Understanding Herniated Disc Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Herniated Disc Injuries in Illinois Car Accidents

Herniated Disc Result Car Accident 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 including 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 discs.

The Location of Herniated Disc in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Before jumping into the problems associated with herniated discs, 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 discs 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 set 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 disc 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 discs are all fused together.

The Cause of Herniated Discs in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Herniated disc injuries occur when trouble arises in these rubbery areas between vertebrae. Each disc 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, then this is what is known as a herniated disc.

Interestingly, you might have a herniated disc and experience no pain whatsoever. However, if you are experiencing pain because of a spinal injury, then the discomfort will probably be associated with where on the spine the herniated disc is. For instance, herniated discs in the neck might manifest themselves in the arm, leg, or shoulder. Whereas, herniated discs toward the bottom of your spine might result in pain in the thigh, calf, or buttocks. Herniated discs 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 disc or exacerbate an existing tear causing a herniated disc. 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 disc 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 disc.

Herniated Disc Accidents in Illinois Car Crashes

The violent forces exerted on the back and neck during a car accident may damage or rupture the discs that provide shock resistance and protection to the spine. When this happens, it is referred to as a herniated disc and victims often undergo extensive surgical procedures and painful rehabilitation in their efforts to return to the same physical condition they enjoyed prior to their accidents. For some, the damage and pain may result in permanent disability or hinder their efforts to return to the activities they enjoyed. The Chicago car accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are committed to assisting these care accident victims by securing the compensation they need to pay for their medical bills and recoup the cost of lost wages and out of pocket expenses.

How Herniated Discs Occur During Car Accidents in Illinois

The spine is a large bundle of major nerves that carry signals to and from the brain and the rest of the body. Discs located between the vertebrae cushion and protect the nerves during activity and act as a form of defense during trauma. Most car accidents result in rapid deceleration or sudden changes in direction, and the forces placed on the human body during these moments can cause serious injuries.

Many herniated disc injuries occur when the body is propelled in one direction by an impact and then snapped back when a seatbelt or airbag whips the body back into the seat. When the disc is herniated, the gelatinous fluid inside may begin to leak, exposing the nerve. An exposed or pinched nerve can cause agonizing pain and disrupt nervous function such that the victim may lose balance or motor function.

Types of Car Accidents Resulting in Herniated Discs

Statistics have shown that there is a high association between lane departure accidents and herniated discs. Over 73% of car accidents linked herniated discs happen to occupants of cars and 69% occur during accidents where one of the vehicles departed its designated lane. Rear end collisions are also heavily associated with herniated discs and other back injuries due to the whip-like motion that occurs to passengers when a vehicle is hit from the rear.

Trucking accidents account for over 15% of herniated disc accidents. The sheer force involved in collisions with trucks make it possible for victims to suffer a wide range of injuries and many will endure multiple injuries in the same accident. Our Chicago car accident lawyers advise everyone to request medical attention following any car wreck because while many injuries are apparent at the time immediately following an accident, injuries like herniated discs may be asymptomatic at first. Here are some statistics on the kind of accident and vehicles that normally accompany herniated disc injuries in Illinois car crashes.


  • Car
  • Truck/Trailer
  • Motorcycle
  • Pedestrian
  • Bike
  • 73%
  • 17%
  • 3%
  • 6%
  • 1%


  • 21%
  • 69%
  • 7%
  • 2%
  • 1%

Herniated Disc Case Valuation with Illinois Car Accidents

If you have been involved in an Illinois car accident and suffered an injury such as a herniated disc in your back or neck and are thinking about suing the driver at-fault, your first question will probably be “How much can I get?” We generally use a 5-step process that analyses such things as property damage, medical costs, intangible reductions in life, punitive damage, and loss of income in order to determine what your herniate disc injury case is worth after an Illinoi auto accident. However, there are also some specific things you should think about if you suffer a herniated disc and here is a brief list:

  • Surgeries to repair a herniated disc can cost upwards of $35,000 on average for uninsured patients.

  • There are non-surgical methods of healing some herniated discs, but these can take months of bed rest and require long absences from work.

  • Treatment to repair herniated discs often leaves visible and permanent scarring along the entry points of the operation.

  • Following surgery to repair a herniated disc, you might experience stiffness and a limited range of motion in the affected area on a long-term basis.

  • The exact recovery time for a herniated disc surgery depends on your own particular health and the circumstances of the operation but it is not uncommon to last several weeks or even months.

All of these things will impact what your lawsuit will be worth in Illinois cort and a thorough examination and discussion of these points is important to have with your attorney.

Herniated Disc Statistcs in Illinois Car Accidents

Like other victims across the country, potential Illinois automobile accident plaintiffs want to know how much their cases are worth. This answer can decide if they put up with the time and effort involved in lawsuits. However, it does not mean they are easy to come to and require a careful analysis of many factors including the following:

  • Was any of your property damaged in the accident?

  • Did you receive any injuries and, if so, did you consequently see any doctors, undergo any treatments, or take any medications?

  • Did you have to stay home from work or were you unable to care for any of your accidents because of the accident?

