Cervical & Lumbar Disc Herniations from Auto Accidents
Our law firm handles a wide variety of cases related to car accidents. Time and again, one common injury that surfaces in victims is a herniated disc. Many people do not know much about this injury or how it can arise in the circumstances of an automobile accident. Therefore, we have laid out some information below that will help you understand this issue as well as links where you can find settlement amounts and jury awards in car accident cases involving herniated disks.Herniated Disks: the Location
Before jumping into the problems associated with herniated disk, some explanation of the human anatomy might be helpful so you can get a deeper understanding of their origins. The setting for these injuries is the human spine, also known as the vertebral column. There are actually 33 disks or vertebrae within the spine and the entire column is encased in the spinal canal.
Stretching from the head to the lower back, the first are known as the cervical vertebrae, the next twelve are known as the thoracic vertebrae, the next five are known as the lumbar vertebrae, and the final nine are known as the sacral vertebrae and are the lowest. In between each of the cervical, thoracic, and lumber vertebrae there is a rubbery disk that acts as a cushion between each of the bones so that they do not grind on each other. On the other hand, there is no such material in between the sacral vertebrae because those disks are all fused together.Herniated Disks: the Cause
Herniated disks happen when trouble arises in these rubbery areas between vertebrae. Each disk has a hard, outer ring, called the anulus fibrosus, and a softer inner area, called the nucleus pulposus. A rip, tear, or break in the outer ring could allow the inner portion to protrude out and if it does, this is what is known as a herniated disk.
Interestingly, you might have a herniated disk and experience no pain whatsoever. However, if you are experiencing pain, and because this involves a spinal injury, it will probably be associated with where on the spine the herniated disk is. For instance, herniated disks in the neck might manifest themselves in the arm, leg, or shoulder. Whereas, herniated disks toward the bottom of your spine might result in discomfort in thigh, calf, or buttocks. Herniated disks can result from many different situations but here are some of the most common:
- Aging: Over time, your spine looses some of its flexibility when its water content declines. This can make the spine more brittle and prone to tears where a younger, more water-filled spine would not face any of these problems.
- Trauma: In certain instances, the blunt force of a traumatic event can either completely rip open the outer rim of a disk or exacerbate an existing tear causing a herniated disk. Circumstances where this might occur include a car accident, fall, or other physically jarring event.
- Gradual Tear: Many people do not know when their herniated disk exactly occurred. This is not uncommon. Over the course of a life involving heavy lifting during work, exercise, or other activities, the outer rim can result in a herniated disk.
In many instances, the shocking nature of car accidents can provoke an underlying medical condition into a herniated disk or completely cause a herniated disk on its own. Distinguishing the source of your injuries requires a lot of investigation and analysis. However, cases where the accident was responsible for the herniated disk have resulted in significant jury awards and settlement amounts. Peruse the following pages at your leisure. They review plaintiffs’ recoveries in these cases over the last twenty years.