Is a Herniated Disc Considered a Serious Injury?

Is a Herniated Disc Considered a Serious Injury?

Herniated discs, also known as ruptured discs, are a serious back injury common in motor vehicle accidents. In many cases, these injuries can have long-term or permanent consequences for your health. These injuries could lead to restricted movement, chronic pain, and numbness in severe cases.  

If you suffered a herniated disc injury through no fault of your own, you could have a potential injury claim against the at-fault party. There are many things to consider when pursuing these claims, particularly given the potential need for lifelong medical care. To ensure your financial settlement will meet your needs now and into the future, contact a personal injury lawyer today.  

What is a herniated disc? 

The bundle of nerves that sends signals from your brain and throughout the rest of your body is known as the spinal cord. While fragile, it is protected by a series of interconnected bones called vertebrae. Each of these vertebrae is protected by gel-filled sacs known as discs. These discs exist to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing together or otherwise damaging each other. 

These discs are not immune to injury. Upon a serious impact, a disc can become herniated. This is also known as a bulging disc. This injury occurs when pressure forces the disc bulge out of its normal boundaries under the vertebrae. In serious cases, the disc can break open.  

A herniated disc can come with many serious health complications. The injury is often painful, including shooting nerve pain through the arms or legs. If the bulging disc presses into a nerve, it could also cause your arm or legs to become numb. In extreme cases, this could include loss of control over your bladder. 

Over time, the pain from a herniated disc can radiate throughout the body. An injury to a disc in the upper back can lead to chronic pain throughout the neck. Meanwhile, a lower back injury can cause pain in the hips, legs, or feet. In the most severe cases, these injuries can damage the spinal cord and cause paralysis.  

How do herniated disc injuries occur in vehicle accidents? 

Herniated discs occur for a variety of reasons. For some, the degeneration from daily life can distress these discs over time. As people age, these discs become less flexible, making sudden movements more likely to result in injury. Factors like smoking or obesity can also increase the risk of a disc bulging.  

Outside of these factors, the primary cause of a herniated disc is a sudden impact or movement. These occur frequently in car accidents, as the force of another vehicle can twist the spinal column in uncomfortable ways.  

Monetary damages related to a herniated disc 

The severity of these injuries is clear just from the cost of treating them. Herniated discs generally require surgery, which can cost thousands of dollars without health insurance. These surgeries are not always effective, making follow-up procedures necessary. Additionally, a herniated disc can also trigger a domino effect or related medical conditions. This could include anything from chronic pain or infections. In some cases, a herniated disc could pinch or damage nerves, requiring additional medical treatment.  

If the pain from a herniated disc is severe, it could prevent you from returning to work during the course of your treatment. If these effects are permanent, your future earning power could be diminished significantly. Working with seasoned personal injury lawyers, you could seek monetary compensation for these losses from the person responsible for your injury. Other compensation that might be available with a herniated disc injury claim could include: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Disability 
  • Mental anguish 
  • Lost wages 
  • Diminished future earning capacity 
  • Physical therapy bills 

Speak with experienced legal counsel about your herniated disc injury 

If your injuries occurred due to the acts of another person or entity, you could be entitled to significant financial recovery. Whether or not you have a claim will generally depend if the at-fault party acted with negligence. The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers of Ellis Injury Law can assist you in evaluating your claim. Our team can guide you on your chances for success and help you prepare for the litigation process. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.