Do You Have A Herniated Disc From Your Accident?
The force of a car wreck can damage the discs in your spine, especially if you have whiplash from a rear-end collision. Injury to these “shock absorbers” can cause severe neck or back pain, plus pain or numbness in other parts of the body.
Herniated discs and annular tears are common injuries in car accidents. The trick is proving that the accident caused your back problems. Insurance companies are notorious for disputing back injury claims as “preexisting conditions.”
The Downs Law Firm stands up to insurers to fight for your full compensation. We have handled herniated discs and other spinal injuries for clients throughout Louisiana. Get a free consultation at 318-284-8551.
What Exactly Is A Herniated Disc?
Between each vertebrae bone in your back and neck there is a small round disc, about the size of four stacked quarters. These discs absorb the impact and weight as your body moves. Think of an orange – a thick outer skin with a squishy substance in the middle. If you press down on the orange, it compresses, but when you let go it springs back to its shape.
In a car wreck or other trauma, that outer fibrous layer of your disc can develop cracks or rips. That layer has many nerve endings, so even a small annular tear can be very painful.
If the annular tear is big enough (or tears wider), some of the gel-like substance inside the disc squeezes out through the opening. This is called a herniated disc (or ruptured disc), which causes two problems. First, the disc loses much of its shock absorber ability or allows the vertebrae to rub against each other. Second, the herniated part of the disc may press against major nerves in the spine.
A Herniated Disc Can Be Completely Disabling
Symptoms of annular tears and herniated discs can include:
- Back pain or neck pain at the location
- Sciatic pain (shooting pains in the lower back, buttocks and legs)
- Muscle weakness in the back, arms or legs
- Tingling or numbness in the limbs
- Limited range of motion
It may be impossible to work with a herniated disc or annular tear. Even walking may be painful, and you may have trouble sleeping. Treatment of disc injuries usually starts with physical therapy. If that doesn’t work, you may need a steroid injection. As a last resort, you may need surgery (discectomy) to repair the herniated disc.
Why Are Herniated Disc Injury Cases So Difficult?
Annular tears and herniations can be diagnosed with an MRI or CT scan. The symptoms vary from person to person, but your doctors and lawyers can document your pain, limitations and recovery, including treatment for whiplash after being rear-ended
The challenge in these cases is demonstrating cause and effect. As we age, discs naturally lose some of their function. They dry out, get flatter, lose their elasticity. Many people also have degenerative disc disease such as spondylosis or osteoarthritis in their back.
A previous back injury or preexisting disc disease does not prevent you from bringing a personal injury lawsuit, but it complicates your case. Our job is to prove that the collision: (a) caused your annular tear/rupture, or (b) made an existing condition worse. Many people function just fine with an annular tear or ruptured disc — they may not have any symptoms — until it is damaged further in a car accident or motorcycle crash.
Let Us Battle The Insurance Company For You
As sure as the sun rises, insurers will try to deny or downplay herniated disc claims. Downs Law Firm regularly takes on the big insurance companies, including State Farm, Progressive, Geico, Allstate, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, USAA and Farmers Insurance. You know their clever TV commercials, but we know their tactics and how to fight fire with fire.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers know the value of your case, and we have the medical knowledge and legal skill to pursue your compensation. Even if you had a prior back injury or degenerative disease, we can help.