As a car accident attorney, one of the most common physical ailments that my clients suffer from following a car accident is back and neck pain. This pain can occur immediately or manifest itself in the hours or days following your car accident. Also, the severity of pain that you experience may vary from minor to excruciating. Finally, the treatment you will receive, and your recovery time may vary greatly depending on the type of back or neck injury you have suffered.
If you experience back or neck pain from a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Your healthcare provider will likely start with x-rays to ensure nothing is fractured then start you on a course of conservative treatment such as physical therapy and massage therapy. If your pain has failed to resolve in about a month, you will likely be sent for an MRI to determine if you have suffered anything more than sprains or strains.
An MRI may confirm that you have suffered a herniated disc. A disc refers to the rubbery cushions between the individual vertebrae in your neck and back. A disc is a little bit like a jelly doughnut with a soft jelly center surrounded by a hard exterior. A herniation of the disc refers to the tearing of that hard exterior shell, which in turn causes the softer jelly-like substance to escape, often causing pain.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc as a result of a car accident, aside from dealing with your injury, there are some important legal steps that you should take. First, consult with an experienced car accident attorney. Insurance companies often try to argue that your herniated disc is not related to your accident but was rather a pre-existing degenerative issue. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney early on to protect you from this tactic.
Also, there are many different treatment outcomes for people that have suffered from herniated discs in car accidents. Sometimes all it takes to recover physically is some physical therapy and in other instances back or neck surgery is the only treatment option that will help. The type of treatment that you undergo will greatly affect your potential personal injury recovery. For example, a person that undergoes a few months of physical therapy and makes a full recovery will likely receive less money in a settlement than a person that needs to have surgery since your settlement is largely based upon pain and suffering.
The most important thing to understand about herniated discs and car accident cases is that there is no one size fits all solution and it can often be hard to predict a person’s prognosis. This is why it is so important that your car accident attorney wait until you have fully recovered from your injury before resolving your case. An early resolution to your case may negatively affect your overall recovery since you are being compensated in part for your pain and suffering.
So, if you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc from a car accident, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney and remain patient while you undergo the various treatment options your doctors recommend, your attorney can then work towards the final resolution of your case when you fully recover.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.