Strong forces are in play whenever two or more vehicles collide with one another, and there is always the potential for victims to suffer life-altering injuries. The Chicago car, truck and motorcycle attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers recognize just how debilitating and painful herniated disc injuries resulting from these accidents can be and the toll they take on their victims for the rest of their lives. It is far too easy for insurance companies to attempt to place an immediate value on a person’s injuries without considering the financial, physical and emotional impact that the incident will have on a person’s life for many years. This is why we use whatever avenues are available to ensure our clients receive the maximum amount of compensation available under law.
The Anatomy of the Spine
In order to understand how a herniated disc occurs during an auto accident, it is important to understand how the spine is structured along with the mechanics involved in a collision. The human spinal column is comprised of 24 articulating vertebrae and nine fused vertebrae. Intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers and protect the spinal cord from injury. These discs are filled with a gel-like substance that provides the flexibility and shock absorption to perform their function under normal circumstances.
During even the most minor of auto accidents, it is possible for the spine to be thrown forward and back in a whip-like motion or to be twisted or compressed when experiencing sudden and rapid deceleration. A herniated disc is the rupture of one of these discs and the subsequent loss of the fluid inside. Without this fluid, the spinal cord is exposed and vulnerable— resulting in intense pain and increased risk of permanent injuries to the spine.
Our Chicago auto injury lawyers take into account the long-term impact of our clients’ injuries when determining the value of their cases. Caring for a herniated disc may take a lifetime due to the inability of the body to recover naturally. Surgical intervention is possible, but the methods that are available today are expensive and may come with the risk of complication.
Types of Injuries Linked to Herniated Discs Related to Car Crashes
There are three regions of the upper spine that contain intervertebral discs. The lumbar is comprised of five vertebrae and is located in the lower back. Above the lumbar are twelve thoracic vertebrae and seven cervical vertebrae make up the upper back. The complications that accompany a herniated disc normally correlate to the location of the injury and its severity. In many cases, the herniation of a disc saves the victim from a much more serious injury to the spine, but still results in intense pain and debilitation.
The location of the pain helps doctors determine which part of the spine is affected. Most of our Chicago auto injury lawyers’ clients are surprised when they don’t feel any pain at the actual site of the injury and it is manifested instead in the form of shooting pains in other areas. Using this quick guide, we can tell you which part of your spine has been injured based on the location of the pain.
- Shooting pains in the legs usually result from injuries to the discs in the lumbar and can include the aggravation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spine through the leg.
- Pain that shoots through the arms is likely to originate from the cervical vertebrae, revealing an injury to the upper part of the spine.
- Injuries to the thoracic vertebrae may be more difficult to identify without a comprehensive evaluation and imaging scan such as a CT scan or an MRI.
Diagnosis and Treatment for People With Herniated Disc Injuries
Injuries to the spine are not always symptomatic in the hours and days following an accident. This is because the herniated disc has done its job through the course of the accident and protected the spine. However, after the disc has lost its fluid, it can no longer cushion, support and protect the spine, resulting in pain, reduced range of motion and the potential loss of motor function. A standard x-ray taken following an accident is not sufficient to diagnose a herniated disc either; due to the fact that the gel inside the discs is not visible through x-rays. The only way to rule out the possibility of a spinal injury is to order a CT scan or MRI.
Treatment for herniated discs can range from steroidal injections and pain control measures to the use of surgery and ongoing physical therapy. These methods can be cost prohibitive and even when they are successful; victims may need to endure pain for the rest of their lives. Herniated discs also place victims at an elevated risk of suffering other complications such as the development of osteoarthritis.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understands the need our clients have to ensure that they are able to afford immediate and long-term medical care for their injuries. Insurance companies often argue against the value of future medical expenses by questioning whether certain procedures and treatment options are truly necessary. Our access to a network of medical specialists and economists helps us substantiate your claim and ensures you will receive every bit of compensation you need for your immediate needs as well as those you will have in the future.
Contact us today to arrange a risk free consultation with one of our highly qualified award winning Chicago car, truck and motorcycle accident attorneys. We will collect the information we need to evaluate your case and let you know what legal options are available so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed with your case. You are assured that we will never require payment upfront and will only receive a fee once we have secured compensation on your behalf.