Being in a car accident is bad enough, but being in a car accident that involves an injury to your lumbar or cervical spine is usually very devastating. Back and neck injuries can result in permanent disability or impairment, especially when you have a herniated disc from a car accident.
Accordingly, you need to treat such injuries with extraordinary care and expertise, especially if you are pursuing legal action against the negligent party that caused your injuries in the first place.
This article shall examine the circumstances surrounding a herniated disc from a car wreck and how you should proceed if diagnosed with one. It is important to not just seek counsel from an injury lawyer, but a skilled and experienced herniated disc injury lawyer.
Can a car accident cause a bulging disc? Absolutely. According to the MAYO clinic, a herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) that sit between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack to make your spine. A spinal disk has a soft, jellylike center (nucleus) encased in a tougher, rubbery exterior (annulus). Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk, a herniated disk occurs when some of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus.
A herniated disk, which can occur in any part of the spine, can irritate a nearby nerve. Depending on where the herniated disk is, it can result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg.
What happens medically when you have a herniated disc from an auto accident? Oftentimes, a herniated disc does not involve surgical intervention due to the person’s age. With physical therapy and or epidural injections, the pain in the herniated disc may become tolerable and subside. However, the herniated disc will continue to remain a permanent disability.
Sometimes, however, surgery may be required, in which case, the nerve is removed. But even with surgery, there is no guarantee that a full recovery will result. Accordingly, the person may still continue to experience ongoing pain throughout their lifetime.
Whether the person has surgery or not, a herniated disc in the lower back from a car accident is considered a permanent impairment to their life. Oftentimes, they will experience symptoms when it comes to weather changes or with more physical activity. Moreover, the pain will more likely than not increase with time.
What’s very difficult about herniated discs is that it may not be immediately evident. Oftentimes, there may not be symptoms right away. Only through time may you be diagnosed with it. Accordingly, an experienced herniated disk injury lawyer will be knowledgeable of such a back injury, and will advise their client accordingly.
If you are trying to get a settlement from a herniated disc resulting from car accident, there are a number of factors that may help dictate the compensation amounts for the back injury and for your pain and suffering. These include the following:
When it comes to personal injury settlement amounts for herniated disc, if liability is in dispute, meaning the negligent party’s insurance company is disputing that their insured was at fault, that may affect the average settlement for a herniated disc from a car accident. For instance, if you yourself were ticketed as well as the negligent party, or if the negligent party was ticketed but has alleged that you were also partially at-fault, the insurance company may deny your claim and say that they don’t owe you any type of money at all due to lack of liability.
Obviously, if the insurance company is not disputing liability and are admitting that their insured driver was the liable party, then obtaining a higher car accident settlement would be easier. In situations where liability is not an issue, the issue then becomes just a matter of how severe your pain and suffering was, or what’s called “damages.”
Another factor to consider is the medical treatment and medical bills. Generally, the more treatment and medical bills, the higher your settlement. However, sometimes an insurance company disputes the degree to which you received medical treatment, alleging everything from saying that since the impact was low, how could you receive so much treatment, or saying that most of your treatment was diagnostic in nature, and therefore was unrelated to your injury. Or they may say that you had a preexisting condition prior to the injury, and therefore any treatment received is unrelated to the car accident injury.
Disputing medical treatment is how many insurance companies deny or mitigate the amount of damages that are claimed. Accordingly, it is crucial that you have an experienced herniated disk injury lawyer to be able to respond to the insurance companies’ denials regarding the treatment you’re claiming to be part of the accident.
One of the biggest factors in determining the average settlement for a herniated disc from a car accident is the permanency of your injury and lost wages. Since the long lasting effect of your injury is part of your pain and suffering endured, any permanent disability claimed is important. Accordingly, if you have to undergo surgery of some sort, this makes your injury more permanent in nature. Receiving medical treatment, such as a surgery, is not a bad thing. It just means that obviously receiving such treatment may affect your bulging disc compensation.
Furthermore, lost wages will also affect your damages or payout for a herniated disc because it means that the injury was severe enough that you could not return to work.
An experienced herniated disk injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your individual case and explain what potential kind of settlement or compensation you may be entitled to.
