Our spinal injury lawyers represent clients who have suffered a herniated disc injury or bulging disc injury from a Michigan car accident. These serious injuries are painful, disabling, and life-altering.
We can get you a great settlement in your herniated disc case. If the insurance company denied your claim or cut off your benefits, you need our award-winning lawyers to start working on your case. We fight these cases every day and will get a great result for you.
What is a Herniated Disc or Bulging Disc?
A common back injury and neck injury, especially from trauma, is the herniated disc. The spine is made up of a series of connected bones called vertebrae. The disc is a combination of strong connective tissues which hold one vertebra to the next, and acts as a cushion between the vertebrae. The disc is made of a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus and a gel-like center called the nucleus pulposus.
Through trauma, like an accident, the center of the disc may lose water content, making the disc less effective as a cushion. This may cause a displacement of the disc’s center — a herniated or ruptured disc — through a crack in the outer layer.
A herniated lumbar disc can press on the nerves in the spine and may cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness of the leg called sciatica. A herniated lumbar disc may also cause back pain, although back pain alone (without leg pain) can have many causes other than a herniated disc.
Statistics show there are 5-20 reported herniated discs per 1000 adults annually, or less than 1% of the United States population.
The most common age range for this type of spinal injury is between the age of 30 and 50 years old. Men are two times more like to suffer a herniated disc than women.
Common Types of Herniated Discs
A car accident can cause a herniated disc at all different levels of the spine. The force of the impact of the crash and the type of the crash are different factors that cause the injury. For example, a rear-end accident may cause an injury in the lumbar spine while a front-end crash can cause a cervical disc injury.
A herniated disc in the lumbar spine (low back) can cause pain as well as sciatica. Sciatica, also referred to as radiculopathy, puts pressure on the nerves and causes burning, tingling, and numbness from the buttocks to the feet. Many patients refer to this sharp pain as feeling like an “electric shock.”
A herniated disc in the cervical spine (neck) causes pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades. The radiculopathy from this injury results in pain that radiates down to the arms, hands, and fingers. The feelings may increase during activity or with just movement of the neck.
Can a Car Accident Cause a Herniated Disc Injury?
Motor vehicles crashes are often the cause of a herniated disc injury. The trauma and force of the crash can cause the herniation to occur immediately or start the process of a herniated disc, or a bulging disc. The trauma moves the disc out of place, which is the herniation. It can then impinge on the spinal cord and nerves and cause great pain and discomfort to the victim.
If the disc actually breaks open, it is referred to as a ruptured disc. The fluid from the disc then puts even more pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord. This can be debilitating and disabling.
When these injuries occur, the victim can feel immediate severe pain or even a dull pain.
Quite often, the initial evaluation at the emergency department will result in a basic diagnosis of back pain. In fact, a radiology study taken shortly after the accident may even be interpreted as normal because the herniation or rupture had just begun the process.
Many times, it is not until weeks or even months later that the condition is finally diagnosed by a physician through an MRI or CT scan.
For other accident victims, the onset of pain many not even start for several weeks or months after the crash. It may initially feel like just a whiplash or minor back discomfort, but progress to more serious back pain. A medical workup at that time may lead to the diagnosis of a herniated disc.
The pie chart below shows the percentage share of accident types that led to spinal injuries in the United States in 2017. Automobile accidents led to the most amount of spinal injuries, accounting for roughly 38.40% of all spinal injuries.
- Automobile: 38.4%
- Falls: 30.5%
- Violence: 13.5%
- Sports: 8.9%
- Medical/surgical: 4.7%
- Other: 4.0%
What is a Pre-Existing Condition for a Herniated Disc?
Insurance companies and their paid doctors often argue that the accident victim had a pre-existing condition of the spine.
The insurance company doctor will likely review the MRI film and write an opinion that it was an old herniation, or a degenerative condition, and not related to the accident. Essentially, they argue the accident did not cause the herniated disc and they are not liable for medical bills, lost wages, or a compensation payout.
However, this argument is not very persuasive.
Even if your MRI shows some degeneration in your spine, which is not unusual for adults, the condition may have caused you no symptoms until after the accident.
If you were pain free before the accident, the crash likely aggravated your pre-existing condition and made it symptomatic. Under this scenario, the law provides that you are entitled to compensation and payment of insurance benefits.
Can I get a Herniated Disc with Minor Damage to the Cars?
Yes, you can herniate a disc in the neck or back even with minor damage to the vehicles.
The force involved in the crash is substantial enough to cause the injury. Motor vehicles are designed to absorb the impact from the crash, but the force that transfers to the occupants of the vehicle is enough to cause a herniated or bulging disc.
Insurance company adjusters and lawyers also argue that the crash was of such low impact that you could not have suffered a herniated disc. They will refer to the police accident report, photographs, of the vehicles, and the repair estimates to show there was minimal damage to the vehicles.
Adjusters will argue that the force of the crash was so minor that you could not have been injured. This defense tactic is common and can defeat your claim if you do not have an experienced lawyer on your side.
Our attorneys have the skill and experience to show this is a frivolous defense. We regularly win large settlements our clients on cases where this defense is argued by our opponents.
Types of Treatment for Disc Injuries
Treatment for these a herniated disc can often reduce pain and help increase activity.
Common treatments can include both surgery and non-surgical treatment. When possible, non-surgical treatment like rest, pain injections, and physical therapy can provide the needed relief.
When conservative treatment does not work, surgery is often the only option.
Surgeons perform a number of different types of procedures based upon the location and severity of the injury. These include laminectomies, discectomies, spinal fusions, and even the insertion of hardware.
Many times, even with treatment the accident victim is unable to return to work at or all or misses substantial time from work after a back surgery. There is also often a need for assistance around the home during the period of recovery and assistance with activities of daily living.
What Types Claims & Benefits Do I Have for a Herniated Disc Injury?
Under Michigan law, a car accident victim who suffers a herniated disc injury in an auto accident in Michigan is entitled to several types of insurance benefits.
The first claim is for Michigan no-fault insurance benefits, otherwise known as First Party or PIP benefits. These include payment of medical bills, lost wages, attendant care services, replacement and household services, and other benefits. These benefits can be substantial and many of them last for the lifetime of the injury victim.
If the injury occurred while driving a vehicle for work, you may also be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.
Our lawyers will determine if the auto insurer or the worker’s compensation insurance company must pay your benefits and will assist you with filing those claims.
How Much is the Compensation for a Herniated Disc?
The amount of compensation that you can receive is based upon several different factors. Your settlement amount will be determined by the:
- Degree of negligence of the at-fault driver.
- Severity and permanency of your injury.
- Type of treatment or surgery.
- Lengthy of treatment and disability.
- Restrictions on activities and work limitations imposed by your doctors.
- Amount of insurance coverage available to pay your settlement.
There is no average settlement or typical compensation payout amount for a herniated disc claim. Every case is unique and there are no formulas to determine a settlement amount.
Our top-rated lawyers will work hard to get you the highest possible compensation for your case.
Best Michigan Lawyers for Herniated Disc Injury Cases
Our Michigan lawyers have obtained significant settlements and jury verdicts in cases involving herniated disc injuries. You should not be discouraged if your benefits are cut off or if your claim has been denied by the insurance company. We can still help you win your case.
Contact us now to get started.
We do not charge any legal fees unless you receive a settlement and we only get paid at the end of the case.
There is no risk whatsoever and we pay all of the case expenses. If your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing. We put that in writing for you.
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Southfield, MI 48034
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Detroit, MI 48226
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Detroit, MI 48226
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Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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Shelby Township, MI 48316
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