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Your spine is made up of a series of bones known as vertebrae and rubbery cushions called discs that sit between them. Each disc has a jelly-like center called the nucleus puposis, which is surrounded by a tough outer layer of cartilage called the annulus.
A herniated disc occurs when some of the jelly-like center protrudes through a crack or tear in the annulus. It can result from age-related wear and tear, improperly lifting a heavy object, or an acute trauma like a car accident. Herniated discs — also called slipped or ruptured discs — can cause significant pain in your back or neck from nerve compression or inflammation in the nerve root. This can lead to numbness or weakness that radiates to your arms and legs.
If you have a preexisting herniated disc or other condition of the spine, it may be worsened by trauma related to a car accident, resulting in new symptoms or aggravating those that were already there. While the symptoms you can experience from a herniated disc vary, there’s a significant chance that you will need medical treatment. If your injury results in lost wages or otherwise disrupts your life, you have a right to hold the at-fault party responsible and seek financial recovery for your losses.
While your body may naturally recover from a herniated disc, you can also have lingering pain that becomes debilitating. Sometimes, symptoms don’t develop until days or weeks after a car accident, so you may not initially realize the impact of the trauma. Because the costs of medical care can vary widely in herniated disc cases, it’s important to know how the injury may affect you in both the short and long term so you can pursue appropriate damages.
That’s why it’s so vital to get an accurate medical diagnosis and diagnostic imaging like X-rays as soon as possible after your car accident. The treatments you’ll need will depend on how much damage there is in your spine and your level of pain.
Often, conservative care such as physical therapy and chiropractic is enough to help your herniated disc pain subside. Other times, you’ll need ongoing pain management like oral steroids or epidural steroid injections. In more severe cases, you may require a surgical procedure known as a discectomy to resolve your pain. During a discectomy, the herniated disc is removed so there’s no longer any pressure on your nerve. Though surgery usually resolves your injury, it often takes some time for your nerves to regenerate and your symptoms to completely go away.
Just like the symptoms and treatment for a herniated disc vary, so do the potential damages in herniated disc accident settlements. In addition to reimbursement for medical costs and future health consequences, you may also be able to get reimbursed for lost wages and lost earning capacity.
A herniated disc accident lawyer can help determine what types of damages you can recover and the settlement value of your case. They’ll also work with your physicians to prove that the car accident either caused or aggravated your spinal injury, as well as what the future costs of recovery look like.
Because each car accident and spinal injury is unique, it can be hard to predict what type of financial recovery you can expect. There are a variety of factors that can impact the amount of your herniated disc accident settlement, including the following.
The length of time a herniated disc accident settlement will take depends on the details of your case, the severity of your injuries, and how cooperative all the involved parties are. While some settlements resolve quickly in only a few months, others can take a year or more.
When your injuries are severe, you’ll likely need more extensive treatments that result in missed work and lost income. There’s also a good chance you’ll need more in damages to cover medical expenses and lost wages. When there’s more money at stake in an accident case, it can take longer to resolve because there are more damages to prove and because the other party will try harder to disprove your claim so they don’t have to pay out as much money.
The ease of communication between both parties can also make a difference in how long your case takes to settle. Unfortunately, it’s not the norm for both parties to be communicative and cooperative, which can mean long delays in the settlement process that extend the length of your case.
If both parties cease cooperating altogether, your case may have to go to a jury trial. The litigation process typically takes significantly longer than negotiating a settlement.
A herniated disc accident settlement can be complicated, as there are a lot of factors to consider and evidence to gather. A herniated disc accident lawyer can help you through the process so it’s not as intimidating.
A lawyer can work directly with your medical providers to gather evidence that shows the car accident either directly caused or contributed to your herniated disc. Our team of accident lawyers in Austin, Texas, may even be able to recommend medical professionals to evaluate your injury and get the proper diagnostic imaging.
Lawyers can also be responsible for talking with insurance providers so that you don’t have to try and make sense of insurance policies on your own. This can help streamline the process so you get answers and results more quickly than you may have otherwise.
Our experienced herniated disc accident lawyers at FVF know how physically and emotionally taxing an accident can be. That’s why we offer free, no-commitment case consultations. We are here to help you figure out the best way to maximize your financial recovery and provide support and guidance during a difficult time. Contact our accident lawyers in Austin, Texas, today to schedule your consultation.
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