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Spinal Stenosis Car Accident Settlement

Spinal stenosis is a generic term that refers to narrowing of the spinal column, which is the area of your spine that houses your spinal cord and the other nerves, called nerve roots, that branch off your spinal cord and are distributed throughout the rest of your body. Car accidents can cause structural injuries in the spine that lead to immediate spinal stenosis, or even the risk of spinal stenosis that develops over time because of degeneration. As the space in the spinal column narrows, pressure can be placed on your spinal cord and nerve roots, leading to pain, numbness, or even paralysis in some cases. This pain can be felt in your upper and lower extremities, such as your arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes.

While spinal stenosis can be congenital or develop with age, it frequently results from trauma, such as in a car accident, which are a very common cause of serious back and neck injuries. Spinal stenosis that is caused in a car accident should be taken seriously, and is worthy of discussion with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the long-term implications of this condition. Handled improperly, your spinal stenosis car accident settlement will be much lower than it should be.

How to Value a Spinal Stenosis Car Accident Settlement

Trying to value a spinal stenosis car accident settlement can be challenging, because each case is different. But there are several very important factors that will be considered, including the severity and extent of the spinal stenosis, how the spinal stenosis is impacting your life, what treatment is necessary to alleviate the spinal stenosis symptoms, whether you have prior spine injuries, whether the other driver or drivers were clearly at fault for causing the accident, and the resources, such as insurance, available to compensate you for your spinal stenosis injury. The personal injury lawyers at FVF are very familiar with spinal stenosis car accident settlements, and will gladly consult with you to discuss the specifics of your case so you can better understand what kind of settlement you should expect.

Even mild or moderate cases of spinal stenosis can have permanent consequences, financial and otherwise. For example, ongoing pain management care, such as steroid injections, can be costly and be necessary for the long-term. In these cases, it is important to fully understand the costs associated with that medical care, and the impact the symptoms will have on your quality of life and ability to work. In serious cases of spinal stenosis, where surgery becomes necessary, the costs of medical care over your lifetime can be very high. Proving those costs will be critical to securing an outstanding spinal stenosis car accident settlement.

Furthermore, to maximize your spinal stenosis car accident settlement, you must prove to the insurance company that your quality of life has suffered. For people who are active and no longer able to participate in their hobbies or other physical activities, the losses caused by spinal stenosis can be severe. In those cases, a higher settlement should be expected, if there are sufficient resources to recover from. Even people with a sedentary lifestyle can recover compensation for harm to their quality of life, since spinal stenosis can make even sitting for long periods very painful.

In order to collect any spinal stenosis car accident settlement, however, it is necessary to be able to prove the other party was negligent and is liable for the accident. Whether or not you will be able to prove liability for your spinal stenosis will depend on the exact circumstances surrounding the car accident. In Texas, injured plaintiffs may be able to seek compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and physical impairment from the negligent driver that caused the car accident. However, since Texas is a comparative negligence state, you can only receive compensation if the judge or jury finds the other party or parties to be more than 50 percent at fault.

To get the best settlement, you really should work with a lawyer that understands spinal stenosis car accident cases. The lawyers at FVF have decades of experience helping clients with spinal stenosis car accidents and are here to help.

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How Long Do Spinal Stenosis Car Accident Settlements Take?

It’s difficult to predict how long any car accident settlement will take. While some spinal stenosis cases are resolved in a few months, others may take a year or longer. However, there are some factors to consider that may affect the length of your case.

  • The nature of your injuries and the recommended treatment. Spinal stenosis can occur naturally as you age or as a result of a previous injury. However, in some cases, it will only exhibit symptoms or cause health issues after serious trauma, like that sustained in a car accident. This can make your case more complex, as you will need to very clearly document that your symptoms appeared as a result of the accident. You will also need to understand what kind of recovery period you can expect and what kind of treatments and procedures your doctor predicts you will need in the future. All of this can extend the time it takes to resolve your case.
  • The amount of compensation you need. If you have a particularly serious case or if your condition may affect your ability to earn a living or enjoy your life in the future, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your damages and losses. However, it often takes more work — and time — to negotiate for higher compensation.
  • The cooperation of the parties involved. In many spinal stenosis cases, insurance companies and other parties will attempt to argue that your condition existed before the accident and that they are therefore not liable for your damages. When this is the case, it may take longer for your lawyer to negotiate the compensation you seek.
  • The litigation process and jury trial. If your lawyer is unable to obtain a fair settlement, they may recommend that you bring your case before a jury. Taking a case to trial nearly always extends its timeline.

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

It is important to understand that spinal stenosis can even result from car accidents that happen at low speeds, though it more commonly results from serious car accidents. The symptoms of spinal stenosis, which can be debilitating, will depend on where in the spine the stenosis is occurring.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis can range from mild to severe, and occasional to constant. Potential symptoms of spinal stenosis in the neck, or cervical spine, to watch for following a serious car accident include:

  • Neck stiffness;
  • Pain radiating down into the arms or hands;
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the arms or hands;
  • Burning sensation in the neck, arms, hands, or fingers;
  • Pain or discomfort behind the shoulder blades.

It is important to remember that symptoms of spinal stenosis that radiate away from the neck, such as those listed above, might only be felt on one side of the body. This is a very common symptom of spinal stenosis, and indicates pressure on only one side of the nerve or nerve roots.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine, or lower back, that you should watch for after a serious auto collision include:

  • Weakness in the legs;
  • Pain radiating down the legs or buttocks;
  • Numbness or tingling down the legs, or in the feet; and
  • Sudden bladder or bowel incontinence in very serious cases, which require immediate emergency medical care.

If you have any spinal stenosis symptoms after a car accident, it is a good idea to seek medical care immediately, and consider talking to an experienced spinal stenosis injury lawyer who understands these injuries.

Diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis After a Car Accident

Spinal stenosis can be difficult to diagnose immediately after your accident because the symptoms are not always obvious right away. Despite that, it is important to get a thorough medical exam as soon as possible after an accident if you are having any symptoms at all.

Most people don’t understand that x-rays are not typically capable of showing spinal stenosis. This is because x-rays only show the bones in the spine, and spinal stenosis is what is occurring inside the spinal column as a result of soft tissue and ligaments that an x-ray cannot see. People who go the emergency room with spinal stenosis symptoms often leave the emergency room without having their spinal stenosis diagnosed, since emergency rooms are only concerned about making sure any life-threatening issues are addressed promptly, and spinal stenosis usually does not qualify. So, even if the emergency room or urgent care releases you after a car accident, it is important to follow-up with a specialist, such as a pain management doctor or spine specialist who will conduct further testing to see whether your symptoms are being caused by spinal stenosis.

Generally speaking, the best way to diagnose spinal stenosis after a car accident is through an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Unlike x-rays, MRIs can show injury to the ligaments of the spine, such as the intervertebral disks, which is a very common cause of spinal stenosis after a car accident. Many doctors will also do other tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scans and myelograms, to get a good view of the damage, and nerve conduction studies to see whether the nerves are actually being compressed.

Treating Spinal Stenosis After a Car Accident

Because spinal stenosis can range from mild to severe, treatment for spinal stenosis after a car accident can vary. In most cases, doctors will recommend conservative treatment, like physical therapy or chiropractic care. This can help adjust the spine and strengthen the muscles around the spine, which can alleviate the pressure being caused by the spinal stenosis.

If physical therapy or chiropractic care does not work, pain management doctors will often attempt to use steroids to decrease the inflammation in the spine that is causing the symptoms. Steroids can be taken orally, but serious spinal stenosis symptoms generally require a more invasive epidural steroid injection, which involves injecting a strong steroid into the spinal canal in order to target inflammation more aggressively and accurately.

If physical therapy does not work, then your doctor might recommend surgery. The purpose of spinal surgery is to alleviate the pressure that is being placed on the spinal cord or the nerve roots and stabilize the spine. This is often referred to as a decompression surgery or a fusion surgery, since the spinal cord is decompressed and the vertebrae fastened together with plates and screws while the bones can permanently fuse together.

While surgery can provide substantial relief to people suffering from serious spinal stenosis symptoms after a car accident, the surgery is very expensive. Also, because the fusion of the two vertebrae limits their ability to move, the additional pressure vertebrae above and below can cause additional stress on other intervertebral disks, resulting in accelerated degeneration and, in bad cases, more pain management care and more surgery.

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You Need a Skilled Attorney by Your Side

Developing spinal stenosis following an auto accident is a very serious and potentially life-altering injury. It makes sense to consider hiring a personal injury law firm with experience and resources. The auto accident lawyers at FVF have more than 70 years’ combined experience, and have recovered millions of dollars for clients who had injuries resulting in spinal stenosis because of car accidents.

Insurance adjusters are trained to try to pay you as little as possible to settle your spinal stenosis case. The lawyers at FVF have been doing this a long time and know how to fight back and win. Do not let an insurance company tell you how much your spinal stenosis case should settle for. Instead, be proactive, take the time to prove your case, and dramatically increase your spinal stenosis car accident settlement.

Whether or not you hire a lawyer, taking some time to have a cost- and pressure-free consultation with the lawyers at FVF will provide you the education you need to understand your options so you can make informed decisions. We can help you recognize the importance of seeking medical treatment as well as the choices you have to receive and pay for that very important medical care. We can also give you advice on how to best proceed to make sure you put yourself in the best position possible to maximize your spinal stenosis car accident settlement. If you choose to hire us, we will fully investigate the circumstances of your case, identify all parties responsible for causing your car accident, discover all available resources, and advocate for you so that you can secure an outstanding settlement or jury verdict.

FVF welcomes you to call and schedule your free consultation and case evaluation, and we do not get paid unless and until we win your case.

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