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Degenerative Disc Disease Car Accident Settlement

Degenerative disc disease is a generic term often used by doctors to describe the condition of an unhealthy spine. This diagnosis can refer to all sorts of degeneration or injuries such as a bulging disc, annular tear, bone spurs, disc herniation, or disc protrusion. Due to the broadness of the term and its association with gradual wear-and-tear, a degenerative disc disease diagnosis can dramatically change the dynamic of a personal injury case for someone who has suffered a traumatic spine injury in a car accident. 

Unfortunately, many physicians carelessly diagnose disc injuries as degenerative disc disease without identifying evidence of trauma or referring to a specialist for evaluation. That diagnosis becomes a red flag to insurance providers when you file a claim against the party that is liable for the accident. It gives the insurance company an alleged basis to claim that the disc injury was preexisting and not directly related to the accident, which the insurance company will use to try to get you to accept a lower settlement for your case. In reality, degenerative disc issues are extremely common and frequently have no symptoms at all until disturbed by some trauma like a car accident. 

If you have sustained a spine injury in a car accident and received a degenerative disc disease diagnosis, it is important to take steps to protect your case. Contact a personal injury lawyer, who will work to prove that the accident either caused your injury or aggravated a previously asymptomatic condition, then obtain financial recovery commensurate to your losses.

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Damages in Degenerative Disc Disease Car Accident Settlements

The law likely entitles you to recover medical expenses, lost earnings, losses due to a reduced capacity to work, and other losses relating to changes in your quality of life. However, before you can truly understand what type of recovery you should expect, it is your burden to prove the full extent of your injury as well as the future implications. Because a degenerative disc disease diagnosis is pretty generic, that diagnosis alone should not be used as a basis for determining what kind of recovery you should expect.

The following factors can give you an idea of the amount of damages you may be able to reasonably expect:

  • An accurate medical diagnosis. Many primary care doctors and urgent care doctors do not understand the significance of a generic degenerative disc disease diagnosis. So, it is important to secure an opinion from a spine specialist, such as a pain management physician or orthopedist, who will educate you on the nuances of your injury. If they believe your disc injury is trauma related, they will generally be prepared to advocate on your behalf and testify that the injury was caused or aggravated by the crash.
  • The severity of the injury and the extent of your losses. A degenerative disc disease diagnosis covers a broad range of severity and treatment protocol; one person might require only physical therapy to recover, while another person with the same diagnosis might need major surgical intervention. The more serious the injury and the more serious the interventions needed, the higher the expected settlement amount might be. A traumatic spine injury can also greatly limit your capacity to work while you’re recovering and seeking treatment, sometimes even permanently. You have a right to those wages that you would have otherwise earned if not for the negligent actions of the other driver. Finally, spine injuries, no matter the severity, can have a significant impact on your quality of life. The law allows financial recovery for those losses as well.

Available recovery sources. If the amount of your losses surpasses the maximum payout amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, your lawyer will help you identify other sources of recovery. Options may include the insurance policy of the driver’s employer if the driver was working at the time of the accident, the personal assets of the driver, or your own uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

How Long Do Degenerative Disc Disease Car Accident Settlements Take?

It’s very difficult to give a precise time frame for any type of accident settlement because the length of your case depends on your specific circumstances. However, there are a few factors that can affect your case’s timeline, such as the ones described below.

  • The nature of your injuries. The severity of your condition and how it impacts your life will likely affect the length of your case. More severe, long-term injury cases typically take longer to resolve, simply because there is more compensation on the line in these cases. Additionally, it may take time for your doctor to determine how likely you are to recover and what medical treatments and quality of life you can expect in your future. This can add length to your case timeline.
  • The cooperativeness of all parties involved. Ideally, all parties involved in a case will respond in a timely manner and cooperate with requests for information. However, any delays in this process can obviously extend the length of time until your case is resolved. Additionally, in degenerative disc cases, it is not uncommon for insurers to claim that your condition was not the result of your car accident, but rather an existing condition that you sustained beforehand. In this case, you may need to do additional work documenting your condition and proving that your accident did in fact cause your injuries. Negotiating a fair settlement may also take longer in this case.
  • The litigation process and jury trial. If your lawyer is unable to obtain a fair settlement for your injuries in negotiation, they may recommend that you take the case before a jury. This can significantly extend the length of your case, but it may also mean that you receive the compensation you need to recover.
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Why Hire a Lawyer to Help with Your Degenerative Disc Disease Car Accident Settlement?

A degenerative disc disease diagnosis can be the death knell of a personal injury case if you do not have a car accident lawyer to strategize and advocate on your behalf. In order to help you maximize your claim, a lawyer will research your prior medical history and imaging, network with reputable spine specialists, communicate with insurance providers, and prove that you were hurt in the accident. They will also help you estimate any future medical costs that could arise.

How FVF Can Help with Your Auto Accident Settlement 

At FVF, our experienced car accident lawyers want to equip you with the resources you need to file a successful claim and move on with your life. We provide free, informative, no-commitment consultations so that you can get your bearings and know what steps to take, whether or not you ultimately choose to hire us. 

If you do hire us, we will use our extensive resources and knowledge to make sure you are receiving quality care and positioning yourself for the best outcome. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. 

Our Process and What You Can Expect

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