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How Much is a Herniated Disc Car Accident Case Worth in Illinois? (Settlements & Verdicts)

Were you involved in an Illinois car accident and suffer an injury like a herniated disc in your back or neck and are thinking about suing the driver at-fault? If so, your first question will probably be, "How much can I get?"

In another section of our Illinois Car Accident Settlement Center (What Is My Car Accident Case Worth?), we outlined a framework for estimating how much your case could be worth approximately.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents victims of an automobile accident with injuries and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has successfully prosecuted cases for our clients who suffer disc herniation injuries caused by others' negligent actions.

Our attorneys are available to answer any legal questions on how to receive the monetary compensation you deserve if your injuries result from a reckless or careless driver. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office at (888) 424-5757 for a free review of your legal rights.

Our attorneys currently represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Naperville Schaumburg.

Herniated Disc Car Accident Settlements FAQs

What is the Average Payout for Herniated Discs?

The amount of settlement you should receive for a herniated disc depends on the severity of your injuries and the length of your recovery. However, herniated discs' average settlement range is about $360,000, with a median range of $65,000.

Herniated discs are a common permanent injury, typically caused by a car crash or a job accident. The individuals responsible, including the at-fault driver, could be held legally liable.

Individuals injured on the job can seek workers' compensation benefits through their employer's insurance coverage. The compression can cause significant aggravation that requires medical treatment or surgical intervention.

What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine's delicate structures maintain communication between the brain and body through spinal nerves running through the spinal column's vertebrae and discs. Any trauma to the spinal cord could cause significant damage through a protruded slipped disc or herniated disc.

Can You get a Herniated Disc From a Car Accident?

Any car accident involving the back could cause a herniated disc that leads to compression nerve damage. Slipped discs and herniated discs can produce a pinched nerve, chronic pain, lumbar radiculopathy, cervical radiculopathy, and nerve impingement.

Is a Herniated Disc a Disability?

In some cases, disc herniations produce long-lasting pain that might never go away. If the injury causing the herniated disc occurred while on the job, the victim might qualify for worker's compensation benefits.

Others might qualify for monthly financial assistance through the federal government's Social Security disability benefits program. Victims disabled with a herniated disc usually suffer severe pain and compression that affects the right and left shoulder, neck, and back.

How do They fix a Herniated Disc?

Surgeons usually recommend a discectomy surgical procedure to treat a lumbar region herniated disc. The procedure includes removing a portion of the disc that's compressing the nerve root.

More severe cases require removing the entire disc to alleviate intense pressure, alleviate aggravation, and diminish pain.

How Much Should I Settle for a Back Injury?

If you are involved in a vehicle crash, you are likely entitled to file a motorist claim for compensation. If the injuries were the result of a truck accident or hit-and-run drunk driver crash, you could seek compensation through your uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.

Many victims will file a claim seeking $300,000 or more in a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.

An Automobile Crash Could Cause a Spinal Cord Injury Like a Herniated Disc

The spine is constructed with vertebrae and discs that act as a round cushion to minimize the impact on the bones in the spinal column. These tiny shock absorbers cushion the spinal column when we bend, twist, stretch, or lift heavy objects.

Any injury to the disc can cause severe trauma and might negatively affect the nerve root. The weakened area can herniate the disc and produce substantial pressure on the spinal cord nerve, producing pain that radiates throughout the body.

Exactly where the pain is felt will be determined by the location of the injured disc.

In the emergency room, doctors rarely diagnose a herniated disc accurately if the victim has undergone an automobile crash. Typically, a series of x-rays are unable to identify a nearly invisible disc injury.

Because of that, the doctor will typically recommend the patient undergo an MRI (magnetic resonance imagery) scan or CT (computerized tomography) scan that more accurately identifies a disc problem. The doctor might also recommend other diagnostic tests, including myelography, discography, or electromyography.

Medical science has long known that a diagnostic test cannot identify the level of pain the injured victim is experiencing. Experts cannot accurately tell how a herniated disc correlates precisely with the victim's pain or other symptoms because other factors might be involved.

