Kansas City Herniated Disc Attorney
A herniated disc can cause severe pain, limited range of motion, and other symptoms. At our Kansas City car accident law firm, we know that car accidents, as well as bike, motorcycle and pedestrian accidents, are common causes of herniated disc injuries at the C4/C5 and C5/C6 level of the spine. We know firsthand how serious the impact of a herniated disc in the cervical spine can be can be from our personal injury cases throughout Missouri and Kansas.
Our Kansas City spine injury attorney assists accident victims with C4/C5 and C5/C6 herniated discs file personal injury claims seeking compensation for their injuries, damages, and losses. Let’s take a closer look at these injuries, the average value of a herniated disc settlement, and some factors that influence how much a herniated disc claim is worth.
What Does It Mean to Have a Herniated Disc at C4/C5 and C5/C6?
The cervical spine is more commonly known as your neck. There are seven bones (vertebrae) stacked together that make up your neck. The vertebrae are numbered C1 through C7. They connect the skull to the upper spine at shoulder level.
The cervical spine performs several important functions, including supporting the head and its movement, protecting the spinal cord, and facilitating blood flow to the brain.
Between each of the vertebrae are intervertebral discs. The cervical discs cushion the bones. Each cervical disc has two parts. The outer layer or annulus fibrosus protects the softer inner layer of the disc while handling the cervical spine’s heavy load and absorbing shocks from the movement of the head and neck.
The inner portion of the cervical disc or nucleus pulposus is a gel-like substance of fibers that provides additional flexibility for movement and cushioning for the cervical vertebrae.
A herniated disc occurs when any portion of the discs outer layer tears and some of the inner layer leaks into the tear. The inner layer of the disc contains inflammatory proteins which can cause severe pain if they leak onto the nearby nerve roots in the cervical spine.
What are Herniated Disc Symptoms?
The most common symptom of a herniated disc is neck pain ranging from mild tenderness to sharp, burning pain. The pain often radiates down the neck through the shoulders, arms, and hands. An individual may also experience weakness or numbness that also radiates down through the shoulders, arms, and fingers. Some people describe feeling tingling.
Symptoms can increase when performing certain tasks or moving the head into certain positions, such as turning the head from side-to-side or tilting the head forward. Neck stiffness is also a reported symptom of a herniated disc.
The location of the herniated disc also determines the symptoms a person may experience. For example, a herniated disc between the C4/C5 vertebrae often results in pain and weakness throughout the shoulder and deltoid muscles. Numbness and tingling are not a common symptom of a herniated disc in this area, but some patients do report these symptoms. Because numbness and tingling are rarer with this type of herniated disc, insurance companies may investigate claims more closely that involve these symptoms.
A herniated disc between the C5/C6 vertebrae results in pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness in the hands, biceps (muscles in the front of the upper arms), and the muscles in the forearms (wrist extensor muscles). A patient may experience a reduced range of motion with a C5/C6 herniated disc. C5/C6 discs are one of the most common discs to herniate.
How Does a Doctor Diagnose These Injuries and Treat These Injuries?
A doctor considers your reported symptoms and performs a physical examination to determine whether you have any limitations of movement or display any signs of muscle weakness, problems with balance, abnormal reflexes, signs of pain, loss of extremity reflexes, or sensory loss. After a physical examination, a doctor may order one or more diagnostic tests to view the cervical spine more closely, such as MRIs, x-rays, CT scans, bone scans, and CT myelograms.
After diagnosing a herniated disc, the doctor may prescribe several treatments to help resolve pain, weakness, and limitations to range of motion. Treatments for a herniated cervical disc include:
- Pain medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain
- Muscle relaxers
- Physical therapy
- Nerve root injections or epidural steroid injections to treat acute pain and reduce swelling
If the pain and other symptoms last for more than two to three months, surgery may be necessary to treat a cervical herniated disc. Surgery may be necessary if a patient experiences trouble walking or standing or has a loss of bowel or bladder control. A spine surgeon can typically remove the protruding portion of the cervical disc to remedy the problem.
What's the Average Settlement Value for a Herniated Disc at C4/C5 or C5/C6?
The settlements for injury claims involving herniated discs at C4/C5 or C5/C6 vary greatly throughout the country. The median jury verdict is about $80,000, but the average jury verdict is somewhere around $360,000. These figures tell us that there are some very high jury verdicts and some very low jury verdicts for herniated disc cases. Therefore, it is important to look at the factors that can influence a specific injury case instead of viewing the average and median jury verdicts for herniated disc cases.
The factors that can influence a herniated disc case include:
- Whether the person has a pre-existing condition such as degenerative disc disease or previous injuries to the C4 through C6 cervical vertebrae.
- The types of treatment required, such as epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery.
- The person’s age and medical history.
- The person’s salary and how much time missed from work.
- The prognosis of the herniated disc, including whether the person is expected to recover fully or have a permanent impairment or disability because of the injury.
- The level of pain and suffering experienced because of the herniated disc.
- Whether the other party was completely at fault for the car accident or if the victim shared some responsibility for the cause of the accident.
- The cost of medical treatment and personal care.
The above list is not an exhaustive list of factors that could be involved in your injury claim. Each herniated disc claim must be evaluated individually. The factors in your case may indicate that your claim is worth much more than the median or average settlement for a herniated disc injury claim.
Our Kansas City spine injury lawyers thoroughly review each factor that could affect your claim to determine the maximum value for your injury claim.
Contact an Experienced Kansas City Herniated Disc Attorney
The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus handles a variety of car accident injury claims, including claims involving cervical herniated discs.
Call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with our Kansas City spine injury lawyer to learn more about how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve after being injured in a car crash.