If you are diagnosed with a bulging disc as the result of being in an accident caused by someone else, you may be able to get money for your injury.
What is a bulging disc and can it be caused by an accident?
When one of your intervertebral discs in the spinal column is injured in your back or neck, the disc weakens and it can bulge or extend into the spinal canal. A bulging disc in your back or neck can cause pain.
A bulging disc can be aggravated by a car accident, motorcycle crash, truck wreck and many types of other accidents. If you are injured and someone else is at fault, you may be entitled to damages.
I know at least one orthopedic doctor in Florida who believes that people in their 20’s and older all have bulging discs. He does not believe that they are significant.
In fact, he reviewed an MRI CD for me in a case where my client was diagnosed with a herniated disc.
I will talk about the effect of this orthopedic doctor’s opinion later in this article when I explain how to calculate a case value for an injury claim involving a disc bulge.
Jury Says Bulging Disc Isn’t a Permanent Injury; No Pain and Suffering $
In Henson vs. Ambulance Service, Inc. a jury found that the rear end crash victim didn’t suffer a permanent injury.
Without a permanent injury, the victim couldn’t be awarded money for pain and suffering. This is true for most, but not all, car accidents in Florida.
The victim didn’t have any lower back pain before this crash. This is usually a good for the victim’s case.
The verdict was in December 2014. The case no. is 16:2012-CA-11284.
Settlement Value for Pain and Suffering Component of a Bulging disc
If you have a bulging disc from as the result of an accident, you may be asking yourself, “How much is my case worth?” Although every case is different, in Florida I use $10,000 to $15,000 as the starting point for settlement purposes of the full value of the pain and suffering component only of a bulging disc.
If you have a significant resultant disability, then I increase that the full value. I am only speaking about settlements in Florida when I talk about the above mentioned settlement range.
The low-end of this settlement range is for minimal treatment and if there are limitations on your activities.
The higher end of the range is for a significant resultant disability, more treatment and/or more limitations on your activities of daily living. Individuals who receive a longer amount of treatment may get closer to the upper range or above for the pain and suffering component.
Over 87 important factors can affect the settlement value of a case where the claimed injury is a bulging disc.
That settlement range above is the full value and does not include any of the 87 factors that can result in a reduction of the full value of a Florida injury case involving a bulging disc.
On extremely rare occasions in Florida, an injured accident victims have received over $100,000 for pain and suffering for a bulging disc. Do not expect the insurance company to offer anywhere near that kind of money for the pain and suffering component of a case.
This article does not apply to a workers compensation case against your employer if you are injured while working.
If you are injured while working, but you have a case against someone other than your employer, then this article applies to the portion of your case against the third party.
3. Value of Pain and Suffering for a Bulging Disc in a Florida Car Accident Case May be Less than Other Florida Accident Cases
In certain Florida car accident cases, the injured person must prove that he or she suffered a threshold injury in order to recover money for pain and suffering. Defense doctors will often, if not always, say that a bulging disc is not a permanent injury.
In certain Florida car accident cases, if the jury believes that the injured person’s bulging disc is not a permanent injury, he or she will not get any money for pain and suffering.
Liability claims adjusters know this, and it is one of the reasons for low offers in certain Florida car accident cases where the claimed injury is a bulging disc.
Online Settlement Calculators for Florida Bulging Disc Cases
The difficulty of meeting the threshold injury requirement is one of the reasons that I strongly suggest that you do not value the pain and suffering component of your bulging disc based on an online settlement calculator.
In fact, at this time my Florida injury and car accident calculator does not work for a bulging disc injury because of the huge possibility that pain and suffering may not be awarded.
I do plan on adding the option for a user to select a bulging disc as his or her injury in my Florida injury claim calculator for non-motor vehicle accident cases.
That being said, you can still have a great case if someone’s negligence caused your bulging disc in a Florida car accident. Every case is fact specific. There are many other reasons why settlement calculators may not work for Florida injury cases.
Driver Gets $100,000 for Bulging Discs and Other Injuries
See a $100,000 settlement for a lady hit by a car in North Miami Beach. She said the crash worsened her pre-existing bulging discs and herniated discs.
Pedestrian Hit By Car Gets $70,000 for 4 Bulging Discs and Other Injuries
She Tibial Plateau Fracture, Sacrum Fracture and Herniated Discs
My Case: $57,000 Settlement on behalf of a police officer who was suffered back injury, while he was on duty, when he was rear ended in a car accident in Medley, Florida (North Miami-Dade County).
This settlement is before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
This is one of my many settlements for a bulging disc that I talk about in more detail on my car accident settlements page.
Passenger Gets $25,000 for Bulging Disc and Other Injuries
Driver Gets $25,000 for 6 Bulging Discs and Annular Tear
See why a driver got $25,000 after a pickup truck rear ended him in Miami. He claimed that the crash caused or aggravated 6 bulging discs & an annular tear.
Driver Settles Bulging Disc, Car Accident Claim for $21,000
GEICO paid $21,000 to a driver who was hit from behind. He claimed that the accident caused or aggravated his bulging disc.
The crash happened in Coconut Grove, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
5. Examples of how to calculate settlement value for bulging disc cases
Let me give you an example of a settlement involving pain and suffering for a bulging disc (disc bulge):
Example #1 – Car Accident
You are rear ended in Miami-Dade County, Florida (or any city in Florida) by a car while you are stopped in traffic. You are 18 years old and do not have prior injuries. You own the car (a 2012 Toyota Camry) that you were driving at the time of the accident.
Your personal injury protection (P.I.P) coverage on your auto insurance policy may pay for up to $10,000 in your medical bills and lost wages. (Learn more about how to get your medical bills and lost wages paid after a car accident.) The car that you were driving is totaled. You treat with an orthopedic doctor in and get therapy for about two months.
Your pain has not gone away so the orthopedic doctor sends you to get a MRI. The MRI shows that you have a bulging disc. You get therapy for one month after the MRI and you still have occasional pain. The orthopedic doctor says that you have a 6% permanent impairment.
According to this doctor, you have a permanent injury which allows you to argue to a jury in Florida (most cases don’t get to a jury) that you are entitled to pain and suffering from this car accident.
This means that the most State Farm will pay you for your personal injury is $10,000 because only one person (since you were involved in this wreck).
The driver of the at-fault vehicle does not own the car and does not have auto insurance. Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $2,000.
Let’s assume that the full value of your pain and suffering is $10,000, which is the low-end of the average settlement range for a bulging disc in Florida.
The settlement formula for this case is:
Possible Settlement = out of pocket medical bills + lost wages + pain and suffering
Possible Settlement = $2,000 + 0 + $10,000
Possible Settlement = $12,000
I say “possible settlement” above because there is no guarantee that State Farm will pay you a dime. They can take this case to a jury and you could possibly get nothing.
Since the possible settlement is $12,000 and State Farm’s BI limits are $10,000, they may pay the $10,000 so that they are not exposed to a higher judgment for acting in bad faith.
Because you have to prove that you have a permanent injury in most car accidents in Florida in order to get money for pain and suffering, auto insurers may take a tough stance when your injury is a bulging disc.
They may hire a radiologist or orthopedic doctor who says that your injury is not permanent and/or that the bulging disc should not be causing pain.
Some juries believe the doctor hired by an insurance company and this is part of the reason that these auto insurers may be difficult to deal with in regards to personal injury claims involving a bulging disc.
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