During the collision, the victim's back might have been compressed, causing two vertebrae to smash into each other and cause significant damage to the disc. If the crash's impact has sufficient force, the spinal disc can easily rupture and spill the jellylike fluid held inside, leading to a herniated disc.

As the gel spills, it irritates the nerve root and creates tissue swelling surrounding the vertebrae. The spine's reaction typically results in localized pain that might eventually radiate into the extremities and cause excruciating pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness.

Pre-Existing Disc Injury

Many car crash victims attempting to handle their compensation case without legal representation face an insurance company's unexpected reaction denying their claim outright. The claims adjuster might first attempt to divert responsibility from the driver at fault for the accident over to the victim.

The insurance company might claim the victim had a pre-existing disc injury that prevents them from seeking compensation for the harm caused before the accident occurred. This effective tactic can be successful at dissuading the victim from continuing their lawsuit.

The victim's medical records might show other degenerative issues, including osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis that developed years before the accident. However, even an individual with a pre-existing herniated disc or other degenerative spinal conditions might have been unaware they had a health problem with their back before the incident occurred because there were no symptoms.

If you have a pre-existing herniated disc or another degenerative back issue, an attorney working on your behalf can clearly articulate that your new injury is significantly different than your past back problems.

Your lawyer might be able to show that there is a noticeable, worsening change in your pain level that developed after the auto crash that you would likely not be experiencing had you not been involved in the accident caused by the other driver.

Signs and Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Injured victims experience many of the common symptoms associated with a herniated disc in distinct locations based on where the spine's injury occurred. In some rare cases, the victim will not have any noticeable symptoms associated with a ruptured disc, or the outward signs will not reveal problems until months or years after the accident.

That said, the most common symptoms associated with a herniated disc involve:

  • Muscle cramps,
  • Muscle tightening,
  • The intense pain associated with a sharp, dull, achy feeling in the back,
  • Unexplained weakness in the extremities or affected area in the back,
  • A tingling or dull sensation that radiates down the legs, arms and into the hands and feet,
  • Excruciating headaches that developed when lying down or sitting in specific positions,
  • Neck and back pain
  • Intense lower back pain that worsens when sneezing, coughing, or sitting,
  • Foot drop caused by a neurological issue with the herniated disc makes it difficult to lift the foot when standing or walking

How Doctors Treat Herniated Discs

After doctors diagnosed your herniated disc, they might recommend medication and bed rest. This recommendation is often given because many herniated discs can heal without surgical intervention.

However, if your injuries are severe, require ongoing physical therapy, and dangerous pain medications, you might require surgery. These procedures typically involve:

  • Removing the herniated disc in its entirety;
  • Removing the part of the disc the protrudes from the spinal column;
  • Implanting a prosthetic (artificial) spinal cord disc;
  • Fusing the damaged vertebrae with healthier vertebrae above and below to stabilize the spinal column; or
  • Implant metal components to stabilize the spinal column.

Typically, the recovery time to allow the herniated disc to heal completely can be extensive. Usually, the victim could not go to work even if their job requires sitting in one position all day.

Suppose the doctor recommends a nonsurgical treatment option. In that case, it could take you a few weeks to recuperate, whereas a surgical procedure that repairs your herniated disc might require several months of recovery.

Determining the Value of Your Case

The accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have posted our What Is My Car Accident Case Worth? five-step webpage. Our attorneys will consider different valuations to determine your case's worth, including property damage, medical costs, intangible reductions in life, punitive damages, loss of income, and the insurance policy limits.

However, there are also some specific things you should think about if you suffer from a herniated disk. Here is a brief list:

  • Surgeries to repair disc herniation can cost upwards of $35,000 on average for uninsured patients. Some repairs include lumbar fusion surgery, laminectomy, and anterior cervical discectomy that require ongoing medical treatment,
  • There are nonsurgical healing methods for some herniated disks, but these can take months of bed rest and require long work absences. Many of these victims suffer cervical spine damage, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder injury and pain, disc herniation, and decompression.
  • Treatment to repair herniated disks often leaves visible and permanent scarring along with the entry points of the operation.
  • Following surgery to repair a herniated disk, 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 disk surgery depends on your particular health and the circumstances of the operation. However, it is not uncommon to last several weeks or even months.

Obviously, from these few facts alone, it is not challenging to see that a herniated disc can easily and initially cost you a lot of money. Medical bills will quickly begin to pile up, and you will be forced to miss work to recuperate.

Also, there could be some long-term reduction in your quality of life from the pain that might persist and the scarring that might display. Thus, while not as much as some other injuries, disk herniations do offer the opportunity to collect some non-economic compensation as well.

Therefore, when using our five-step analysis to determine what your case accident case is worth, it is vital to keep these local factors in mind for herniated disc injuries. Remember that your case's evidence and facts are unique, which could make it difficult to determine the actual value of your compensation claim.

The Value of Previous Cases

An uncomplicated way to calculate your case's value is to review the worth of cases that have already been settled out of court or won at trial, even though some factors might not be the same as in your case. No monetary amount can take away the pain you are experiencing from a severe injury.

Statistically, juries award victims of automobile accidents who suffer herniated discs about $350,000 at the end of the trial. Remember that this is merely an average, meaning that some plaintiffs receive less and others more based on their case's uniqueness.

The cases listed below reveal jury trial verdict or negotiated settlements in lawsuits that have been filed through the United States.

  • In January 2016, a Florida jury awarded the plaintiff more than $580,000 after the defendant made a left-hand turn and crashed into the plaintiff. The victim suffered a cervical disc injury and requires ongoing chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and surgical procedures.
    The victim was awarded more than $230,000 for non-tangible damages, including pain-and-suffering and the remainder to cover lost wages and medical expenses.
  • In January 2016, an Illinois jury awarded the 50-year-old accident victim more than $420,000 after he slipped and fell at a Ford dealership while walking on a wet floor. The slip and fall injuries caused a tear in his meniscus and herniated a disc.
    The plaintiff received 95% of the jury award after jurors found that the victim was five percent at fault for causing a portion of the accident.
  • In February 2015, a Missouri jury awarded a motor vehicle victim more than $140,000 after an uninsured driver struck her in an accident that led to her herniated disc.
    The victim was awarded $100,000 to cover her compensation claim and another $33,000 to cover lawyer's fees. Jurors awarded an additional $10,000 in compensation because the insurance company had denied the plaintiff's payment for compensation, resulting in her filing a lawsuit.
  • In June 2014, the plaintiff and defendants negotiated an $800,000 out of court settlement after the victim suffered an injury to a slip and fall incident in a mall food court. The plaintiffs suffered a lower back injury, a bulging disc, and required a disc herniation repair involving fusing a portion of the lumbar spine area.
  • In April 2014, the plaintiff and defendants agreed on a $1.5 million settlement. The 51-year-old plaintiff was injured when crossing the street after being struck by a car making a left turn.
    The injured victim waited two days before visiting her doctor, who diagnosed her with cervical and lumbar disc herniations, cervical avulsion fractures, lumbar disc bulges, and ligament tears in the right shoulder and left knee. As a result, the woman required ongoing physical therapy.

Taking Legal Steps for Financial Compensation

The automobile accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand that the accident that caused your herniated disc was not your fault. We have successfully obtained millions on behalf of the victims and their family members to ensure they were adequately compensated to cover their medical expenses, household bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, and emotional damage, and we can help your family too.

Contact our accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

We accept all personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits, and automobile accident injury claims through contingency fee arrangements. This legal contract postpones legal services payment until after completing your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict.

Our law firm gets results quickly because we understand you need money now. We proudly offer every client a "No Win/No-Fee" Guarantee, meaning if we cannot secure financial compensation on your behalf, you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law office will stay confidential.

Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

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Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
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Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa