Without an experienced Indiana law firm representing you for your herniated disc injury, any of the following can happen:
- the insurance company denies your herniated disc injury claim.
- they ask you to sign a medical authorization release.
- they ask for a recorded statement about your accident, injury, and medical history.
- they say that your herniated disc isn't a result of the accident and there is no medical evidence to support your claim.
We have several offices throughout Indiana and have helped hundreds of Hoosiers across the state with herniated disc and back injury claims. Trying to handle this type of claim on your own can be difficult, and unless you work on these types of cases every day, you'll likely receive less than you deserve. There are a number of back injuries that can be caused by car accidents, but the herniated disc can be one of the more painful of these injury types.
What is a disc?
Your spine contains many soft "cushion-like" pieces of material, otherwise known as discs, that separates vertebrae bone and are responsible for the mobility in your back. Every time your body is in motion, it's likely that the discs in your spine are hard at work. The value of spinal discs cannot be taken for granted; they are the "shock absorbers" of the back. Without them, your mobility can be significantly reduced.
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc can occur in any part of your spine. The disc becomes damaged when the soft, rubbery center is pushed out through a weak point in the outer layer of the disc. The result is a bulging effect that can often push against nearby nerves located near the spine. Though herniated discs are commonly associated with aging and degeneration, it is just as likely to sustain this type of injury due to an auto accident. (In fact, minor back pain due to wear and tear makes a person more susceptible to disc herniation should they ever be involved in a traumatic incident such as a rear-end collision or serious slip and fall accident.)
How can a car accident cause this type of injury?
For a disc to become misplaced, the spine must experience a sudden and violent stir. A high speed, rear-end collision with another car or truck is easily a source for the sudden jarring required to cause this type of back injury. No matter the size of a collision, the impact of any car accident will be partially absorbed by your body--the spine is an area of the body that will absorb a lot of this force.
A back injury that leaves you with a herniated disc can occur from any type of motor-vehicle accident, whether it be head-on, rear-end, side impact, or a rollover.
What are the symptoms?
Your doctor is the only one who will be able to accurately diagnose you with a herniated disc; however, you may experience any of the following symptoms that indicate a serious back injury:
- numbness and tingling in the leg
- electric shock-like pain
- back pain that radiates into the leg
- weakness in one or both legs (if weakness in both legs, seek immediate medical attention)
- burning sensation in the lower back
- loss of bladder control (seek immediate medical attention)
- loss of bowel control (seek immediate medical attention)
- pain in the front of the thigh
- muscle weakness
- deep muscle pain and muscle spasms
How does a doctor detect a herniated disc?
Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination that tests your level of sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes.
MRIs are also commonly used to confirm the presence of a herniated disc. It is important to remember that an MRI is only valuable when it is performed in conjunction with a physical examination.
What treatment is available?
Roughly 10% of people with herniated discs may require surgery, thus many people require a more traditional, non-evasive form of treatment. Non-surgical forms of treatment may include:
- non-prescription and prescription strength pain relievers,
- ice and heat application,
- steroid injections,
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
- home exercise,
- supervised physical therapy
If conservative treatment fails to address the injury, surgery may be an option. In this instance, your doctor may perform a mildly invasive procedure known as a disectomy. This procedure involves removing part or all of the problem disc. However, it is important to remember that many people with herniated discs are able to recover without the need for surgery.
Is a herniated disc the same as a bulging disc or pinched nerve?
Doctors use these terms interchangeably and there seems to be no specific distinction between the three. In most instance, all three terms will be referring to the same type of injury. It's also possible that a doctor may refer to your condition as a ruptured disc, torn disc, slipped disc, collapsed disc, disc protrusion, disc disease, or black disc.
How can Keller & Keller help?
We have handled back injury cases since 1936 and have gained a reputation as one of Indiana's most-recognized personal injury law firms. If your back injury has resulted in a herniated disc, you should do yourself a favor by calling our attorneys for a FREE case evaluation, and no-pressure consultation. Even if you decide not to hire us, the advice we give you may save your claim.