation does not occur in the bone. You may see your doctor for a follow-up as the pain continues long after the accident, or the emergency room doctor may recommend a CT scan or MRI to check for possible disc herniation.

Then, you may need to look for solutions to your pain. Some accident victims may resolve their pain with physical therapy and lifestyle changes. Temporary resolutions may include heat or cold therapy or pain medication.

If healing does not progress naturally on its own, patients may need to undergo surgery to correct disc herniation. As a result, you may have significantly increased overall medical bills: not just the cost of the surgery itself, but the cost of physical therapy following the surgery and follow-ups with your doctor.

All those medical costs can add up quickly after a car accident. Fortunately, you can include the cost of your medical expenses as part of your injury claim.

Cases where the victim requires surgery to repair the herniated disc are valued much higher than a pre-operated herniation even when the doctor recommends surgery. Settlements for pre-operated herniations can run from tens of thousands to six figures, depending on liability facts and insurance coverage.

Claims after surgery can settle for six or even seven figures.

After a car accident, how much work did you miss due to your herniated disc?

After your car accident, you may need to miss significant time at work due to herniated disc pain and complications. Herniated disc pain can make sitting at a desk or taking care of lifting activities impossible. Your doctor may put you under significant restrictions while you recover from your injuries, or you might not have the ability to go back to work due to ongoing pain.

All that missed time at work can lead to significant lost income, which you can include as part of your injury claim. Here is an article where we discuss other damages in personal injury cases in Texas.

Did You Suffer a Herniated Disc in an Accident Caused by Another Driver’s Negligence?

If you suffered a herniated disc in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the car accident attorneys at Baumgartner Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers could help. Contact us today for a free consultation about your right to a personal injury claim.

Call (281) 587-1111 for a free case evaluation or email us!

 

Greg Baumgartner

attorney greg baumgartner

Greg Baumgartner has practiced personal injury law since 1984. He holds not one but two law degrees and is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College. He is licensed in Texas and Colorado. Mr. Baumgartner has earned a reputation for exemplary results for his clients. And has been preeminent rated for decades and recognized by Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Expertise, Newsweek, Houstonia magazine, and many others. He has given educational talks to lawyers and many media interviews regarding personal injury cases.