Auto Accidents and Disc Injuries

Spinal discs sit between the vertebrae of the spinal column, and they act like cushions or shock absorbers. When discs are injured, the squishy cushion may protrude into the spinal canal and impact a root nerve; this is known as a bulging disc. When the disc actually rips or breaks open, it is referred to as a herniated disc. Bulging discs and herniated discs can cause a great deal of radiating pain throughout the body.

Approximately 80 percent of disc injuries that go to trial are caused by auto accidents. A herniated disc causes radicular pain, which means that it shoots through the body. Nerves from the spinal cord branch off to various parts of the body. A herniated disc may cause radicular pain in the back as well as in legs, arms, or other parts of the body. A herniated disc in the lumbar spine (lower back) may cause leg pain, while a herniated disc in the cervical spine (neck) may cause shoulder and arm pain.

Herniated discs are often overlooked in ER visits after wrecks because they do not show up on x-rays. In most cases, a CT scan or MRI is needed to show herniated discs.

Auto accident victims often ask about the settlement value of disc injuries caused by auto accidents, and I always tell them that the settlement will depend on many factors. Sometimes, a herniated disc will leave a victim in pain for the rest of their lives. In disc injury cases where the responsibility of the auto accident is clear, no pre-existing back conditions exist, and the at-fault driver has decent insurance coverage, the settlements are typically in the six-figure range.

Defense attorneys often try to pin the blame on pre-existing conditions like spondylolisthesis or osteoarthritis. These cases can be more complicated, and you’ll need an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can show that the disc injury was caused by the auto accident and altered your quality of life.

Jury verdict research shows that the average disc injury award is $340,328. When a pre-existing condition exists, the average jury awards are lower. For example, in cases where the victim has the pre-existing condition of degenerative disc disease, the average jury award is $51,678. When an disc injury aggravates a previous disc injury, the average jury award is $152,932. For bulging discs with no pre-existing conditions, the average jury award is $140,311. For herniated discs, the average jury award is $413,917.

It’s impossible to apply these average award values to individual cases, but at MLN Law, we always take jury verdict research into consideration. In some cases, jury verdict research may help us decide to settle rather than pursue litigation. Ultimately, when a disc injury case goes to trial, the jury will decide the award. Awards depend on the prognosis, the type of injury, and the amount of medical bills and lost wages, among other factors. If you’ve suffered a personal injury, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule your full consultation. We’ll examine all the options and help you get maximum recovery.