If you’ve suffered a car accident recently, you’re one of the 130,000 people who fall as car accident victims yearly in Georgia. According to Georgia’s Department of Transportation, thousands of Georgians suffer significant injuries in car accidents monthly, many of which require costly medical bills, such as disc herniation injuries.
Without the proper legal action, you might not be able to prove to the health insurance company that your injury was due to the actions of a careless driver. In addition to the physical and emotional consequences of the accident, you’ll be faced with a financial obstacle if you don’t receive proper compensation or coverage for your medical treatment.
To avoid falling into that pothole, you’ll need legal advice from experienced personal injury lawyers as well as proper knowledge of herniated disc claims’ settlements, which you’ll find out about in this article.
What Are Herniated Discs?
The settlement you can get for a herniated disc in a car crash depends on the severity of your injury. That’s why you should know what a herniated disc or a slipped or ruptured disc, as commonly known, entails.
The anatomy of the spinal column includes bony structures called vertebrae surrounding a bundle of spinal nerves that acts as a messenger between your brain and other body parts. In between these vertebrae lies some rubbery pads, which maintain the spinal cord’s flexibility and allow you to bend and twist. These pads are what are called discs.
If you had the unfortunate luck of acquiring a herniated or bulging disc in a car accident, that means one or more of your discs were moved or ruptured, irritating a spinal nerve and thus causing severe pain.
Depending on the affected area in your spinal cord and surrounding nerves, you’ll feel pain in different body parts. For example, lumbar disc herniations, which occur in the lower back, cause leg pain, while injuries in the cervical spine cause neck and back pain.
What’s the Average Payout for a Herniated Disc Injury?
Since most herniated disc injuries result in chronic pain and suffering, the settlement range for herniated disc cases in Georgia is $115,000-$125,000.
By law, if you acquire herniated disc injuries during an auto accident, this is considered a personal injury case, especially if the car accident occurs due to the driver’s negligence to a stop sign or traffic light. In this case, the at-fault driver or the driver’s insurance company is held legally responsible for covering your treatment expenses and compensation.
However, the exact value of your case will depend on the type of medical care you receive, the length of your recovery, and the treatment’s success.
Contingent to the severity of the damaged disc injury, the first treatment choice would be physical therapy. The doctor might suggest other non-surgical treatments such as epidural steroid injections if the patient doesn’t respond to the former treatment.
The last resort would be either a spinal fusion surgery where the doctor connects the two vertebrae with a bone-like material instead of the disc or Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) surgery where the herniated discs are removed.
Naturally, the claim’s worth if you receive physical or chiropractic treatment would be less than that of surgical procedures.
Also, because herniated discs require prompt medical attention, the settlement will include all the expenses of your physical examination, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, and everything that happened from the moment you stepped into the emergency room.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that the liability insurance of Georgia’s delivery truck and tractor-trailer drivers doesn’t exceed $25,000. So you won’t be able to get sufficient compensation for your car accident claim unless you hire an experienced attorney or personal injury law firm that knows how to tweak the insurance policy limits to your needs.
Factors That Impact Herniated Disc Settlements in Georgia
The amount of money you’ll collect from the insurance company for a slipped disc in a collision or car crash is subject to many factors, among which is the type of medical management you’ll require. However, other factors that affect the claim’s worth in Georgia include:
- Whether the herniated disc resulted in a permanent injury due to a pinched nerve or nerve impingement
- The number of herniated discs
- The estimated current and future medical bills
- The number of lost wages and the time by which you’ll be able to return to work
- Whether you have a pre-existing herniated disc or back injury
- The duration of the treatment and hospital stay
Your personal injury lawyer will discuss all these elements with you but the most important factor that’ll need a strong argument from the side of your lawyer is the one relevant to having previous spinal injuries.
Insurance companies may use this point as an excuse to deny your claim, alleging that the auto crash worsened your case only but didn’t cause you a herniated disc from the beginning.
Types of Damages Herniated Disc Victims Can Recover
For the court to decide the settlement’s value in personal injury cases like car accidents, they consider all types of damages that the accident resulted in, including:
- Punitive Damages: These include the punishment that falls on the defendant for their unacceptable behavior.
- Economic Damages: These are to compensate the victim for the financial losses caused by the auto accident, including wage loss, property damage, medical expenses, and so on.
- Non-Economic Damages: Because back injuries from a herniated disc cause emotional distress, intense pain, and physical trauma, non-economic damages are designed to compensate the victim for the lowered quality of life.
What You Need to Do After the Accident
To preserve your rights in such accidents, consider doing the following:
- Document your case as soon as you get diagnosed, as this will be your solid proof that the crash was the cause of your herniated disc.
- Inform your insurance company about the injury immediately, even if you’re going to file a no-fault benefits claim anyway, as this will help strengthen your case.
The Right Attorney Can Help You!
Finally, the key to winning the case and getting a proper settlement for your herniated disc is choosing the right car accident lawyer. It’s advisable to not try to deal with the situation yourself and contact a specialist attorney as they’ll know how to use your medical records to get you the compensation you deserve.