November 15, 2022
Herniated Disc From a Car Accident: What to Do
Car accident victims may find themselves suffering from a herniated disc following the incident. Delaying treatment for a herniated disc can result in chronic pain, disability, and in some cases, paralysis. Because the spinal cord can be severely damaged in an accident, getting immediate medical attention is imperative to ensure recovery.
A herniated disc can affect any of the 3 parts of the vertebrae: the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (mid-back), and the lumbar spine (lower back). Among the most common symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Chronic ache in the middle or lower back after prolonged sitting or standing
- Persistent pain or stiffness along the spine
- Shooting, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back
- Inability to stand straight due to severe muscle spasms in the lower back
- Back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttocks, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes
- In severe cases, loss of bladder or bowel control
In case of nerve impingement and weakness, the medical professional will recommend surgery to treat the chronic symptoms resulting from the disc herniation.
Can a Car Accident Cause a Herniated Disc?
A serious car accident is among the most traumatic events for your body. The strong force of the crash can result in severe damage to the delicate spinal tissues and even rupture the outer shell of the spinal disc.
Once the outer protective layer of the vertebrae becomes damaged, the centre of the spinal disc is left unprotected and can potentially protrude from the disc, which results in a painful disc herniation.
Taking Care of a Herniated Disc After a Car Accident
In some cases, some people do not realize they have been injured at the time of the accident until they start to experience painful symptoms. To protect yourself and your legal rights, be sure to gather all the necessary records and information related to the accident, especially if you want to pursue legal action and receive compensation for your spinal injury .
Seeking immediate medical attention following a car accident is crucial for the early detection and treatment of a potential injury. Immediate treatment helps minimize the overall pain and discomfort. Obtaining early medical records can help in cases with insurance providers or personal injury lawsuits .
Here’s what you can do if you have a herniated disc:
1. Treat the Pain
Some people suffering from disc herniation find relief by adjusting their posture or changing their position. Here are some tips to help alleviate the pain :
- Lie on your back with your feet up on a chair and keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Apply a cold compress for no more than 20 minutes several times a day.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, and Naprosyn.
Take it easy for several days. Resting can help ease the swelling and give your injured spine some time to heal. Avoid exercise and other activities that involve bending or lifting.
While the doctor may suggest bed rest, resting in bed should not exceed 2 days. Once you have recovered, slowly return to your regular activities. This allows you to keep moving so your joint and muscles don’t stiffen. However, avoid lifting and pushing to prevent irritation of the spinal cord.
3. Consult with Your Doctor
Proper assessment and diagnosis from your doctor are essential if you want to receive the appropriate treatment. To determine if you are suffering from a herniated disc, the medical professional will perform any of the following tests:
- X-Ray: Helps determine other potential sources of back pain
- CT (Computerized Tomography) Scan: Provides a clear and detailed image of the spine
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) : Creates an image of internal structures, which helps confirm the location of a herniated disc
4. Follow-up Treatment
The healthcare provider may recommend pain relievers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, or physical therapy to alleviate the pain . It usually takes about 6 weeks to notice any improvements.
Never try to endure the pain without seeking help. In some cases, a herniated disc can be a serious injury, which can cause permanent pain and disability if you fail to seek prompt medical treatment. Untreated disc herniation is analogous to a ticking time bomb in your spine. Over time, it can become much worse as more discs will extrude out of the annulus, pressing into your spinal cord.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Gathering early documentation, such as police and medical records of your treatment, soon after the car accident helps avoid problems with your insurance provider. This is essential for establishing that the crash was the cause of the injury. Seeking prompt treatment and medical documentation can help build a clear temporal relationship that obligates the insurance provider to pay for your medical care.
The lawyer can use the temporal relationship between the collision and medical treatment documentation to obtain a full and fair settlement for a herniated disc after the car accident . Any setbacks in treatment and medical documentation not only delay your recovery but also make it more difficult for your lawyer to secure a fair settlement and obtain payment for your treatment.
Damages You Can Claim in Herniated Disc Personal Injury Cases
Car accident victims who sustained herniated disc injuries requires rest and immediate treatment to allow their body to fully recover. If your job involves long periods of standing, bending, or lifting heavy objects, a herniated disc may prevent you from going to work for several weeks. Factoring in medical treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering, disc herniation can quickly become costly.
However, you can file a claim for damages in a herniated disc personal lawsuit.
- Lost Wage: Payment for the money you would have earned from the time of the injury to the date of the settlement
- Medical Expenses: Include past and future medical treatment, such as physical therapy or surgical procedures
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation for the impact of the injury on the quality of your life, such as the inability to perform in your daily routine or enjoy your favourite activities
- Impairment of Earning Capacity: Payment for your future missed income as a result of the injury
If you happen to get caught in a car accident in Richmond Hill that resulted in a debilitating disc herniation, contact Michelle Linka Law. Our Richmond Hill injury lawyer has years of experience helping car accident victims obtain a full and fair settlement for their injuries. Call us today at 416-477-7288 for a free initial legal consultation.