One injury that may stem from a car accident is a herniated disk. A herniated disk, also referred to as a bulging disk, refers to damage to one of the rubbery cushions between spinal vertebrae. These injuries are common in car accidents. A herniated disk can cause numbness, tingling, and pain that goes down the back and legs, worsening with movement and activity.
Herniated disk victims may struggle to deal with many daily tasks they are used to, especially tasks that involve lifting, bending, or long periods of activity. Herniated disk pain often runs into the arms and legs and may lead to weakness in a limb. Depending on the extent of a herniated disk injury and its impact on a victim’s life, necessary treatment may require physical therapy, chronic pain management, and surgery.
Naturally, those who suffer herniated disk injuries in car accidents seek compensation from responsible parties. This blog goes over some of what you can expect in bringing a car accident claim when you suffered a herniated disc in an automobile crash.
How Much Is a Herniated Disk Car Accident Worth?
Nobody knows for sure how much someone can recover from a herniated disk car accident settlement, since many factors determine the amount a victim might receive. Victims are best off consulting an experienced herniated disk case attorney who will be better positioned to provide an estimated case value once the victim explains the complete circumstances of their case. The following factors will come into play.
Who Caused the Herniated Disk Car Accident?
The amount a herniated disk car accident victim may recover depends in part on the identity of the party or parties that caused or contributed to the accident. In some cases, multiple parties share responsibility for an accident and, therefore, legal liability for compensating the victim. Identifying multiple parties who contributed to the car accident may lead to higher compensation since a victim can file a car accident claim against each liable party.
Limits on a Liable Party’s Insurance Policy for Bodily Injury Coverage
The party that caused the herniated disk car accident will often carry insurance coverage that can provide compensation. Drivers generally must carry insurance with a minimum dollar amount for bodily injury liability coverage. Companies in the business of driving, such as Uber and Lyft, may carry plans with higher limits that can more completely compensate a herniated disk victim’s injuries.
If a commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck, caused the herniated disk accident, the truck driver or and the driver’s employer should carry insurance policies with higher policy limits, to more fully compensate a herniated disk victim’s injuries
Working to get insurance companies to pay out, however, can be difficult and complex, especially in a herniated disk accident with a high potential payout. For this reason alone, it is advisable for herniated disk car accident victims to consult an attorney. An attorney can estimate the value and strength of a case, which will help negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement.
Victims should not rely on an insurance company to tell them the maximum compensation they can recover for their herniated disk injuries. Insurance companies tend to pressure victims to accept low settlement offers before a victim has complete information to be aware of how much compensation they can actually recover. An attorney with experience in herniated disk car accident cases can thus end up getting a victim a much higher settlement than they could have obtained on their own.
Amount of Medical Bills From a Herniated Disk Car Accident
Herniated disks in the back or neck caused by a car accident often result in immediate and severe pain. Victims often go straight to the emergency room after the accident. In other cases, however, a victim’s pain may increase over time more gradually, or a victim may only notice pain a few days or even weeks after the accident.
Ideally, herniated disk victims should seek medical attention promptly after any auto accident, even a mild one, to ensure they are adequately treated and so that they preserve a record of their injuries. Prompt treatment can help decrease the ultimate effects of a herniated disk injury. Victims who seek medical attention long after the accident can still seek compensation for medical expenses related to your herniated disk, but they may face greater challenges in fighting for recovery.
Herniated disk car accident victims may rack up medical bills for:
- Tests. Herniated disk victims may go through X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and nerve tests to identify where the injury stems from and what treatment is necessary. A victim who does not notice herniated disk pain until well after the car accident may have to go through more testing to identify the injury.
- Pain medications. A minor herniated disk may require only over-the-counter pain medications. But, for many victims, over-the-counter pain medications are not potent enough to effectively manage pain. Patients may move on to cortisone injections, opioids, or muscle relaxers as they pursue relief from herniated disk pain.
