The Mayo Clinic online describes a “herniated disk” as a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) between the individual bones known as “vertebrae” that line up to form your spine. The vertebral disk (also spelled “disc”) is kind of like a jelly doughnut with a soft center encased by a tougher exterior. Herniated discs are also referred to as “slipped discs” or “ruptured discs” and occur when the softer jelly pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior. A herniated disk may irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg, but some people experience no symptoms with a herniated disc. A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of back and leg pain.
Herniated Discs After a Car Accident
While some people with herniated discs may require surgery to correct the problem, others do not and can live a fairly normal life with one or more herniated discs. Herniated discs are a common injury in certain types of car accidents, and these injuries, when serious enough, do require a great deal of medical attention. Herniated discs can be so serious as to leave the sufferer with lifelong debilitating pain and the inability to work and perform normal activities of daily living (ADLs). The sudden jolt of a car accident can cause a disc to herniate because of the intense pressure put on the disc.
If you were in a car accident and suffered a disc injury, you may experience a number of painful symptoms including:
- Back pain
- Sharp pain, burning, tingling and numbness in the back or buttocks with radiation to the leg, calf, or foot
- Radiating pain to the shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers
- Numbness in the leg or foot
- Trouble walking or lifting
- Neck pain
- Neck muscle spasms
- Pain in the shoulders
- Tingling in the legs and feet
If your disc injury is serious enough to require surgery, the cost of that can be astronomical. Some of these surgeries cost as much as $50,000 or even more if your particular injury is especially complex.
Herniated discs as a result of a car accident can change your life forever. You may never be able to walk normally and without pain again. You may never be able to work again, and you may require help with activities of daily living. Your life as you knew may change significantly, and you may have costs associated with your car accident injuries that last a lifetime. Following a herniated disc injury due to a car accident, you may even qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits.
If you’ve suffered a back injury from a car accident, an experienced, knowledgeable car accident attorney can take your case and explain why you’re entitled to compensation and how much. If your life has been forever changed by a debilitating herniated disc injury, you’re entitled to compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, future medical costs, and pain and suffering. If the driver was criminally at fault for your injuries, you may even be entitled to punitive damages, and while it’s rare to collect punitive damages in a car accident, it’s certainly not unheard of in certain circumstances.
Please contact a car accident attorney in your area today if you’ve suffered a back injury due to someone else’s negligence.