Crashes where herniated discs are involved present similar types of questions because they normally are accompanied with significant personal injuries, extended medical care, and large absences from work. To give you an idea of the potential value of your case if you are involved in a car accident and experience a herniated disc, here is a breakdown of amounts that Illinois plaintiffs have gained over the last twenty years (since 1994):

Illinois Plaintiffs' Recovery in Car Accidents Involving Herniated Disks (1994-2014)

Amount Recovered
Percentage of Cases

Illinois Auto Accident Herniated Disc Recoveries by County

Below is a table that breaks down all Illinois car accident cases where a herniated disc was the main injury by county and award or settlement size. The number represents the percentage of cases with the associated award or settlement that each county had; thus, the total comes to 100 percent and, for instance, 8% of Illinois herniated disc cases where in Cook County and had no recovery. Broken Bones Awards Table

Takeaways from Illinois Accident Cases Involving Herniated Discs

  • Herniated disc injuries were less prevalent in Illinois cases than in others around the country; in the former, they occurred in roughly 4% of cases while they occurred in about 10% of cases nationally.

  • Illinois plaintiffs gained recovery in approximately 12% more cases than the national average as only 20% of them recovered nothing whereas the national norm was 32%.

  • Illinois plaintiffs had more success in obtaining large recoveries than those around the country as 8% of them gained sums between $1,000,000-$1,999,999 and 2% gained between $2,000,000-5,000,000 whereas the national figures where 5% and 3% respectively. Furthermore, Illinois victims received awards or settlements over $5,000,000 3% more than the national average which is striking considering these totals are in the single digits already.

  • Like similar cases across the country, Illinois car accident lawsuits involving herniated discs often went to trial and achieved a jury award instead of settling.

  • The average recovery of Illinois car accident plaintiffs with herniated discs was $602,553.

Herniated Disc Injury Treatments

Treatments for herniated disc injuries sustained in Illinois car accidents are sophisticated and varied. They also touch on the kind and amount of recovery that might be available in a future case. In this way, looking at the kinds of treatments you received and for how long you received them might show you something about the value of your claims. Here are some issues that relate to this topic:

  • Diagnosis: Imaging scans such as MRIs and CT scans can rule out spinal injuries following an accident. They can also locate compressed or ruptured discs that have not presented symptoms due to the position of the injury and nerves. Remember, it is possible for those nerves to become exposed at a later time due to the continued loss of fluid in the disc. Therefore, it is important to constantly keep in touch with your doctors to update the diagnosis and effects of the incident in order to preserve the proper value of your Illinois auto accident case.

  • Surgery: Surgery is often the only way for doctors to treat patients with herniated or ruptured discs and the procedures used are often invasive. Car accident victims suffering from disc injuries may need to undergo rehabilitation before they can walk or return to work and some may never be cleared to perform physical labor again. Whenever surgery is needed to correct an injury in Illinois auto accident cases, the value of the lawsuit tends to increase dramatically. In that way, it is a great indicator of potential case value.

  • Prescriptions: Due to the violent and traumatic nature of Illinois car accidents and the injuries they produce such as herniated discs, physicians normally proscribe a regiment of medications to treat the underlying pain that victims are experiencing. In terms of case value, this has a few implications. First, plaintiffs can recover for the exact costs of these pills. Second, they can also recover for the decreased quality of life that this pain and suffering has produced and that necessitated the prescriptions in the first place.

  • Rehabilitation: Illinois car accident victims with herniated discs often need long-term care and rehab. Herniated discs are ongoing issues and require a certain level of ongoing medication attention. As with prescriptions, direct rehab treatment costs can be recovered in court as well as the pain that the victim is suffering from and trying to alleviate with this care. Importantly, this can be recovered for a long time into the future as long as the plaintiff can demonstrate that it still stems from the injuries sustained in the original automobile accident.

These aren’t the only treatment options that you might encounter with a herniated disc injury in Illinois after a car accident. However, these topics relay some important concepts that highlight potential case values including the following: you can recover for past, present, and future treatment costs; you can recover for the tangible and intangible damages that the treatment is trying to fix; for all of your compensation claims, you must show they were caused by the car accident.

Herniated Disc Claims and Defenses in Illinois Lawsuits

Defendants in auto accident cases normally offer a number of common defenses. They are directly attempting to undermine your claims and the value of your case. Here are a few of the most frequent defenses and some insights into how you can combat their maneuvers in order to protect the value of your Illinois lawsuit:

  1. Defendants will argue that your injuries were pre-existing and were not caused by the Illinois auto accident. If successful, this will remove your ability to recover at all for these pains. Therefore, after the incident and for a long time after, you need to visit your doctor to establish that the crash caused the herniated disc as well as to put together a comprehensive medical history.

  2. Defendants will also claim that you are exaggerating your injuries and damages. Normally, they won’t have much room to argue against your economic costs because you can easily bolster your claims with receipts on these. However, with respect to intangible damages such as long-term pain and suffering, you need to point to comparable cases and show that your compensation requests are reasonable. You also need to offer physicians’ evidence of what will be required to treat the pains from the herniated disc.

  3. Defendants might make the case that you assumed the risk or negligently contributed to your own injuries. To shoot down these claims, suggest and prove that the defendant’s own negligence was more to blame for your injuries than any of your alleged misconduct, if any.

Call Us For A Free Consultation

Have you suffered a herniated disc from a car accident in Illinois? If you have, then call the offices of the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. We can give you a free consultation that analyzes every form of compensation available to you under the law. Then, we will make sure you get that compensation at no upfront cost! Call us today to get the ball rolling towards your recovery.

If you would like to learn about other kinds of injuries sustained in Illinois auto accidents, then please read the following pages:

Understanding Back Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Broken Bone Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Wrongful Deaths in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Facial Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Knee Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

Understanding Brain Injuries in Illinois Automobile Accidents

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