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Car Accidents

Herniated Disc Injuries (C4/C5 & C5/C6) Caused by Car Accidents

Posted Nov 30, 2023 by Matt Boulton

Due to the abrupt forces generated by a car accident, it’s not uncommon for Boulton Law Group clients to sustain an injury to their back. Depending on the size and speed of a collision, some may experience minor aches, while others suffer from a more serious back injury, such as a herniated disc.

In both cases, it’s important that you seek medical attention for your back injury so a definitive diagnosis can be made and officially documented.

After, if you’ve been diagnosed with a specific type of back injury, such as a herniated disc, you may wish to seek a free consultation from an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney who can advise you of your legal rights.

Having investigated and settled car accident herniated disc cases throughout Indiana, attorney Matt Boulton is familiar with every facet of this type of personal injury claim, including treatment options and the defense tactics used by insurance companies.

How Does a Car Accident Cause a Herniated Disc?

To help understand how a car accident can result in a herniated disc, it’s important to have basic knowledge of the spine’s structure as well as how various components function.

For most adults, their spine will contain 24 individual bones, i.e., vertebrae. Individual vertebras interact and connect with each other through flexible joints called facets, and working in tandem with facets located between the vertebrae are the spinal discs.

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The back discs throughout our spine have three primary functions:

  1. Absorb the pressure of day-to-day activity experienced by the spine.
  2. Provide support that hold our spines vertebrae together.
  3. Give the spine with slight mobility via their cartilaginous nature.

Due to the types of functions our discs serve, it requires them to be flexible. As such, they are comprised of a rubbery or elastic-like exterior and a gelatinous interior.

Like other vulnerable parts of our anatomy, back discs are a common point of injury when a person is involved in a traumatic incident, such a car accident.

If the car accident creates enough force, the structure of the disc can be compromised. And in cases where a disc herniates, the jelly-like interior leaks out due to a rupture, as pictured below:

In many cases, herniated discs will result in additional pressure being placed on the spine. This pressure can result in nerve pain throughout various areas of the body depending on the affected discs.

For example, clients who have experienced herniated discs in the cervical area of their spine may report pain in their arm.

It’s important to keep in mind that herniated discs are somewhat of an invisible injury, meaning it’s very unlikely they will be diagnosed by physical examination or X-ray alone. To receive an accurate diagnosis of a herniated disc, you may be required to present for an MRI or CT scan.

What Is the Most Common Type of Herniated Disc Injury from Car Accidents?

In many cases, car accident victims sustain herniated discs at C4/C5 and/or C5/C6. These particular discs are located in the area of your back known as the cervical spine, as pictured below:

The reason C4/C5 and C5/C6 discs are more susceptible to herniation is a combination of their physical location as well as the protective design of an automobile’s seatbelt.

Specifically, seatbelts are designed to restrain the majority of your body from the unpredictable forces that arise from a vehicle collision. And while the seatbelt does a marvelous job of saving our bodies from being ejected or tossed about in a vehicle, the head and neck are susceptible to whiplash-type motion(s), which may result in herniated discs at C4/C5 or C5/C6.

Common C4/C5 and C5/C6 Disc Injury Symptoms

Due to their location in the spine, C4/C5 and C5/C6 disc herniations can result in various symptoms, including:

  • shoulder pain and/or weakness
  • nerve pain in the arm
  • inability to make full use of your arm, i.e., motion restriction
  • tingling or numbness
  • radiating pain
  • general discomfort

Depending on the location and severity of a disc injury, as well as a car accident victim’s prior health history, there are a number of potential additional symptoms that could also indicate a herniation.

How Much is a Herniated Disc Case Worth?

To truly learn how much your case is worth, it must be individually reviewed based on the unique facts and details surrounding your particular incident.

No attorney can accurately (or ethically) provide a specific dollar amount for your herniated disc case until you’ve been released from treatment, provided with an accurate diagnosis, and a full accounting of your case history is available.

However, there are a number of factors that can strengthen or weaken your herniated disc case, including:

  • Appropriate medical treatment.
  • Keeping doctors’ appointments and following their instructions.
  • Attending assigned therapy sessions.
  • Surgical procedures.
  • Injections.
  • Impact on day-to-day activities, e.g., unable to perform household chores.
  • Time off work that is excused by a doctor.
  • Pre-existing back injuries.
  • Hiring an Indiana car accident attorney with prior disc injury case experience.

Insurance companies are tasked with an important goal: to save money. One of the ways they attempt to do this is by paying out less than maximum compensation on car accident claims.

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney helps to ensure you receive a complete review of your case so that a true value assessment can be calculated.

Types of Compensation for Herniated Disc Car Accident Cases

One of the most frequent questions attorney Boulton receives from car accident clients is, “What is the insurance company responsible for paying?”

In the state of Indiana, car accident victims who have sustained a herniated disc (or other injury) and are no more than 50% liability for a collision, have the legal right to pursue various types of compensation depending on a person’s station in life.

Three of the most common damages in a herniated disc case include:

  • Reimbursement/Payment for current and future medical bills/expenses.
  • Recovery of lost wages, as well as payment of future earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering.

There are a number of additional types of damages for which a defendant may be liable, however, a full review of your specific case will need to be reviewed to determine the totality.

Next Steps for Herniated Disc Car Accident Victims

No matter the type of car accident, the potential for sustaining a herniated disc is always present. And, as with any injury, it’s important to take appropriate steps to protect your health and legal rights.

Each case should always be treated and evaluated on an individual basis, however, here are general steps to take following a car accident:

  • Seek immediate, professional medical attention for any and all injuries.
  • If you’re able, provide the investigating police officer with your version of events related to the accident.
  • Follow the advice given to you by your doctor and b sure to maintain any follow-up appointments.
  • Obtain a free consultation from an experienced personal injury attorney.

Because herniated disc cases can be subject to significant scrutiny by an insurance company, these claims can prove to be difficult to handle on your own.

By hiring an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney, you help to ensure the following:

  • Your legal rights are protected.
  • The statute of limitations for your case is preserved.
  • You are able to focus solely on your recovery.
  • The paperwork and hassle of the process is handled for you.
  • You maximize your chances of receiving deserved compensation.

At Boulton Law Group, we are solely invested in our clients’ recovery, which means you’ll always have someone looking out for your best interests.

Contact an Indiana Herniated Disc Injury Lawyer for Help

Attorney Matt Boulton has 25+ years’ experience helping Indiana’s residents with car accident back injury claims, including cases that involve a herniated disc.

To help ensure injured Hoosiers always have access to award-winning legal representation, Boulton Law Group clients are granted a Zero Fee Guarantee.

Our Guarantee means you will never be asked to pay a consultation fee, nor do you owe the firm anything until a settlement or award is obtained on your behalf.

To learn more about your legal rights and the potential value of your herniated disc case, you can contact Matt directly by using the firm’s confidential, free contact form.

We look forward to learning more about how we can help you!

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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