While any injury sustained in a car accident is frightening, a back injury from a vehicle collision can be especially devastating because this is the area where the nerves that control the rest of the body exit from. Two of the most common back injuries sustained during a car accident are bulging and herniated discs. If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc in your lower back or a bulging disc in your neck from a car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney who is familiar with attaining a settlement for a herniated disc or bulging disc injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.
What Part of the Spine is Susceptible to Herniated and/or Bulging Discs?
These injuries can occur in any area of the spine; however, herniated discs tend to occur more frequently in the lumbar spine (lower back) than any of the other parts of the spine. In fact, approximately 95 percent of disc herniations occur at the L4/L5 and L5/S1 levels. The second most common location for herniations is in the cervical spine (neck), with C5/C6 and C6/C7 being the areas of the neck where disc herniations from a car accident frequently occur.
Understanding Your Back Injury
The vertebrae are the bones that form your spine. These bones are stacked on top of one another. In between each vertebra is a jellylike material (i.e., central nuclear material), which keeps the bones from rubbing each other and provides cushioning for the vertebra. A disc bulge or herniation occurs when this jelly-like material protrudes from in between a set of the vertebral discs. For the sake of imagery, consider a sandwich cookie (e.g., an Oreo): If you take the top cookie and press it down towards the bottom cookie, the filling oozes out. This is essentially what happens when a disc bulges or herniates. It is the degree of the injury that determines which diagnosis the physician uses.
Herniated Disc vs Bulging Disc: What is the Difference?
While some use the terms ‘bulging’ and ‘herniated’ interchangeably, they are not the same. The term used depends on the degree of the injury. A bulging disc refers to a small protrusion of a disc’s central nuclear material that remains contained within the outer fibers; whereas, a herniated disc has broken through these outer fibers. Since the nuclear material has broken through the fibers, a herniated disc is more likely to put pressure on nerve roots, which leads to pain.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
The pain an individual experiences following this type of injury is directly linked to the location of the herniation.
A herniated disc in the lower back
A herniation in the lumbar spine may cause pain and/or other sensations to radiate into the buttock and leg: Symptoms may include a searing pain, a sharp pain, a numbness or a tingling sensation that extends down the buttock into the back of the leg.
If pain extends from the buttock all the way down the back of the leg and into the foot, the individual is experiencing sciatica. This symptom is referred to as sciatica because it is the sciatic nerve that is being irritated by the disc herniation from the car accident. Typically, only one side is affected at a time (left or right). Sciatic pain may become more severe with sitting, walking or standing. In addition to leg pain, back pain may be present.
A herniated disc in the neck:
When a herniation in the cervical spine occurs during a car accident, symptoms usually include pain between the shoulder blades or in the neck itself. This pain can be dull or sharp and may radiate down the arm, into the hands, and fingers. Tingling and numbness can also occur in the shoulder and/or the arm when there is a cervical disc herniation. The radiating pain may increase when the neck is moved a certain way.
Seek Medical Care Right Away
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and you are having any of the bulging or herniated disc symptoms listed above, please seek medical care right away. Once you have received medical care for the herniated disc from a car accident in Long Island, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
New York is a “No Fault” Car Insurance State
Since the state of New York is a ‘no-fault’ car insurance state, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you have to file an insurance claim with your own insurance company in a timely manner. If you have sustained a disc herniation or have a bulging disc from a car accident, your no-fault insurance may pay up to $50,000 towards your medical bills and lost wages; however, to receive compensation for pain and suffering as well as your lost property, a third party personal injury claim must be filed.
Personal Injury Claim for a Herniated or Bulging Disc
To obtain a bulging or herniated disc settlement from a car accident personal injury claim, certain criteria must be met:
- the claim must be filed within three years of the collision against a privately owned vehicle;
- evidence of the injury, disfigurement and/or disability must be gathered;
- if applicable, evidence related to a fatality that occurred due to the motor vehicle accident must be obtained.
If you were involved in a car accident and would like to seek compensation for your loss of property as well as pain and suffering, please contact our office today: Let us help you gather your evidence and file your personal injury claim for a herniated or bulging disc from an accident. Contact The Law Office of Siler & Ingber LLP to schedule your complimentary case review.