Herniated Discs From Car Accidents

In the United States in 2012 alone, nearly 7,000 people went to the emergency room every day due to car crash injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these injuries that occur every day, those affecting the back can be some of the most severe. When a car accident occurs, the force of the impact abruptly shifts your body's position. This sudden shift can cause your spine to rotate or swing out of alignment leading to possible injuries, such as:

  • Fractured Vertebrae
  • Bulging Discs
  • Herniated Discs

Oftentimes, car accident victims do not realize they have been injured at the time of the accident. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you have gathered all possible information and records related to the accident; this is especially useful if you eventually choose to pursue legal action to receive compensation for any losses including medical bills, time away from work, or pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, please call the law office of Block O'Toole & Murphy at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online for a FREE legal consultation with an experienced lawyer.

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also called a slipped or ruptured disc, is among the most common types of back injuries resulting from auto accidents. Between the vertebrae of the spine are discs that work as shock absorbers for the back. A disc consists of a tough outer layer, called the annulus fibrosis, that encapsulates a softer interior. A disc becomes herniated when a force ruptures the annulus fibrosis causing the interior to leak into the spinal canal, which has limited space. Discomfort occurs as a result of the herniated disc pressing against nerves in the spinal cavity.

Symptoms of a herniated disc may include:

  • Back pain that radiates to other areas
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness or tingling that may radiate to the leg or foot
  • Muscle weakness in affected areas

The severity of symptoms varies depending on both the position and degree of the herniation. Herniated discs most frequently occur in the lower back (the lumbar region of the spine) or in the neck (the cervical region). Compared to similar back injuries such as a bulged disc, a herniated disc is more likely to cause pain as it generally protrudes farther into the spinal canal and thereby tends to cause more irritation to the surrounding nerves.

It is important to seek prompt medical attention after a car accident. Early detection allows for early treatment which can minimize the overall pain of the injury. Additionally, early medical records of the injury will help in cases with insurance companies or personal injury lawsuits. A proper diagnosis of your injury from a medical professional is crucial to receiving the appropriate medical treatment. Doctors will commonly perform one or more of the following tests to determine if you have a herniated disc:

  • X-ray - a test that uses electromagnetic radiation to produce an image that helps doctors determine other potential sources of back pain
  • CT Scan (Computerized tomography) - a series of X-rays that creates a more detailed image of the spine
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) - uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create an image of internal structures; this test can confirm the location of a herniated disc
  • Myelogram - test where a dye is injected, and X-rays are taken to indicate pressure on the spine or surrounding nerves due to a herniated disc

These tests themselves do not serve as a diagnosis. A medical professional must consider the tests as well as a physical examination before making a proper diagnosis.

Is a Herniated Disc a Serious Injury?

Fortunately, most herniated disc injuries are not severe enough to require surgery. Most doctors will initially treat a herniated disc with anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation occurring in the spinal nerve. Physical therapy is commonly recommended to further evaluate the injury and ultimately find the best treatment. Other non-surgical treatments include pain medication, spinal injections, and muscle relaxants.

After some time, if conservative treatments do not reduce the pain, a doctor will possibly recommend surgery. Some surgeries that may be performed on more serious herniated disc cases include:

  • Laminotomy/ laminectomy: the total or partial removal of lamina, a small piece of bone that forms a cover to protect the spinal cord
  • Discectomy: the removal of a damaged disc to relieve the pressure being put on spinal nerves
  • Spinal Fusion: procedure often done after a laminectomy or discectomy where a surgeon fuses together the two vertebrae on either side of the removed disc. This process stabilizes the spine.
  • Artificial disc surgery: a procedure done on select patients that qualify where a damaged disc is replaced with one made of plastic or metal

A surgeon may perform one or a combination of these surgeries depending on the severity of the herniated disc.

Seeking Legal Assistance

All treatments for herniated disc injuries including physical therapy, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, and surgical procedures can add up to high medical costs for victims. If you suffer a serious herniated disc injury as a result of a car accident due to someone else's negligence, it may be in your best interest to file a claim to receive compensation for your losses.

