Bulging Disc Settlement Value in Florida Accidents

Bulging Disc Settlement Value Florida Car AccidentsIf 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.

1. 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 caused by a car accident, slip and fall 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.

2. 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.

That settlement range is for the full value of the pain and suffering component only. The range does not include other damages to which you may be entitled, such as lost wages and medical bills.  That settlement range is the full value and does not include other factors that can result in a reduction of the full value and lead to you recovering nothing, a lower amount or a larger amount.

Occasionally I hear about a verdict where the Plaintiff (person who was injured) gets over $100,000 for pain and suffering for a bulging disc. This is extremely rare. Do not expect the insurance company to offer you that kind of money for pain and suffering.

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. Actual Bulging Disc Settlements and Verdicts in Florida Accidents

My case: $75,000 Settlement (Gross) for a young woman who had arthroscopic knee surgery and epidural injections to a bulging disc in her lower back (L5-S1). Progressive paid $50,000 under the bodily injury coverage, and $25,000 was paid under the underinsured motorist coverage on the car owner’s auto insurance policy (Allstate).

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.

$47,500 Settlement (not my case) for a 53-year-old woman who slipped and fell at a Publix in Broward County, Florida. She had multiple bulging discs in the neck and lower back as well as a knee contusion (bruise). She slipped and fell on water in the frozen food section. Her husband, filed a loss of consortium claim against Publix. Publix admitted liability (fault).

My thoughts:  I am not sure how many disc bulges the shopper had. Unfortunately, I do not know the amount of medical bills that she had to pay from this accident. I have said before that as a starting point the settlement value in Florida for pain and suffering from a bulging disc is between $10,000 and $15,000.

This case is one of the first reported cases against Publix since the new slip and fall law went into effect on July 1, 2010. Surprisingly, Publix admitted liability. I could not find any information as to how the shopper was able to show that Publix knew or should have known that the water was on the floor. The case is Jeanne Michel and Jacques Jules vs. Publix Supermarkets, Inc.

4. 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.

The owner of the car that hit you has a $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury (BI) liability insurance policy with State Farm. 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 such as State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Progressive and others 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.

Example #2 – Slip and Fall Accident

You are shopping at Publix Supermarkets in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – or any city in Florida – and you slip and fall on liquid in the aisle. The liability claims adjuster for SRS on behalf of Publix tells you that they have accepted liability because an employee knew that the liquid was there for one hour before your slip and fall.

You are 18 years old and have not had any prior injuries. You treat with an orthopedic doctor and get therapy for two months for your lower back (lumbar) pain. Your pain has not gone away so the orthopedic doctor sends you to get an MRI of your lower back.

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.

Unlike most car accidents in Florida, in a slip and fall accident you do not have to prove that you have a permanent injury to be entitled to damages for pain and suffering. In this respect, it is easier to get money for pain and suffering for a bulging disc in a slip and fall incident than in most car accidents. You have 4-years to file your personal injury lawsuit against Publix.

Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $10,000. Let’s assume that the full value of your pain and suffering is $10,000 which is the low-end of the range for a bulging disc mentioned above. The settlement formula for this case is:

Possible Settlement = Out of pocket medical bills + lost wages + pain and suffering

Possible Settlement = $10,000 + 0 + $10,000

Possible Settlement = $20,000

I say “possible settlement” above because there is no guarantee that Publix Supermarkets will pay you a dime. They can take this case to a jury and you could possibly get nothing. For purposes of this example, Publix may pay you $20,000 to settle this case before a lawsuit is filed. If you file a lawsuit, you may still get a $20,000 settlement.

I have settled many cases totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars where my client’s injury was a bulging disc.

Were you injured in an accident? 

Check out our many personal injury settlements in Florida.  We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise ship or boat. We also may be able to represent you if you live in Florida and were injured in another state. Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to Get a Free Consultation.

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I will not become your attorney by you leaving a comment. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit. All comments are posted anonymously but will be public.   I only can represent you if your injury happened in Florida or on a cruise ship; or if the injured person lives in Florida or a family member (in the case of a death) lives in Florida. This is because I am only licensed in Florida.

Comments

  1. Person Injured At Hotel says:

    I was staying at a hotel when rain water came pouring in from the ceiling and wall of my room. I was 5 months pregnant ay the time. I now have 2 bulging discs in my back and have been going through treatment for 6 months with no improvement I have also lost 2 full months of work and had to take a major pay drop since I am unable to perform my normal job because it requires lifting. I suffer from numbness in my legs and pain in my back and hips. My total income loss has been close to 26000 already. What can I expect as a settlement based on this

    • Justin Ziegler, Florida Injury Lawyer, Site Owner says:

      Dear Person Injured At Hotel,

      Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear that you were injured. I will assume that you were injured in Florida, which is where I am licensed to practice. Thus, my response only applies to an incident in Florida.

      1. How did the water cause your injury? Did you slip and fall on it? If you slipped and fell, these are 27 questions to answer?

