Herniated Disc, Causation, and Damages, June 2015
In any lawsuit for damages the plaintiff must prove liability for the accident, damages and causation of injuries whether the occurrence was an automobile wreck, slip and fall accident, or other types of accidents. In auto wrecks there are many back injuries and herniated disc injures are caused in rear end accidents, and head on collisions, and workers comp injuries, and falls due to the forces exerted on the back and spinal cord in the collision.
It is difficult to recover damages for a preexisting condition even when the condition has been aggravated or made worse by the wreck. If a medical professional views an MRI, or CAT scan and determines that the patient had prior degenerative disc damage this is a normal condition that ever one gets with aging. Typically bone spurs occur with aging, and are considered degenerative, and we want the doctor to state that the wreck aggravated the condition. A herniated disc is different from a bulging disc. A bulging disc can be caused by pressure, or a loss of fluid in the disc, and many times this condition will recover with rest. A bulging disc is not generally caused by trauma. A true herniated disc is when the disc ruptures from pressure which can be caused by trauma. If the patient didn’t have the signs and symptoms of the rupture before the accident, and the doctor states that the trauma caused the rupture, the case is solid as to causation.
Many patients are treated for back pains by chiropractors, and other specialists. When a herniated disc is involved it is necessary to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon to diagnosis the condition. An orthopedic surgeon is able to perform a laminectomy, or other procedure on a herniated disc. Patients may want to get a second opinion before having back surgery. In litigation or workers compensation the defendant may be entitled to have an independent medical examination, IME of a patient.
Your attorney should know whether your doctor has given prior depositions, and whether he is considered fair to plaintiffs or a company doctor who is generally hired by insurance companies in workers comp, and leans towards the company view. Like politics there are some company doctors considered fair, and some that will only root for the company.
A back surgery requires months of recovery, possible rehab, prescriptions, and time off work. A patient should get a medical permanency rating which is a medical opinion that the condition is permanent , and this will be used by your lawyer in evaluation and settlement your case. A trial attorney is an attorney who will gather all of the information needed to get your best settlement or go to court. A settlement lawyer never goes to court, is known by the insurance companies for only settling cases, and will get a low ball offer. At Robbins & Associates I have been evaluating, settling and trying law suits for over 30 years. Feel free to call me to answer your questions about your medical condition, and law suit.