Many factors contribute to the overall value of your case, such as liability and the extent of your injuries. In a personal injury case, you need to prove that another party is clearly responsible for the accident and the subsequent damages caused by it. Additionally, it is important to prove that your injuries and damages occurred as a direct result of the car accident. If you are considering filing a claim for your losses, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer experienced in litigating car accident cases. A qualified lawyer will be able to review the facts of the case and determine the best course of action.

Skilled Litigation in Herniated Disc Auto Injury Cases

If you were harmed in an auto accident in New York or New Jersey, please call 212-736-5300 to speak with a personal injury lawyer today. The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are known for their landmark verdicts and settlements in some of the toughest personal injury cases, including a $110 million jury verdict for a paralyzed cyclist. The result is believed to be the highest non-medical malpractice verdict in New York State history. We've handled numerous cases for clients hurt in car accidents and have recovered over 100 auto accident verdicts and settlements exceeding $1,000,000 each.

Select results* for clients with serious herniated disc injuries after a car crash include:

  • $8,000,000 jury verdict for a traveling musician who suffered multiple herniated discs and other severe injuries after a rear-end collision.
  • $6,000,000 settlement for a bus passenger who sustained multiple injuries after a crash, including a herniated disc at L5-S1.
  • $4,600,000 settlement after a negligent driver ran a stop sign and crashed into our client's car. As a result, our client sustained herniated discs to the cervical and lumbar regions of his spine.
  • $4,000,000 verdict for a car passenger who suffered multiple herniated discs at C3-4, C6-7, and L5-S1 after he was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on a bridge.
  • $4,000,000 settlement for a driver who was hit by another car that was making a left turn. As a result, he sustained herniated discs to his cervical and lumbar regions.
  • $3,500,000 settlement for a 54-year-old driver who was sideswiped by another vehicle. The crash left him with herniated discs to his neck and back, which required surgery.
  • $3,500,000 settlement for a client who was driving in the Bronx when she was hit by another car at an intersection where she had right of way. She sustained multiple injuries, including a herniated disc at L5-S1, which required lumbar fusion surgery.
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a client who was hit by a truck in Brooklyn and suffered knee and spinal injuries, including a herniated disc at L4-5.
  • $2,840,000 recovery for a car accident victim who suffered herniated discs at C3-4, C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7 with radiculopathy.
  • $2,760,000 settlement for a car passenger injured in a crash with a UPS truck. He eventually underwent ACDF surgery at C5/6 and fusion surgery at L3-S1 for his herniated discs.
  • $2,650,000 recovery for a van driver who suffered a herniated disc at L5-S1 with lumbar radiculopathy after a serious auto accident.
  • $2,500,000 verdict for 33-year-old auto accident victim who sustained bulging discs in her neck and a herniated disc at L4-5, which ultimately required a microlaminotomy.
  • $2,500,000 recovery for a 48-year-old man who suffered a degenerative disc herniation at L5-S1 after a serious car crash.
  • $2,400,000 settlement in a Supreme Queens case for a client who was rear-ended by a commercial truck. He began experiencing neck and lower back pain after the crash and was diagnosed with multiple herniated discs, including a cervical herniated disc at C5/6 which required fusion surgery.
  • $2,270,000 verdict for a bus passenger who underwent cervical fusion surgery at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7 levels after the bus she was riding was rear-ended by a tanker truck.
  • $2,200,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle that failed to yield right of way. She suffered herniated discs at the L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels, with radiculopathy.
  • $2,100,000 settlement for a cyclist who was hit and knocked to the ground by a vehicle making a right turn. He sustained multiple fractures and a herniated disc at L4-L5.
  • $2,000,000 recovery in a Manhattan case for a 37-year-old man who suffered herniated discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1 after he was rear-ended by another vehicle.
  • $1,850,000 settlement for a driver who was hurt when the truck in front of her backed up and hit the front of her car. She sustained a herniated disc at C5-C7, with nerve root impingement.
  • $1,750,000 settlement for a client who was rear-ended when he was stopped at a red light. He was eventually diagnosed with bulging discs to the cervical and lumbar regions of his spine and a herniated disc at C4/5.
  • $1,750,000 settlement for a driver rear-ended by a commercial vehicle, which resulted in worsening of a prior herniated disc injury at the L4/5 level.
  • $1,680,000 settlement for a client who required a laminectomy, facetectomy and foraminotomy for a herniated disc at L5/S1 and cervical fusion surgery at C4/5.
  • $1,675,000 settlement for a woman who sustained a herniated disc in her neck, which required one-level spinal fusion surgery, after her car collided with a delivery truck.
  • $1,675,000 settlement for a car passenger who sustained a herniated disc at L5/S1 requiring a laminectomy with decompression, discectomy, and fusion surgery.
  • $1,600,000 settlement for a 17-year-old student involved in a car accident. She sustained a herniated disc at the L4-L5 level, which required an endoscopic discectomy and a microdiscectomy.
  • $1,600,000 settlement in a Queens auto accident case for a client who suffered a herniated disc and multiple bulging discs requiring surgery.
  • $1,600,000 settlement for an auto accident victim with spinal injuries, including a herniated disc at the L5-S1 level, with nerve root dysfunction.
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a pedestrian hit by a vehicle at a crosswalk. She sustained an injury to her neck, and an MRI study showed a herniated disc at C5-C6.
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a rear-end collision victim who sustained four bulging discs and one herniated disc, which required a lumbar laminectomy.
  • $1,500,000 settlement for cab driver who was diagnosed with multiple herniated discs after a rear-end collision.
  • $1,500,000 settlement for a driver who was stopped at a red light when she was involved in a multi-chain car collision. She sustained herniated discs at L4-L5 and L5-S1, which required surgery.
  • $1,410,000 settlement for a married couple who each underwent surgery for herniated discs after they were rear-ended by a driver who was possibly falling asleep at the wheel.
  • $1,350,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was crossing the street within the crosswalk when she was struck by a school bus. As a result, she sustained a herniated disc at C5-6 and multiple fractures.
  • $1,350,000 settlement for a driver who sustained herniations at C3-C4 and C4-C5 after he was rear-ended by a truck in Brooklyn.
  • $1,275,000 settlement for a pedestrian who sustained a posterior disc herniation at C5-6 after she was hit by a commercial van while crossing the street.
  • $1,250,000 settlement in a Queens, New York case for a driver who was hit by a box truck. He did not call an ambulance at the scene, but his neck pain got worse and he was eventually diagnosed with cervical herniated discs, which required surgery.
  • $1,200,000 settlement for a woman who was stopped at a traffic light when her car was hit from behind by a pick-up truck. The crash worsened a prior neck injury, and she required an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion for a herniated disc at the C4/C5 level.
  • $1,200,000 recovery for a 39-year-old delivery man who suffered a compression fracture in his cervical spine and lumbar herniated discs following a multi-vehicle collision in a Brooklyn intersection.
  • $1,075,000 settlement for a back-seat passenger of a cab who suffered a herniated disc to his neck and required surgery after the cab was sideswiped by a stretch limo.
  • $1,065,000 recovery for a 29-year-old teachers' aide who was hit by a vehicle coming out of a parked position. She suffered impingement syndrome of the right shoulder, bulging discs of the cervical spine and a herniated disc of the lumbo-sacral spine at the L5-S1 level, which required surgery.
  • $1,060,000 settlement for a car passenger who suffered exacerbation of existing back injuries after a collision with a car that failed to halt at a stop sign. He required back surgery at the L4/5 and L5/S1 levels.
  • $1,000,000 settlement for a woman who sustained a herniated disc in her lumbar spine at the L4-L5 level after a she was rear-ended by a tractor trailer.

If you or someone you know experienced a herniated disc after an auto accident, our attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy may be able to help. Call 212-736-5300 to schedule a FREE consultation. Serving New York and New Jersey.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.