Herniated Disc Injury Lawyers
The Mike Morse Law Firm’s spinal injury lawyers routinely represent clients who have suffered herniated disc injury or bulging disc injury in Michigan car accidents. These serious injuries are painful, disabling, and life-altering.
We will fight to get you the settlement you deserve in your herniated disc injury case. If the insurance company has denied your claim or cut off your benefits, our aggressive and experienced lawyers will work to make sure you receive everything you are entitled to. We battle insurance companies every day and have a proven track record of obtaining successful results for our clients.
Herniated Disc, Ruptured Disc, and Bulging Disc Explained
Herniated or bulging discs commonly result from traumatic back injury and neck injury. A series of connected bones called vertebrae make up the spine. Discs are a combination of strong connective tissues holding each vertebra to the next, acting as a cushion. Each disc consists of a tough outer layer (the annulus fibrosus) and a gel-like center (the nucleus pulposus).
An accident may cause the center of the disc to lose water, making it less effective as a cushion. This may cause displacement of the disc’s center through a crack in the outer layer, resulting in a herniated, bulging, or ruptured disc. A herniated, bulging, or ruptured lumbar disc can press on the spine’s nerves and can result in back pain as well as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg.
Common Types of Herniated Discs
A car accident can cause a herniated disc at any level of the spine. The force of the impact of the crash and the type of the crash are different factors that contribute to the injury. For example, a rear-end collision may injure the lumbar spine (low back) while a front-end collision may injure the cervical spine (neck).
A herniated disc in the low back can cause pain as well as a condition known as sciatica. Sciatica, also referred to as radiculopathy, is the result of pressure on the spine’s nerves and causes burning, tingling, and numbness from the buttocks to the feet. This sharp pain can feel like an “electric shock.”
A herniated disc in the neck can cause pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades. Radiculopathy from this injury can result in pain, tingling, and numbness that radiates into the arms, hands, and fingers. Pain may increase during activity or even with simple movement of the neck.
Car Accidents and Herniated Disc Injury
Car accidents often cause herniated disc injury. The trauma and force of the crash can either cause an immediate herniation or start the process. As time goes by, the disc may continue to lose its ability to cushion the vertebrae. The trauma moves the disc out of place resulting in a herniation. The herniation can then press on the spinal cord and its nerves, causing great pain and discomfort.
In severe cases, the disc can completely break open. This is called a ruptured disc. The fluid released from the disc then puts even more pressure on the spinal cord and its nerves. Ruptured discs are commonly debilitating. When a herniation or rupture occurs, the victim commonly feels immediate, severe pain. However, in some cases her or she may only experience dull pain.
Aside from the most severe disc injuries, the initial evaluation at the emergency department after an accident commonly results in a basic diagnosis of back pain. The x-ray taken shortly after the accident may even be interpreted as normal because the herniation or rupture had just begun. Many times, it is not until weeks or even months later that the condition is properly diagnosed by a physician using an MRI or CT scan.
Because the herniation may develop over time, many accident victims do not begin feeling pain until several weeks or even months after the crash. It may feel like whiplash or minor back discomfort at first, but progresses to more serious pain with perhaps even symptoms radiating into the arms or legs. Only then might the condition be accurately diagnosed through a medical evaluation.
Insurance companies will often try to avoid paying benefits by using their hired doctors to argue that the accident victim had a “pre-existing” spinal condition. The insurance company doctor will review the medical records and write an opinion stating that the victim’s pain and need for treatment was not caused by the car accident, but by an old herniation or degenerative condition. The insurance company will use this opinion to deny benefits.
However, most adults will show some degenerative changes in the spine when images are taken with an MRI. Even so, the condition may have caused no symptoms until after the accident. In these cases, the crash likely aggravated pre-existing conditions, making them symptomatic. The insurance company must pay benefits related to the aggravation.
Herniated Discs and Vehicle Damage
Herniated discs can occur in car accidents even when there is minor damage to the vehicles.
The forces involved in a car crash are substantial enough to cause spinal disc injuries. Although motor vehicles are designed to absorb the impact from the crash, the amount of injury is determined by the force transferred to the vehicle’s occupants. In some cases, a significant amount of force can be transferred to the occupants without much damage occurring to the cars involved in the crash. For instance, if a vehicle is struck from behind on an icy road, the impact may propel the vehicle forward. When the vehicle moves forward, it snaps the vehicle’s occupants head back with enough force to cause spinal disc injury. However, because the ice allowed the vehicle to move forward when struck rather than absorb the crash’s full impact, there may be minimal damage to the vehicles.
Insurance company adjusters and their lawyers often improperly use vehicle damage to argue that the force of the crash was so minor that occupants could not have been injured. This common defense tactic can defeat your claim if you do not have an experienced lawyer who knows the truth on your side. The Mike Morse Law Firm’s attorneys have the skill and experience to prevent this defense from affecting your right to compensation.
Types of Treatment for Disc Injuries
Treatment for these herniated discs is designed to reduce pain and help increase activity. Surgical and non-surgical treatment are available. Commonly, non-surgical treatment including rest, pain medication, and physical therapy can provide the needed relief. However, when this conservative treatment does not work, surgery may be the only option.
A number of different types of surgical procedures are available to treat spinal disc injuries. They range from minimally invasive procedures, to more complex surgeries involving the placement of plates, rods, or other stabilizing hardware. The type of surgery necessary is based upon the location and severity of the injury and can include laminectomies, discectomies, and spinal fusions.
Compensation Available for a Herniated Disc Injury Suffered in a Car Accident
Under Michigan law, a car accident victim who suffers a spinal disc injury in an accident that occurs in Michigan is, in most cases, entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits. The victim can also recover pain and suffering damages from the at-fault driver.
Michigan no-fault benefits, otherwise known as first-party or PIP benefits, include payment of medical bills, lost wages, attendant care services, and household replacement services. Attendant care services refer to assistance with personal care needed because of injuries caused by the accident. Household replacement services refer to chores and household tasks the injury victim can no longer perform because of injuries caused by the accident. These benefits can be substantial with some being available for the entire 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. The Mike Morse Law Firm’s lawyers will determine if the auto insurer or the worker’s compensation insurer must pay your benefits, assist you with filing a claim, and will ensure that you get all benefits you are entitled to.
Compensation for a Herniated Disc
The amount of compensation that you can receive is based upon several different things. Your recovery will be determined by several factors including the degree of negligence of the at-fault driver, the severity and of your injury, the extent of your treatment, the length of disability, the nature of any restrictions or limitations imposed on your activities by your doctors, and the amount of insurance coverage available to pay you. Because of these factors, there is no average settlement or typical compensation payout amount for a herniated disc claim. Every case is unique and no formula can determine a settlement amount before all the facts are uncovered.
The Best Michigan Attorneys for Your Herniated Disc Injury Case
Because every case is unique, you need the Mike Morse Law Firm’s aggressive and experienced personal injury lawyers who will work hard to get you the highest possible compensation for your case. The Mike Morse Law Firm’s lawyers routinely obtain significant settlements and jury verdicts in cases involving herniated disc injury. If your benefits are cut off or if your claim has been denied by the insurance company, don’t be discouraged. Contact us anytime 24/7 at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or email us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We charge no fee unless you receive a settlement.
Our clients Say it the best
“This firm’s professionalism far exceeds the normal verbal and written communications expected from a law office. They could not have done a better job with the matters concerning my case and I would highly recommend them.”
“When the attorneys at the Mike Morse Law Firm represented me, we were not just a number, we were family. They really cared about what I was going through. I could not have asked for better people to work on my case.”
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