      2. Did you report the accident when it happened or shortly thereafter?

      3. Do you have any pre-existing back injuries or have you had a prior MRI of your lower back?

      4. How old are you?

      5. Does your doctor say that the bulging discs were caused by the incident?

      6. How long were you doing lifting at this job or any other job before this incident?

      These are just a few of the many questions that I need answered to better understand your case. I look forward to your answers or any other questions that you may have. I wrote an article about condominium accident settlements that talks about cases involving slip and falls on water that was leaking from the ceiling.

      Please remember that there is a time limit to file a lawsuit in Florida.

      I am not your attorney. This is not legal advice.

  2. Person with Hip Pain says:

    I was in a motor car accident in 26th December, 2013 which caused me right hip pain. Also I was passed out during the accident and taken to emergency. But there were no fractures so I though everything was okay. After 10 days as the pain was not going away, I visited an orthopedics and he found out some problem also in my neck. Addition diagnostic tests revealed that there were disc bulging in my neck. I don’t have a car and don’t have a driver’s license. So I don’t have any car injury insurance. I was on the passenger seat of the car. Our driver was on fault party. So in this case what is my chance of getting treatment coverage? Does the drivers PIP or BI cover my treatment cost? Also if I employ an attorney, would it cause any trouble for him? I live in Florida and the accident was in Miami.

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer, Site Owner says:

      Dear Person with right hip pain,

      Thanks for your comment! I am sorry to hear that you were in a car accident and now you are injured. You may be able to get Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP) (and medical payments coverage if it exists) from a relative who you lived with at the time of the accident if he or she owned a car. If you didn’t live with a resident relative, then you should make a claim under the PIP coverage of the vehicle that you were in at the time of the crash. If PIP exists, it should pay for a good portion of your hospital bill.

      I suggest that you immediately send the proper insurer who is providing PIP benefits a completed PIP application as well as an signed affidavit of non-ownership of vehicle.

      PIP may also pay for your current treatment. BI may also cover treatment, but from my past experience BI generally won’t pay you until you are ready to make a settlement demand to the BI insurer. BI likes to generally issue one settlement check in return for a release of a bodily injury claim against their insured.

      If you have health insurance, it should pay a large portion of your medical treatment.

      I wrote a detailed article that explains how to get your medical bills paid if you are in a car accident in Florida. That articles gives examples of who pays which medical bills in different situations.

      If you hire an attorney, he or she may make a claim against your friend’s bodily injury coverage and this may cause his insurance premium to increase.

      How old are you?
      How much property damage was there to the vehicles involved in this accident?

      You are free to call me at 305-661-9977 if you want to hire a lawyer.

      I am not your lawyer. This is not legal advice. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit.

      • Person with right hip pain says:

        Thank you for your answer. I’m 25. Our car hit another car and both of the car is unrecoverable. Does the premium increases for each BI claim made or is increased by a constant amount regardless of the number of claim?

        • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says:

          Dear Person with right hip pain,

          I would tend to think that the premium would increase in proportion to the total amount of the settlement. So if an insurance company paid $100,000 to one person, than this would result in a larger premium increase than if the BI liability insurer paid out $5,000 to two individuals. Please let me know if you find or hear of a different answer.

          • Persona with question about time to file suit says:

            What is the time limit to file a lawsuit? Also do you have idea of how much the premium can increase. Lets assume for a payment of $30000 from the insurance company, what approximate amount might be the increase in premium?

          • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says:

            Hi Person with question about time to file suit,

            Thanks for your comment. I wrote this an article about the time limit to file a lawsuit for a claim arising from negligence in Florida. That article only applies to negligence and not other causes of action, such lawsuit against an insurer providing uninsured motorist coverage, medical malpractice claims and other many other types of claims. Be sure to look at the exceptions to the rule in that article. There may be more exceptions than those listed in that article. The article also doesn’t apply to claims against governmental entities.

            I don’t know how much the premium might increase. You should ask an insurance agent that question.

            I am not your lawyer. This is not legal advice. If you were injured in an accident and want to pursue a claim than you should speak with an attorney immediately.

  3. I was in an accident in Florida, I was stopped at a red light and was rear ended by a drunk. The drunk hit a truck which hit me so hard I was injured too. Lawenforcement where on location and said I am the victim, the did a DUI trst on the drunk driver and the drunk was arrested immiediatly. The drunk had many prior DUIs too. I did not feel pain for a few days but then did and went to the ER for follow up. An MRI and Xrays were done and my nerve in my neck is now bulging and touching the bone. I have numbnes in my right hand fingers and went for a nerve study at the hospital. I also am still treating with a chiropractor. In addition I have numbess in my legs that get numb from sitting. I recently also had an MRI for the lower back. I was not out of work due to the accident as I live pay check to pay check. I experiance burning in my neck numb right fingertips. (now medicaly confirmd by neurosurgion), lower back stiffness headaches in temple area. I have alstate insurance as did the drunk. How much is my case worth??

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