If you experienced a herniated disc from a car accident in Georgia, you need to discuss how much of a settlement you are entitled to. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could recover thousands or even millions of dollars.
It is challenging to determine exactly how much you are entitled to because every accident and injury is unique. There are specific factors that will influence the final settlement total – and it is important to understand what they are.
How does a herniated disc happen in a car accident?
Herniated discs are also called ruptured discs or slipped discs. When someone is involved in a car accident, the force of the impact can cause the vertebrae to become maladjusted and create extreme pain as they compress the tender nerves in the spine.
When a disc herniates, it is pushed outside of the spine. This pinches the nerves and causes both extreme pain and sometimes even numbness.
There are lots of ways that a traumatic car accident can cause back injuries like herniated discs. This is why it is so important to undergo a physical examination after your car accident and document all your injuries.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
The most common signs of a slipped or herniated disc are pain and numbness. Each injury is different, but these are the most common symptoms of herniated discs:
- Pain when walking short distances
- Pain and numbness on one side of the body
- Tingling or burning sensations in one area of the back
- Pain that worsens after standing or sitting
- Pain that worsens at night
- Unexplained muscle weakness
It’s very important to be seen by a medical professional after you are in a car accident because slipped discs can cause future health complications.
In fact, untreated slipped discs have been known to cause permanent nerve damage or worsen over time.
Factors That Influence Settlement Amounts for Herniated Discs From Car Accident
Every single case is unique and there are a variety of factors that will influence how much of a settlement you could receive. It is very important to understand each one.
Total Amount of Medical Expenses
From check-ups to follow-up appointments, every single cost involved in diagnosis, treatment, and therapy can be recovered in a car accident settlement.
All tests that are performed to check for a herniated disc count as a medical expense. This includes MRIs and X-rays, which come at a high cost.
If your herniated disc leaves you with a permanent disability, you are usually entitled to a higher compensation amount. Permanent disability affects your employment and changes your previous activity levels.
There are instances when the herniated disc is so severe that it requires spinal surgery. Any surgery as the result of a car accident would be part of your compensation.
After surgery, there is also time off work and physical therapy as well as the costs involved in medical devices (such as canes) that you might have to use, even if for a temporary amount of time.
Another factor that will affect the settlement decision is whether your surgery completely heals or if additional treatment is necessary.
Time Off Work / Lost Wages
A herniated disc might be so severe that you have to find a different job, or so minor that you just have to limit the types of activities you do at your current job.
Any time off work due to your injuries will affect the total amount of your settlement. If your new job pays lower wages than the one you had before your injuries, this will be considered as well.
Multiple Discs Involved
If the car accident is so traumatic that you have multiple discs involved in your injury, your settlement amount would likely increase.
The pain, treatment, and recovery of multiple herniated discs is much more severe and costly, so the compensation would be increased accordingly.
Pain and Suffering
Even though it is difficult to calculate, pain and suffering is another factor to take into consideration. How much does the pain affect your quality of life? Are there activities you cannot do (or couldn’t do for a short time) because of your injuries?
Factors That Can Limit Settlement Amounts
Some factors will decrease your total settlement amount. Don’t let these deter you from going after what you deserve, but do your best to understand them.
If you have any pre-existing disc herniation(s) then the total amount you are owed will decrease. This is a type of injury that compounds. Something like a car accident might aggravate an old injury, but it isn’t the cause of the injury itself.
Do not ignore your sore back after a car accident. A slipped disc might feel minor, but it can become worse over time. Delaying treatment sends the message that it was a minor injury, which could influence a lower settlement.
You Were At Fault
Georgia has a comparative negligence law. This allows parties to receive compensation even if they were partly at fault. The amount you contributed to the accident will lower the amount you are owed.
For example, if it is decided your actions contributed to 25% of the accident, you are eligible to receive 75% of your settlement. If you were half (50%) or more at fault you will not be awarded any settlement.
Contact a Georgia Lawyer About Herniated Discs From a Car Accident
As there is no specific formula for determining exactly how much your herniated disc injury might be worth, reach out to an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney for help. They can give your case the individualized consideration it needs to ensure the settlement you deserve.