- Physical therapy. While physical therapy cannot eliminate herniated disk pain, it can help strengthen the muscles around a herniated disk, decreasing pain and improving mobility over time. Some herniated disk car accident victims may engage in regular physical therapy for a long-after the accident, as physical therapists can help victims walk through the right exercises and provide expensive physical therapy equipment a victim does not own.
- Surgery. Surgeons can remove the herniated portion of the disk, leaving the rest of the spine intact and removing the cause of your pain. In some cases, however, a surgeon may need to remove the entirety of a herniated disk. Herniated disk car accident victims may need to pursue surgery immediately after the accident. As surgery can be hard on the body and risky, a victim may start with other methods for managing pain and weakness, such as physical therapy, and pursue surgery if those methods fail.
Work Missed Due to a Herniated Disk Car Accident
The amount of work a victim misses following a herniated disk car accident will vary depending on the severity of the injury and the victim’s job. Still, victims can often recover compensation for lost wages to some extent.
Take, for example, a factory worker who moves heavy objects and stays on his feet most of the day. Pain from the herniated disk car accident may prevent them from lifting and bending as well as they did before the accident. The longer they stay on their feet, the more their pain increases. Their pain prevents them from accomplishing their usual job duties, and their boss prefers that they stay out of work until they have a chance to heal and recover their usual capability. Such a worker’s recovery may take longer, and they may recover more compensation for lost wages.
On the other hand, a receptionist might encounter less struggle following a herniated disk car accident. The receptionist may find that, as long as they get up and move around every hour or so, they can complete their job duties without causing undue stress to their body. Their employer may allow them to make whatever modifications they need to manage their pain while accomplishing their usual job duties.
In this case, the receptionist cannot return to work even as they go through recovery. They may only miss a few days initially following the accident and a few more days to go in for treatment appointments. The receptionist may miss time at work to go to physical therapy, but their employer can adjust their schedule to make that possible. In this case, the potential amount to recover for lost wages will be less.
Herniated disk victims should work with their employers to figure out options for returning to work, including whether they can work on a modified schedule, have accommodations provided to manage the pain from your herniated disc, or work from home during your recovery.
Effects of a Herniated Disk Injury Can Affect You in Other Areas of Life
Victims of herniated disk car accidents may also seek compensation for pain and suffering and other impacts on their life resulting from the accident. Herniated disks can cause a great deal of physical pain. Depending on the extent of the injury, one cannot enjoy their usual hobbies or overall activity. Some factors that may contribute to the amount a victim can recover for such losses include:
The activities a victim has had to give up or limit because of a herniated disc. A victim may have engaged in numerous athletic pursuits, such as running, martial arts, or basketball before the herniated disk car accident. Pain from the herniated disk may completely destroy or greatly limit their ability to engage in those activities. A victim who was so active before will miss those activities and may struggle to find new hobbies they can engage in with their herniated disk injury. The extent of the loss here is great for the victim, and may contribute to how much they can recover.
Herniated disk injuries can impact more than just highly physical activities. Depending on the severity of the injuries and the extent of one’s pain, a victim may find it difficult to engage in activities they once enjoyed before the accident, such as walking through the mall for a shopping trip. Such a significant extent of activity limitation may increase the amount a victim can recover.
How social and personal relationships have suffered because of the herniated disc. As a herniated disk victim adapts their activities and overall lifestyle, they may find their social and personal relationships suffer. Many friends may remain involved in activities the victim can no longer participate in. Many car accident victims struggle to maintain their social connections, especially immediately after the accident. A herniated disk victim may lose their ability to engage in personal relationships, such as their partner or spouse, as they once did. These impacts can cause significant pain and suffering and increase the amount a herniated disk victim can recover.
Did you sustain a herniated disc in a car accident? Do you need help paying your bills? If a negligent driver caused your injury, contact a car accident lawyer can help you decide whether you have a good case for seeking compensation.