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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. Often, slipped, or herniated, discs 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 their everyday activities, from taking care of work responsibilities to engaging in normal self-care tasks.

If you suffered a ruptured disc in a car accident, Baumgartner Law Firm can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

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. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, a herniated disc occurs when the soft, jellylike center, or the nucleus, of the disc, slips out through the tougher, rubbery exterior. When herniation occurs, it often leads to irritation in nearby nerves, which may result 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 as a result of 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 suffering disc herniation than younger ones since the spinal cord naturally degrades with wear and tear over time.


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 assertively ask for an MRI when symptoms do not improve with conservative treatment.

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.

Seeking Treatment for a Herniated Disc

Most often, a doctor will 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 on its own, without further medical intervention. Some patients, however, will not experience a natural resolution of their symptoms and may find themselves struggling 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 what treatment options you have available and how to get the best possible resolution to your herniated disc pain after a serious car accident.

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

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

What medical treatments did you receive for your herniated disc?

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 to the bone. You may then 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 on 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 in order 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 in the aftermath of a car accident. Fortunately, you can include the cost of your medical expenses as part of your personal injury claim.

How much work did you have to miss as a result of your herniated disc after a car accident?

After your car accident, you may need to miss significant time at work as a result of herniated disc pain and complications. Herniated disc pain can make it impossible to sit at a desk or to take care of any lifting activities at all. 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 personal injury claim.

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  Accident & Injury Lawyers can 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.