While you may not expect a seemingly simple back injury to be debilitating, your life could change abruptly if you suffer a herniated disc from a car accident. According to specialists from the Mayo Clinic, the painful effects of a herniated or bulging disc could last six weeks or more. Your recovery will likely include physical limitations and prescription narcotics, both of which could affect your ability to do your job. If your symptoms don’t improve after the several long weeks that you suffer, invasive surgery may become the only route to alleviate the excruciating pain.
Fortunately, you do have legal options under Georgia law when you sustain a herniated disc in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Our Atlanta serious injuries attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC are dedicated to helping you pursue the person responsible. Whether we’re filing a claim, negotiating a settlement agreement, or fighting for your rights in court, you can feel confident knowing your case is in the capable hands of our experienced legal team. To learn more about your remedies, please call (404) 419-6674 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer today.
Overview of Herniated and Bulging Disc Injuries
The rest of the world may not be able to see the outward effects of a herniated or bulging disc, but these injuries can be incapacitating. Discs play a central role in the anatomy of the spinal column, as they act as shock absorbers between the 33 vertebrae of the spine. Commonly associated with a jelly donut, the disc features a gel-like center surrounded by a thicker coating. The structure provides cushioning for vertebrae as you’re stretching, twisting, and bending over.
In the event of trauma, such as a car accident, a person could suffer a herniated or bulging disc. These terms are mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are quite different:
- A bulging disc occurs when the disc becomes dislodged from its normal position and puts pressure on surrounding nerve tissues in the spine.
- In a person with a herniated disc, the gel-like center of the disc protrudes further out of place. It’s no longer providing sufficient shock absorption for the vertebrae, and it applies considerable pressure on the nerve tissues.
The exact nature of the injury depends upon the section of the spine that sustains trauma. A herniated disc in the lower back could prevent you from doing any lifting or sitting for extended periods of time. A bulging disc in your neck will limit your motion, which means you experience pain when turning your head.
Your Rights as the Victim of Disc Injuries
When you suffer a herniated disc in a car accident, you may have legal remedies under the legal concept of negligence. It’s possible to recover compensation for your losses if you can prove four essential elements:
- The other motorist had a duty to exercise reasonable caution when driving;
- That person failed in this duty by driving carelessly, recklessly, or otherwise engaging in risky conduct while behind the wheel;
- The breach of duty was the direct cause of the care crash in which you suffered a herniated or bulging disc; and,
- You sustained losses as a result of being injured.
In an auto collision, negligence may come in the form of speeding, driving drunk, failure to yield, distracted driving, and unsafe acts. However, there are many other types of accidents that could lead to liability and allow you to recover damages under the theory of negligence. For instance, you may have a claim against a property owner if dangerous conditions on the premises caused you to slip and fall. Plus, if you suffered a work-related herniated disc in your lower back, workers’ comp benefits may be available.
Monetary Damages for Your Losses
Compensation in an accident case, including a car crash, is intended to make you whole as an injured victim. In claims based upon negligence, the theory goes that you should receive monetary damages for the losses you suffer. There are multiple types of compensation that you may be able to recover, including:
Medical Bills: Herniated and bulging disc injuries can be very costly to treat, partly because there are challenges with diagnosis. Beyond a physical examination, your doctor may need to perform additional – sometimes costly – tests. Once you do receive a diagnosis, treatment may include up to six weeks’ worth of prescription medications and physical therapy until a physician recommends surgery. Overall, your medical bills could reach into the several-thousand-dollar range.
Lost Wages: During this time when you’re incurring huge medical bills, you may be unable to work. There are certain physical limitations as mentioned above, but there’s also the possibility that your prescription medications prevent you from performing job-related tasks. Narcotics, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxers are frequently prescribed.
Other Losses: When you sustain herniated and bulging disc injuries, you may also experience subjective losses that are categorized as “non-economic” in nature. You may be able to recover monetary damages for:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional losses;
- The inability to engage in favorite activities;
- Limitations in your relationships with loved ones; and,
- Many more.
To seek the herniated and bulging disc compensation you’re allowed by law, you would typically file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. The claims process is far from easy, as the insurer may contest that its own policyholder was at fault or argue that your back injuries are not that severe. If you cannot reach a fair amount to resolve your claim, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in a Georgia civil court. For these reasons, it’s wise to retain an experienced injury attorney to represent you in dealings with the insurance company and in court.
Discuss Herniated and Bulging Discs with an Atlanta Serious Injuries Lawyer
When you suffer a herniated disc from a car accident, the physical and financial consequences can be devastating. The recovery period is extensive and costly, and you may be unable to work and enjoy your favorite activities for some time. Under the circumstances, it’s critical to retain qualified legal counsel to protect your interests. For more information on your rights, please contact Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC to set up a complimentary case evaluation. You can reach our Atlanta offices by calling (404) 419-6674 or visiting our online contact form.