Liability For Serious Back and Neck Injuries

Doctor visiting a patient with cervical collar, Liability For Serious Back and Neck Injuries

The Scholle Law Firm is a metro Atlanta based accident and injury law firm, handling serious accident and injury cases across the state of Georgia. With a primary office location in Duluth, Georgia, Scholle Law firm is constantly contacted by prospective injury clients about serious accidents occurring in Atlanta and in the surrounding areas. In today’s article for their Blog, Scholle Law discusses serious cases involving disc herniation in the lumbar and cervical spine. Specifically the firm advises who an Atlanta herniated disc attorney can hold accountable for causing such serious injuries.

Questions about this article or a personal injury or accident related case? Contact Scholle Law today for a free case evaluation.

Herniated Discs – A Brief Definition and Overview

In a recent article to their Georgia Personal Injury & Accident Guide Knowledge Center, Scholle Law discussed important issues relating to serious neck and back injury cases, specifically the types of injuries that may require the expertise of an experienced Atlanta herniated disc attorney. While the purpose of this content is not to recreate that aforementioned discussion, a definition and explanation of disc herniation is appropriate.

Disc Definition

Defined here by Spine-Health.com, a disc is the soft pad positioned in between each of a person’s vertebrae in the spine. The spine includes the back and neck, also referred to as the lumbar and cervical spine. A disc acts as a spacer, separator and shock absorber. They are also designed to allow for movement and flexibility in the spine.

Additionally, that website site states that a disc can withstand pressure, stress and compression. Pressure, stress and movement come with every day walking and moving around. Unfortunately serious neck and back injures can also lead to these same issues. Intervertebral discs are made up of two parts: the tough outer part (annulus fibrosus) and the soft inner core (nucleus pulposus).

The annulus fibrosus and the nucleus pulposus fit together. They are described as being similar to two cylinders (concentric) and the way they are configured is said to look like a jelly doughnut. There are a total of twenty-three vertebral discs in the spinal column.

Herniated Disc – Slipped Disc – Ruptured Disc

A herniated disc, can also be called a slipped disc or a ruptured disc. Defined here by the American Associated of Neurological Surgeons, a herniated disc is a piece of the disc’s nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus.

Herniated discs usually coincide with disc degeneration but also occur with injuries. The website also stated that the spinal canal has finite space, which is sometimes not enough room for the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment. Due to this displacement, the disc sits pushed up against spinal nerves, often causing serious and continuous pain.

Herniated discs can occur in any part of the lumbar and cervical spine. Herniated discs are generally thought to be more common in the lower lumbar spine, however they also occur higher in the neck and cervical spine. Pain is felt in the area where the herniation occurs. Additionally, x-rays cannot detect herniated discs and an MRI is the most common type of diagnostic tool used by orthopedic doctors for diagnosis and treatment of a herniated disc. As always, speak to your doctor if you have questions specific to this type of injury or any other injury as well.

Who Can Be Held Responsible?

It is possible in Georgia for an injury case to involve more than one person accused of negligent conduct. Georgia’s civil law system provides for the ability to seek out compensatory damages for person(s) found liable in civil claims. Georgia has a comparative fault system that makes it possible for a judge or jury to make a determination on fault. They can spread it amongst all the involved parties.  This means that everyone involved could share some of the fault.  That includes the injured party as well. This sounds concerning, but an injured plaintiff (person bringing the lawsuit) can still be found to have been negligent and recover if they are no more than 49% at fault.

Under Georgia’s comparative negligence rules, an injured plaintiff that bears some of the fault will have their damages offset by their percentage of fault / negligence.  For example, a plaintiff awarded $50,000 in compensation but also having a 20% share of the liability would have 20% of their compensation reduced, resulting in a $40,000 total award. Under the best facts, a plaintiff will have no culpability and they will get to keep 100 percent of their awarded damages.

On a side note, these previously mentioned examples are specific to cases involving litigation (cases that have been filed in court). While most cases do not result in having to go to court, please understand that the same issues can apply with an insurance adjuster. Most injury cases begin as an insurance claim between the injured person (claimant) / their lawyer and an adjuster. In some cases an insurance adjuster may try to devalue a case by arguing negligence on the part of the injured claimant. It works the same way as in a litigated case.

