Herniated disc settlement values in Florida depend on several factors including necessary medical treatment, the victim’s pain and suffering and the defendant’s legal fault.
The Coral Gables injury attorneys at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC discuss herniated disc settlement values in Florida.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc pushes through its exterior casing.
The spine is made up of bone and soft tissue. The bones of the vertebrae protect the spinal column. The vertebrae need to move so that the spinal column and body can move. Discs cushion the vertebrae. They absorb shock, facilitate movement and transfer weight through the vertebrae.
A disc has a soft, jelly-like inside called a nucleus pulposus. It is surrounded by a tough, outer layer called an annulus fibrosus. When the inner layer protrudes through the outer layer, the disc is herniated.
A herniated disc may also be called a ruptured or slipped disc. Any of the 23 discs in the human spine can herniate.
How Can a Herniated Disc Happen From an Accident Like a Fall or Crash?
A car accident or sudden fall can place strong forces on the back. These forces may be several times more than what the spine endures during normal movement. The unexpected, strong pressure on a disc may cause the center to protrude through its outer layer.
Normal pressures on the back cause slight compression of discs. When the force is excessive, the disc lining may rupture, and the inner layer may protrude. In addition, hyperflexion or hyperextension may cause a disc to rupture.
Pre-existing degeneration may make a disc more likely to herniate. However, even an otherwise healthy spine may suffer a herniation when force is applied from a car accident or fall.
A herniated disc from a sudden event like an accident or fall may be called a traumatic disc extrusion.
What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?
Symptoms that may indicate a herniated disc include:
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain in the seat, upper and lower legs and foot
- Shoulder or arm pain
- Wobbly feeling
- Muscle weakness
- Inability to stand or move
Pain may be radiating, burning or shooting. A herniated disc may occur without symptoms. An X-ray may reveal a herniated disc, but an MRI may provide more detailed imaging.
In addition to symptoms, a herniated disc may cause complications. Potential complications from a herniated disc include:
- Limitations in daily activity
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
- Loss of sensation
Symptoms from a herniated disc may worsen over time, further impairing daily activities.
How are herniated disc injuries treated?
How a herniated disc injury is treated depends on the characteristics of the injury. Options for treatment may include:
- Rest: Rest, ice and heat may provide short-term pain relief and promote healing.
- Physical therapy: Exercises may strengthen the back muscles. Stretching, aerobic activity and massage may lessen symptoms.
- Electrical muscle stimulation: To build the muscles that support the spine.
- Surgery: Surgery to remove pressure on the nerves may involve removing the herniated portion or completing a bone graft fusion.
- Over-the-counter medications: These medications may relieve pain, but they should not be used long-term.
- Medications for nerve pain: Drugs may control nerve impulses that contribute to pain.
- Muscle relaxers: May be effective in treating muscle spasms.
- Injection: A steroid injection may lessen pain and facilitate movement.
- Opioids: While opioids may relieve pain, they should be used with caution.
- Catheter: If a victim suffers bladder dysfunction.
Treatment for a herniated disc may begin conservatively, escalating to more invasive measures if symptoms worsen. When treatment involves rest, bedding should be padded to minimize the risk of bedsores.
Surgery is usually not required. However, it may be needed if symptoms are severe.
When a herniated disc results from a traumatic event, like a car accident or fall, it may occur with other injuries. An appropriate course of treatment must account for all injuries.
Remember: A herniated disc doesn’t always show symptoms. It’s common for a car accident or fall victim to seek medical attention only to be told there are no signs of injury. Be aware that a herniated disc may be a possibility following a traumatic event. Don’t hesitate to seek additional medical care if you experience symptoms.
What Factors Affect the Settlement Value of Herniated Discs?
Numerous factors may affect the settlement value of a herniated disc. Because herniated discs vary in their symptoms, treatment and impact on the victim, the compensation a victim receives should vary, too. Each case is determined on the individual merits, with compensation reflecting the victim’s injuries and damages.
The cost of medical care may greatly impact the settlement value of a herniated disc. If surgery is required, for example, there is a greater expense for care and likely longer recovery time than for a person treated with rest and over-the-counter medication.
Separate from the cost of medical care, a settlement value should account for the impact that the injury has on the victim’s life. A victim who endures symptoms for months should be compensated for the impact on their life. Similarly, when symptoms are severe, like mobility impairment, pain and bowel or bladder malfunction, these harms should be valued appropriately.
The settlement value of a herniated disc may also be impacted by the strength of the legal claim and resources to pay compensation. These factors are not directly related to the extent of the person’s injury and expenses, but they may impact the ultimate settlement value of the case because of the law and the compensation process.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Coral Gables, FL
For a personalized consultation about the compensation value of a herniated disc in Florida, we invite you to contact the law offices of Maderal Byrne & Furst. We can review your case, a potential settlement and talk about the specifics of your situation. We help our clients pursue their case in full. To learn more, call (305) 520-5690 or message us today to discuss your case.