If you suffered a herniated disk injury in a Florida auto accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, we want to help you recover financial compensation that will pay for your losses. A herniated disk is one of the most common types of back injuries that occur in a car crash. Unfortunately, it is also a type of injury that most auto insurance companies will challenge.
A Florida herniated disk injury lawyer from Distasio Law Firm will review your accident to determine what happened and what financial compensation you can pursue from the liable party and their insurer. Our skilled auto collision attorneys will build a case to help prove that the collision caused your spine injury and hold the at-fault party accountable.
What Is a Herniated Disk Injury?
A herniated disk is a painful injury that occurs when a disk cushioning the spine’s vertebrae breaks. This injury – also known as a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disk – can cause pain in the neck, back, arms, or legs. According to the Cleveland Clinic, herniated disks are a leading cause of all these types of pain.
While herniated disk injuries can happen anywhere along the spine, they most frequently occur in the lower back or the neck. Your spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. The disks in your spine are round cushions that rest in between each vertebra. These disks act as shock absorbers that protect the spine and the nerves running through the spinal column as you bounce, bend, and twist. Each disk has an external covering that is filled with a liquid gel material. To help you visualize, think of the disk as a jelly-filled doughnut.
What Causes Herniated Disk Pain?
A herniated disk occurs when the external covering of the disk protrudes out and/or tears, which can cause the gel inside the disk to leak. Normally, the herniated disk itself is not the source of pain. Instead, the pain comes when the disk protrudes out far enough to push on the spinal cord or a nerve root. This pressure on the nerve can cause significant pain and numbness.
This pain and numbness – also known as radiculopathy – often radiates down an arm if the disk is herniated in the neck (cervical spine). It radiates down the leg if the disk is herniated in the lower back (lumbar spine). Be sure to seek prompt medical care if this happens.
How Does a Car Accident Cause a Spinal Disk Herniation?
When we are young, the gel material inside each disk is full of water, making our disks soft and supple. As a result, our disks do a great job of absorbing impact. As we age, the disks begin to dry out. The normal wear and tear of life can also cause bone spurs to form around the vertebrae above and below each disk. This aging process within the spine is called degeneration.
Spinal degeneration makes our disks more susceptible to injury. This susceptibility is heightened even further in a car accident, especially if trauma from the impact causes the neck and lower back to whip back and forth with extreme force. This whipping motion, commonly referred to as whiplash, can cause an aged, dried-out disk to tear apart or herniate.
Recovery Time for a Herniated Disk Injury Could Take Months
A herniated disk injury may require bed rest and can take several weeks to months to heal. A medical professional can diagnose a herniated disk and prescribe the proper treatment for it. Medical imaging tests, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are often needed to assess the injury’s severity and determine what sort of treatment is needed. In severe cases, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons confirms that surgery may be required if other treatment options do not lessen or stop the pain.
Why Auto Insurers Challenge Herniated Disk Accident Claims
It is quite possible that an auto insurer will reject your claim for a herniated disk injury. The reason stems from the lack of objective proof as to what actually caused the injury. Most people think an MRI provides objective proof of the injury. However, an MRI only documents that the disk was herniated – it rarely provides objective proof of when the disk was herniated.
As a result, some insurance companies may say that something else caused your injury and not the accident as you claim. An insurer may even hire its own medical professional to review your MRI, medical records, and other documents. This person may conclude that something else caused your herniated disk, such as your age, a pre-existing neck or back injury, or delayed treatment after your auto accident.
We encourage you to get prompt medical treatment after an accident, no matter how you feel immediately afterward. Sometimes injuries take days or weeks to surface as trauma to the body unfolds. Our proactive legal team will prepare your case to prove that your ruptured disk resulted from your Florida car accident.
Recoverable Damages for Herniated Disk Injuries
Determining the value of your herniated disk case will require a close look at the types of damages you suffered, the severity of your injury, and how long your recovery period will be. A person who is facing surgery and years of pain from a herniated disk injury will likely be entitled to more compensation than someone whose injury will heal in a few weeks without surgery. A diligent Florida herniated disk injury attorney from Distasio Law Firm will evaluate your economic and non-economic damages.
We have recovered many six-figure settlements for clients who suffered herniated disk injuries, including:
- A $480,000 verdict for a Tarpon Springs, Florida client whose accident left her with a herniated disk in her neck after a driver struck her SUV from behind after failing to stop for a school bus
- A $125,000 settlement for a Sarasota, Florida client who suffered a herniated disk injury when a driver hit him while stopped in traffic
These results are just an example of the damages you may recover. Each case is unique, so we cannot promise or guarantee any results of any case.
After a herniated disk injury, some of the economic damages you may be able to recover include:
- Your medical bills and related treatment costs (including surgery and medications)
- Future treatment you will need for your injury (such as physical therapy and chiropractic care)
- Missed income at work
- Reduced earning capacity if your injury forces you to take a different job or stop working altogether
- Property damage
- Other accident-related costs
All the damages above can be proven with a written record of some kind, such as a receipt, invoice, bill, timesheet, or pay stub.
You could also recover non-economic damages, which do not have a fixed dollar amount. Damages of this type include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Disability (temporary or permanent)
- Loss of life enjoyment
These damages can be more challenging to prove, but our attorney will assess them, assign a value to your case, and request this amount on your behalf.
Florida Injury Cases Have Key Deadlines That Must be Met
If you are thinking about pursuing legal action, we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible. You have a limited window of time to hold the liable party in your case accountable for your losses. If you miss it, you will lose your chance at recovery and must shoulder the costs yourself. Florida allows four years from the date of the injury to seek damages in a personal injury case.
Hiring an experienced herniated disk injury lawyer to take care of your legal needs means you will not have to worry about Florida’s state deadlines. We will meet every deadline in your case and make sure that you are aware of any important ones coming up. You can count on us to keep you on track.
Contact a Florida Herniated Disk Injury Lawyer Today
The team at Distasio Law Firm has handled hundreds of herniated disk injury cases. We know how this injury happens, what treatments are needed, and what it takes to successfully prove a herniated disk injury case.
If a negligent driver in a Florida auto accident caused your herniated disk injury, we want to speak with you and tell you how we can help. Call now to talk with a Florida herniated disk injury lawyer about your case.