In cases where the adjuster is arguing 49% or less of the fault being blamed on the injured party, they will of course try to also argue that any settlement figure will be reduced by their share of fault. In cases where they argue the majority of the negligence belongs with the plaintiff, then they may outright deny the claim and offer nothing. Remember, an experienced Atlanta herniated disc lawyer can negotiate with the adjuster. In some cases they may be able to work things out. If not, then the lawyer can take the case to trial and let the judge or jury make a final determination on negligence / fault.

Negligent Parties

Our Atlanta neck and back injury attorneys always investigate to make sure that all of the appropriate parties are brought into the injury claim or civil lawsuit.  This can be hard to understand, and, in many cases, a person without legal experience would have no reason to know about the innerworkings of negligence claims against multiple parties.  This is another reason to contact an experienced Atlanta herniated disc lawyer. 

Injury lawyers will do all of the research and investigative work used to maximize a client’s potential financial recovery (money awarded through settlement or trial).  Locating additional defendants is significant because unfortunately there can be a finite amount of money available to a claimant / plaintiff depending on the severity of their injuries and the size (amount) of the insured’s / defendant’s insurance policy coverage.

Finding more potentially responsible parties can add additional insurance policies and can increase the amount of available recoverable dollars. (Please note that just because there may be significant amounts of insurance coverage available, you still have to prove the value of your damages) In conclusion it is always better to have more insurance to work with than not enough. Below are potential parties that may be pursued for damages in serious neck and back injury cases.

Liable and or negligent parties involved in disc injury accidents can include but are not limited to:

  • Motor Vehicle Drivers
  • Motor Vehicle Owners
  • Bikers
  • Motorcyclists
  • Bicyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Taxi Drivers
  • Amazon Delivery Drivers
  • Lyft Drivers
  • Uber Drivers
  • Commercial Truck drivers
  • Manufacturers of Defective Products
  • Company / Employer of Negligent Driver or Other Person
  • Animal Owners
  • Municipal, City, State and Federal Governments
  • Property Owners
  • Companies Responsible for Maintaining Commercial Properties
  • Work Zone Construction Companies
  • Commercial Construction Companies
  • Doctors and Medical Professionals

Compensation in a Serious Neck or Back Injury Case

Every Atlanta herniated disc attorney at Scholle Law wants to fight hard to get every client the most favorable result and case resolution.  Our Atlanta injury lawyers are civil attorneys. Civil lawyers fight for money damages as compensation for injuries suffered in car, truck and work-related accidents.  While other lawyers may be tasked with significant matters related to criminal law or family law, civil injury lawyers fight with insurance companies over the amount of money damages that should be paid to injury clients. This compensation is for the purpose of compensating the injury victims hurt by the insurance company’s insureds (people who caused the accidents and bought the liability insurance policy from the insurance company).

Injury lawyer use medical records, medical bills, accident reports and many other pieces of information and evidence to build an injury case.  Most times it is after a client completes their medical care before the injury lawyer can try to negotiate a settlement for an injury client. A case’s potential settlement value cannot usually be established before total medical bills and other relevant information is known. The potential case settlement value may be based on compensation for:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Future Medical Care
  • Loss of Future Earnings
  • Permanent Disability
  • Permanent Disfigurement
  • Economic Damages
  • Non-Economic Damages

It is common for clients to have worries about their potential compensation and the amount of money that they may be able to receive from their injury case.  Many clients initially ask their prospective attorneys about how much their case is worth. Unfortunately, we do not have an indication about the potential case value in the early stages of our representation.  Because there are so many variables that relate to a case’s ultimate settlement or resolution value, it is premature to estimate a value until all of the relevant information is known.  While we cannot make a guess regarding how much a potential client’s case is worth during the initial free consultation, we can discuss how we can help and exactly how the process works.

Contact an Atlanta Herniated Disc Attorney for a Free Case Evaluation

Do not delay, call Scholle Law at your earliest convenience to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Atlanta herniated disc attorney.  Our Atlanta injury and accident attorneys are always happy to assist you with questions and concerns relating to the legal complexities of a serious injury case. We understand the important issues in serious neck and back injury cases and we handle them every day.

During a conversation with one of our experienced attorneys, we can speak to you about how we can help. We can talk more about the personal injury claims process and the personal injury timeline. We will not end the call until we have tried to answer all of your questions. The initial call to our office is free and requires no obligation. It never costs anything to see how Scholle Law can help.  Contact us today!  

To set up a meeting with our Atlanta, Georgia serious neck and back injury attorneys, call us today at (678) 921-3320 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you.