A key step in helping prove your case is to take pictures, as many as you can, of the scene of the accident. You’ll want to take pictures of your vehicle, of the vehicle that caused the accident, of any skid marks on the road, of any intersection, of the weather conditions at the time, of any scars or injuries on your body, of any damage both inside and outside your vehicle, of any damage to any personal effects, etc.
If you are able, you should record a video of the scene of the accident so that the viewer can get a better idea of how the accident occurred and the aftermath. Also, if possible, you’ll want to take these pictures and record the video before any vehicles are moved. Doing so most accurately reflects how the accident occurred. Obviously, if you have to move your vehicle to remain safe, do so, but if at all possible, you’ll want to take any pictures and video prior to the movement of any vehicles.
Although the police may appear at the scene and there may be police accident scene photos, you should not rely on that. You need to be your own investigator and advocate at the scene of the accident. Not only is photo and evidence gathering important for any bodily injury claim, but you will also need such evidence even if you’re just wanting the insurance company to pay for your property damage to your vehicle.
The next step is that as soon as possible, it is a good idea to write down your version of events and what happened at the car accident. Since the accident would have just occurred, writing down what happened immediately after the accident.
This may help you accurately document what transpired and help prove liability. Since the events will be fresh in your brain, you’ll be able to better recall and recollect what happened and your version of events is crucial to establishing liability, including such details as accurate times, locations, who was involved in the accident, witness names, reactions, contact information of any witnesses, the vehicles involved, police officer names and badge numbers, plate number, auto insurance information, condition of license plate after the accident, and if anybody leaves the scene and a description of them and their contact information.
Again, a police report, even a good one, does not guarantee that it will contain all of the information you’ll need to help you with your case down the road. The more information you are able to record, the better off you’ll be down the road should you decide to pursue a claim.
Do I need to call the police after an accident? Yes, this is highly recommended. Doing so not only helps document the accident, but it also can help establish liability should the police officer ticket the driver who caused the accident. If that occurs and the officer tickets the other driver, you can use that ticket as evidence that the other party was at fault. Even if you don’t have car insurance and you are afraid that you yourself will be ticketed, as long as the ticket is not related to a moving violation, then proving liability will be better in your favor.
At the scene of the accident, you should call 911 and report the accident. The police officers will arrive and will draft a police report. Even if the accident is minor and you don’t have a lot of injuries to yourself, you should contact the police. Again, an injury may not readily appear or be noticeable right away. Symptoms may not appear until later, after the accident.
Since the at-fault driver’s insurance company will want to limit the amount of money they have to pay you, the insurance company will want to take a recorded statement from you. Don’t do it without an attorney. Any statement taken after the car accident can be used against you in your accident claim and may undermine the chances of claiming a good outcome. Accordingly, it is always best to have a personal injury lawyer speak on your behalf. This includes, but is not limited to, addressing what happened, who’s at fault, and what information should or should not be revealed.
Consulting a herniated disk injury lawyer and asking for their opinion in regards to legal advice concerning car insurance, medical records, terms and conditions of the insurance policy, the reputation of the other party’s insurance company, and how and if workers compensation may affect your claim, will have a have a direct affect on your personal injury case. Rather than speak and provide potential damaging statements, let your herniated disk injury lawyer speak on your behalf.
As soon as you’ve checked on yourself and your passengers for injuries, as soon as you are in a safe position, you should contact a herniated disk injury lawyer, even if it’s at the scene of the accident. Every car accident is different, and a car accident injury lawyer can advise you of what to do while you’re at the scene, what information or evidence to gather, and what to say or not say.
If you are in NYC, an experienced NYC car accident lawyer or car accident lawyer NYC may be familiar enough with the roads and intersections to understand the traffic, buildings, roads, and environment that may have contributed to the accident. Accordingly, you should find an experienced disc injury lawyer so they can best advise you of what to do.
Unlike your run-of-the-mill personal injury lawyers, a skilled disc injury lawyer will be familiar with jury verdicts involving a bulging disc injury similar to yours. They can advise you of your specific herniated disk injury and what similar herniated disc settlements may be applicable to you.
At the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, we represent various victims of herniated discs in the greater New York City area including all its boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York. If you have questions about your herniated disk injury or regarding personal injury settlement amounts herniated disc, please contact the Law Offices of Yuriy Moshes us for a free consultation.