A car accident can result in a variety of serious injuries. The impact of an accident can produce a sudden jolt to your body that causes severe physical damage. One of the ways that you might get hurt is by suffering a bulged disc or a herniated disc. A bulged or herniated disc can cause significant pain, discomfort and loss of sensation. It can take months or years to recover if you ever recover at all.
If you suffer from a bulged disc or a herniated disc in a car accident in Florida, you might wonder what your rights are. You might wonder if you have grounds for a legal claim against the person or entity that’s responsible for the car accident. If you bring a claim, you might wonder what you can expect regarding a settlement. Here’s what you need to know about bulged and herniated disc car accident settlements in Florida:
What Are Common Bulged Disc Car Accident Injuries and Herniated Car Accident Injuries?
A car accident can put unnatural pressure on your spine. When that happens, a bulged disc or a herniated disc can be the result. Discs sit on the spine in between the vertebrae. They act as cushioning for the vertebrae, the spinal cord and the nerves that protrude from the spinal cord. Discs have a tough outer layer of cartilage.
An accident can cause the discs of the spine to push through the cartilage and the discs can essentially become dislodged. The soft inside of the disc can force through the cartilage in a way that’s unnatural, causing extreme pain and discomfort.
What’s the Difference Between a Bulged Disc and a Herniated Disc?
When a disc is herniated, there’s a crack in the tough, outer layer of the disc cartilage. The soft inside of the disc sticks out through the protective, outer layer. On the other hand, when a disc has bulged, there’s not necessarily a crack in the outer cartilage. Instead, the disc is pushed out of its place, and it shifts in unnatural ways against the spinal cord and the vertebrae. A bulge is a dislocation, while a hernia is generally a crack. Both a bulged disc from a car accident and a herniated disc from a car accident are serious injuries.
Can I Bring a Car Accident Lawsuit Because of a Bulged Disc or a Herniated Disc?
In Florida, the standard for bringing a claim for recovery is a significant or permanent injury that results from the car accident. All other claims fall under Florida’s no-fault accident laws. Florida law 627.737(2) lists the circumstances when you can go outside of the no-fault system and make a claim for recovery. Specifically, you can bring a traditional tort negligence claim if you have a significant and permanent loss of an essential bodily function, a permanent injury, scarring, disfigurement or death.
Florida law 627.737 doesn’t give a list of what injuries count. The law only creates a category of severe or permanent injuries. Certainly, a bulged disc or herniated disc may be both serious and permanent. In addition, one Florida U.S. District Court case briefly mentions that a herniated disc qualifies as a permanent injury. The case is Batchelor v. GEICO (2014).
A herniated disc and even a bulged disc may qualify as a serious injury for the purposes of Florida law 627.737. However, it’s important to prepare the evidence of the seriousness of your injury carefully. Your treating physicians and expert witnesses can be instrumental in testifying to your diagnosis and prognosis. Aggressively preparing your case can be critical to making your claim a success. Your attorney can refer you to the medical care that you need. They can also give you a roadmap for records to keep and other important steps to take so you do all you can to make a strong case.
Tests to Diagnose a Bulged Disc or Herniated Disc After a Car Accident
If the doctor suspects a bulged disc or a herniated disc after a car accident, they may run a series of tests to evaluate your condition. Some of the tests may include the following:
Can detect other causes of back pain like broken bones and alignment problems
Uses computers to create images of your body
Uses radio waves and magnetic fields to pinpoint a herniated disc
Injects dye into the spinal fluid to detect pressure on spinal cord/nerves
Studies nerve conduction to measure electrical impulses
Treatment for a Bulged Disc or a Herniated Disc After a Car Accident
If you have a bulged or herniated disc, your treatment needs may vary based on the location and severity of your injuries. As you undergo treatment, it’s important to save all of your medical bills and carefully document the treatment that you receive. Your medical treatment and associated costs are the foundation of your claim for financial recovery after a Florida car accident. Some of the treatment that you may receive for a bulged disc or herniated disc may include medicines, injections, physical therapy, surgery, chiropractic adjustments, massage and hot/cold compresses.
What Can I Win in a Lawsuit Because of a Herniated Disc or Bulged Disc After a Car Accident?
In addition to damages because of your financial losses, you can also ask for damages for pain and suffering. A herniated disc or a bulged disc can be very painful. You may have a loss of feeling or numbness. You may lose the ability to carry objects. The physical pain that you endure because of the accident can be valued with a dollar amount and included with your claim. Your attorney for car accident injuries in Florida can help you determine how to assess the value of your pain and suffering to include it in your claim as well.
Bulged Discs and Herniated Discs in Car Accident Lawsuits
At Bernstein & Marynoff, we’ve helped clients with bulged and herniated discs in Miami and throughout Florida. We know that you need serious legal help after you suffer from a bulged or herniated disc because of a car accident in Florida. Our team offers professional and empathetic representation that can help you when you’re hurt because of a Florida car accident. Call us today to speak with a car accident attorney.
About the Author
Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.
Jack Bernstein is a hard-working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you’ve been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.