My Louisiana car collision clients often ask me: “How much is my case worth if I have a herniated or bulging disc?” Clients discover these injuries after undergoing MRI testing. Our spines are comprised of vertebrae (bones) that are separated by intervertebral bodies, which are jelly cushions. These bodies can become damaged due to trauma, like that suffered in an automobile accident.
The intervertebral bodies can bulge, herniate or rupture, and these injuries can be painful. The pain caused by this pathology (damage) can be much more painful than soft tissue damage like sprains or strains, which are commonly referred to as whiplash injuries. Whiplash injuries typically heal within 4 to 8 weeks according to many chiropractors. However, disc bulges and herniations do not heal through conservative care like chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy.
Medical treatment used to care for herniations and bulges include, medications, epidural steroid injections and surgery. Due to the lasting nature of these injuries and the more invasive types of procedures necessary to care for them, pain and suffering awards for disc herniations and bulges are typically higher than those for whiplash injuries.
Of course, the cause of the herniation or bulge must be linked to the accident. A specialist (e.g., neurosurgeon or orthopedist) will typically be needed to give this opinion. Another important factor is whether the herniation or bulge is old or calcified, which is evidence that it likely pre-dated a recent vehicular accident. Again, a specialist or the radiologist (who reads the MRI) will help determine the proximity of the herniation or bulge to the accident.
In many cases, a disc bulge or herniation can significantly increase the value of a personal injury case. A review of recent Louisiana cases reveals that awards for pain and suffering for disc bulges and herniations range from $50,000.00 to over $100,000.00. The value can be even greater if a surgery is required. However, every case is different. An experienced trial attorney should help an accident victim navigate a personal injury case to determine what other factors affect a case’s value, like fault, severity of impact and insurance limits to name a few.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and suffered whiplash, herniations or disc bulges, contact the Law Office of Donald D’Aunoy Jr., LLC today for a FREE case evaluation. Although Lawyer Don’s office is located in Metairie, he makes house calls throughout southeast Louisiana. His office is located on Veterans Boulevard near the New Orleans line with free parking.