| Read Time: 6 minutes | Car Accident

If you suffered a herniated disk in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. A herniated disk is one of the most common back and neck injuries resulting from a car crash, and this painful condition can significantly limit your mobility.

Unfortunately, insurance companies often try challenging herniated disk claims, making it critical that you partner with an experienced Arizona personal injury attorney. An attorney can review the facts of your case and make sure that your rights are looked after. Keep reading to learn more about how car crashes cause herniated disks and the importance of working with an experienced attorney after being injured in an Arizona car accident. 

What is a Herniated Disk From a Car Accident?

A herniated disk is an injury that occurs when one of the disks cushioning the spine’s vertebrae slips or breaks, which is more commonly referred to as a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disk. The discs in the spinal column that separate each vertebra in the back consist of a hard outer shell and a jelly-like center. When herniation occurs, as the result of trauma or progressive wear and tear, one of the disks in your spine either slips out of place, or the outer shell ruptures causing the inner jelly to escape. 

When disk herniation occurs, damage to the disc impacts the surrounding nerves, which can cause severe pain in the neck, back, arms, or legs. Since the disks in your spine act as shock absorbers when you move, herniation can cause debilitating symptoms such as: 

  • Numbness
  • Persistent pain
  • Sharp pain when moving 
  • Weakness
  • Or a “pins and needles” sensation

If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disk following a car accident, it is important that you contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer to help ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries. Recovering from your injuries can be difficult enough, and you shouldn’t have to go through the process of filing a personal injury claim alone. The personal injury attorneys at Hutzler Law can help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

How Does a Car Accident Cause Spinal Disk Herniation?

So why exactly would a disk herniate as the result of a car accident? When we are young, the soft inner portion of each disk in our spines is full of water. This makes the disks soft, allowing them to absorb impacts. However, as we age, these disks start to dry out. Unfortunately, this makes the disks in our spine more susceptible to injury as we age.

Car accidents can be particularly damaging to the spine, as they cause the body to whip back and forth with extreme force. This trauma can cause damaged disks (either from age or wear and tear) to rupture or slip out of place. In fact, a car accident does not have to be severe to cause disk herniation, as even low-speed car accidents can put significant force on the spine. Disk herniation is particularly common in the middle and lower back, which can then cause pain and other symptoms throughout the entire body.

Can Whiplash Cause A Herniated Disk in The Neck?

While disk herniation is most common in the middle and lower back, a car accident can also cause a herniated disk in the neck. This is because of the intense whiplash that can occur during a car accident. Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries, and it refers to the whipping motion that occurs in a car accident that causes the body to jostle back and forth repeatedly with great force. This can cause damage to the spine (such as disk herniation) including the upper portion of the spine that extends through the neck and connects to the base of the skull, called the cervical region. 

Whiplash in the neck can cause similar symptoms to those caused by a herniated disk. In fact, many people who complain of whiplash following a car accident are actually unknowingly suffering from a herniated disk. This is why it is so important that you get checked out by a doctor following a car accident regardless of the severity of the accident, as you may have sustained unseen injuries. 

If you continue to experience ongoing pain or stiffness associated with whiplash following a car accident, it is important that you talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They may recommend imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans to diagnose the cause of your symptoms. They may discover that a herniated disk is to blame, and they will be able to develop an appropriate treatment plan based on the extent of your injuries.

Herniated Disk Treatment and Recovery Time

If you are diagnosed with a herniated disk following a car accident, your doctor will create a treatment plan for you to get you back on your feet. Initially, this will likely include bed rest to give your back time to heal, and medications to help alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, a herniated disk may take weeks, or even months, to heal, and your treatment plan will likely include physical therapy to relieve pain and help you restore the range of motion in your back/neck. If your injury does not respond to physical therapy, surgery may be required to repair the herniated disk. 

The most important thing is that you do not ignore back pain or other symptoms that may occur following a car accident. Seeking immediate treatment is critical in order to prevent further injury and to ensure that you feel better as soon as possible.

Recoverable Damages From a Herniated Disk Injury

Sustaining a herniated disk in a car accident can leave victims and their families struggling financially. Not only can you be stuck with mounting medical bills, but you may be forced to miss work while you recover from your injuries. This can leave you with a lot of stress as you try to figure out how you will make ends meet. Fortunately, you do not have to struggle through this difficult time alone. The fact is that if another driver was responsible for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses, and an experienced personal injury attorney can work to ensure that you get the proper compensation you deserve.

Working with an attorney who has experience handling car accident injury cases is essential after suffering a herniated disk as the result of another driver’s negligence, as they will be able to determine what types of damages you may be able to recover. They will also have the experience to determine how much your injuries should be worth based on the severity of your condition. Damages your attorney may be able to recover for you may include:

  • Your medical bills and related treatment costs
  • The cost of medications
  • Costs associated with future treatment
  • Missed income
  • Reduced earning capacity due to your injuries
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • And disability

Auto Insurers Often Challenge Herniated Disk Claims

Unfortunately, while it may seem obvious to you that the other driver caused the accident and should be responsible for your injuries, the burden of proof lies on you to prove that the other driver’s negligence led to your injuries. The fact is that auto insurance companies are not looking out for your best interest, they are looking out for their own bottom line, and they will often try to close cases as quickly and cheaply as possible. Not only does this mean that they may try to offer you a lower settlement than your claim is worth, but the other driver’s insurance may also try to claim that the accident did not cause your injuries. 

Insurance companies often try to reject herniated disk injury claims on the basis that it is difficult to prove when a disk was herniated, and an accident victim may have had a preexisting condition they were unaware of. This is why it is essential that you seek prompt medical treatment after a car accident no matter how you feel. The fact is that pain may not appear for a few days following an accident, but prompt medical examination documenting your injuries can be essential in getting you the treatment you need as well as in proving your case. 

Since the insurance companies are not on your side, it is also essential that you do not try to handle your personal injury case alone. An experienced attorney will be able to build a case demonstrating that your injuries were a direct result of the accident, and they will work with the insurance companies on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disk following a car accident in which another driver was to blame, Hutzler Law can help support you during this difficult time. Feel free to contact us online or call us at (602) 730-4530 to learn more about our services as well as to find out what your case may be worth. 

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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