Our Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer on Herniated Disc Cases

Being injured in a car accident can result in chronic pain, financial damages, and permanent injuries. A common car accident injury is a herniated disc. This type of car accident injury can result in severe pain and significant financial damages. Additionally, you might find it difficult to win a personal injury claim involving a herniated disc injury due their complexity.

In this article, our Kansas City car accident and spine injury lawyer discusses several topics related to herniated disc injuries from car accidents. We also provide links to several other articles and blogs from our law firm site that provide more detailed information about specific topics related to herniated disc injuries.

What is a Herniated Disc?

Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. These bones protect your spinal cord from injury, assist in movement, and provide support. Between each bone is a disc. These intervertebral discs provide cushion for the vertebrae.

A herniated disc occurs when the outer portion of an intervertebral disc tears and allows the jelly-like substance of the inner layer to bulge or leak out of the disc. When this occurs, a person can experience severe pain at the point of injury because of the inflammatory proteins in the disc leak onto nearby nerve roots in the spine.

Depending on the location of the herniated disc, a person may also experience limited range of motion; numbness or tingling in various body parts; pain shooting down through the shoulders, arms, and legs; and, muscle weakness.

How Can a Car Crash Cause a Herniated Disc?

herniated disc Kansas City car accident injury lawyer

Car crashes are common causes of herniated discs. The stress of the crash with another car, truck or other object places stress on the spinal column. The pressure and stress can cause one or more of the discs between the vertebrae to move out of place causing bulging. A slipped disc occurs when a disc moves out of place. The movement of the disc can also cause tears in the disc or ruptures, allowing the inner layer to leak out into the spinal column. 

Both types of herniated discs can cause severe pain. Bulging discs can press against the spinal nerves while torn discs allow the inflammatory proteins to leak onto spinal nerves. It may be easier to think about the discs as if they were little pillows wedged between books. If you hit the stack of books hard enough, the pillows shift. The trauma of a car crash is the force that hit the “books” causing the “pillows” to move.

How is a Herniated Disc Diagnosed and Treated?

A physician performs a physical examination, including searching for signs of pain, muscle weakness, abnormal reflexes, loss of extremity reflexes, sensory loss, problems with balance, and tenderness. Additionally, a doctor may order one or more diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions and confirm a herniated disc.

An MRI is an extremely useful tool in diagnosing herniated discs and proving damages in a personal injury claim. Once a physician diagnoses a herniated disc, the treatment prescribed depends on the type of herniated disc and the severity of the injury. Common herniated disc treatments include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling
  • Prescription pain medications for severe pain
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Epidural steroid injections or nerve root injections
  • Physical therapy and other exercises
  • Surgery, in cases involving loss of bowel or bladder function, problems walking or standing, or chronic pain and symptoms that do not respond to other treatments and last for several months

Developing a successful treatment plan relies on a correct diagnosis of a herniated disc.

What are the Different Types of a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc can occur at any point along the spine. A cervical herniated disc occurs between any of the vertebrae that make up the cervical spine (the bones located in the neck). The vertebrae are numbered C1 through C7. 

Although a car crash can cause a herniation of any of the cervical discs, the disc between the C5 and C6 vertebrae seems to be one of the most common locations for a herniated disc after a car crash. The disc between the C4 and C5 vertebrae is another common location for a herniated disc after a car accident. 

The cervical spine is important because it supports the head and assists in movement. An injury to the cervical vertebrae can result in pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling throughout the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. 

What is a Claim Involving a Herniated Disc Worth?

Calculating the value of a herniated disc claim can be difficult. Many factors affect how much a herniated disc claim is worth. The main factors used to calculate the value of a cervical herniated disc claim are:

  • The seriousness of the accident;
  • The type and severity of the injury;
  • The type of herniated disc treatment required;
  • The victim’s age and medical history;
  • The prognosis given by the doctors;
  • Non-economic damages (pain and suffering); and,
  • Fault for the car accident and the amount of insurance coverage available.

Your injury claim for a herniated disc could involve other factors, such as whether you have a pre-existing condition that could impact your injury claim. Insurance companies often use pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying or undervaluing injury claims, including herniated disc claims from car accidents.

The insurance company may argue that because you have a certain medical condition, you are elderly, or you have a prior injury to the cervical spine, you are not entitled to as much compensation as a person who does not have these factors as part of their claim. 

Our Kansas City spine injury lawyers know how to fight this insurance tactic. We attack this defense with sound legal arguments alleging victims are entitled to full compensation for all injuries caused by another driver regardless of the victim’s physical health before the accident.

For detailed information about how factors impact the value of your herniated disc settlement, read our blog post about the seven factors that impact herniated disc injury claims.

Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney

Our Kansas City law firm is experienced in fighting for the rights of car accident and spine injury victims throughout Missouri and Kansas. If you sustained a cervical herniated disc or another injury in a car accident, contact our Kansas City car accident lawyer today to discuss the value of your claim and how we can help you maximize your chance of a successful outcome in your case. 

Call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with a Kansas City spine injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options for filing a personal injury claim. 


Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS