If someone’s negligence caused your herniated disc in Florida car accident, you may have a case. This article is specific to Florida auto accident herniated disc claims.
I wrote separate articles on:
- How to calculate a Florida herniated disc claim settlement amount.
- Car and truck accident claims for a herniated disc in the neck
Throughout this article, I will use the terms “car” and “truck” interchangeably. This means that when I say “car” it also means “truck”, and vice versa, unless I say otherwise.
Can I get money for pain and suffering if a driver’s carelessness caused my herniated disc in a Florida car?
Accidents Caused by a Motor vehicle to “which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730–627.7405″
If someone who is a driving a “motor vehicle to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730–627.7405” in Florida injures you, then you need to have a threshold injury in order to sue for pain, suffering, mental pain and anguish, and inconvenience from the herniated disc or other injury.
Warning! Florida’s definition of “motor vehicle” may not be what you think it is. Find out what Florida considers to be a motor vehicle to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730–627.7405.
Tip! There are also certain situations in Florida whereupon even if you are injured by a motor vehicle to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730–627.7405, you do not need a threshold injury in order to sue for pain, suffering, mental pain and anguish and inconvenience.
If you have a herniated disc in a Florida car accident case that requires that you exceed the tort threshold, then a medical provider must state that the herniated disc is a permanent injury in order for you to be able to sue for pain, suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience from the herniated disc.
If you search past jury verdicts for cases in Florida where the claimed injury is a herniated disc, you will note that many of those verdicts do not award any money for pain, suffering, emotional distress or other non-economic damages.
This is because the defense doctor has convinced the jury that the Plaintiff’s herniated disc is not a permanent injury and that it will not cause pain. The defense doctor may be a radiologist, orthopedic doctor or neurologist.
The good news is that in Florida car accidents you can choose your doctor.
Florida Court Must Explain Why $1.3 Million dollar verdict for Pain and Suffering for Herniated Disc and Future Microdiscectomy Surgery Needs Reduction
Online Settlement Calculators for Florida Herniated Disc Cases
There are many reasons why settlement calculators may not work for Florida injury cases. In certain Florida car crash cases, if the jury believes that injured person’s the herniated disc is not a permanent injury, they are unable to legally award money for pain and suffering.
This is one of the reasons that I hesitant to use a claim calculator to place a value on the pain and suffering component of a herniated disc in some Florida car accident cases.
Sometimes I use my Florida injury and car accident calculator to see how much compensation my client may get for a herniated disc from certain Florida car or truck accident cases.
The pain and suffering component may need to be significantly reduced to factor in the chance that a jury finds that the herniated disc is not a permanent injury and awards nothing for pain and suffering.
This is particularly true if there was little damage to the vehicles involved.
That being said, you can still have a great case if someone’s negligence caused your herniated disc in a Florida car accident.
I have settled several Florida car accident cases for over $100,000 each where the claimed injury was a herniated disc and other injuries. I’ll talk about them further below.
Every case is fact specific.
I am going to add, in my Florida online accident case calculator, the option for a user to select a herniated disc as his or her injury for non-motor vehicle accident cases such as slip, trip and falls, cruise ship or boat accidents, motorcycle crashes, taxi wrecks and other accidents to which the tort threshold does not apply.
You may not get one penny for your case if there is no bodily injury (BI) liability insurance or uninsured motorist (UM) insurance available. If the injured person is an insured on an auto insurance policy that provides UM coverage, then the injured person might be entitled to damages.
Calculating how much your case could be worth if you claim that a Florida car accident caused your herniated disc
The best way to explain how much your case may be worth (if you have a herniated disc caused by an accident in Florida where someone else is at-fault) is to give an example.
You are 18 years old and you are rear ended while stopped in your car on the Palmetto Expressway in Miami, Florida. The other driver admits fault. He admits that you were stopped at the time that he hit you from behind. There is a lot of damage to the back of your car.
A CT scan at the hospital shows that you have a herniated disc in your neck or back. You have no prior history of complaints of neck or back pain. As a result, you treat with an orthopedic doctor for about three months.
After treatment, the orthopedic doctor says that your herniated disc is a permanent injury and you will need treatment each year when you have pain.
The BI liability insurance company hires a radiologist who reviews the CT scan and agrees that you do have a herniated disc and that it may have been caused by this car accident.
A jury can award you money for pain and suffering from a car accident if you have a permanent injury.
You have a Florida auto insurance policy so the car that you were driving at the time of the accident automatically comes with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
You send a letter to your insurer’s address as listed with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation so that you can put them on notice of the claim. You understand who pays your medical bills in a car accident in Florida and you report the claim to your auto insurer. P.I.P. paid $10,000 to your medical providers.
All of the treating doctors charged reasonable amounts. You are left owing $2,000 in medical bills. You feel pretty good after your treatment is finished and you can do everything that you could before the accident. You did not miss any work from this accident. The settlement formula is:
Possible Settlement = Medical Bills Owed + Lost Wages + Pain and Suffering
Possible Settlement = $2,000 + 0 + $25,000
Possible Settlement = $27,000
I chose $25,000 as the amount for pain and suffering because it is on the low-end of the settlement range for the full value of pain and suffering in a personal injury case where the injury is a herniated disc. Two reasons why:
1. Your treatment was minimal (very short).
2. You can do all the activities that you could before the accident.
If the at-fault driver does not have any BI insurance and there is no UM/UIM insurance available, you may not get one penny (even if your case is worth $27,000).
If there is only $10,000 in BI insurance and no UM, you may only get $10,000. If there is $10,000 in BI and $10,000 in UIM, you may only get $20,000 even though your case may be worth $27,000. If there is a combined $30,000 between BI and UIM, you may be able get somewhere around $27,000.
The above discussion and example give the range of the full value for pain and suffering for a herniated disc caused by an accident in Florida.
The reality is that in most cases where the claimant (person making a claim for personal injury) has a herniated disc, he or she will not get the full value for his or her pain and suffering that is described above.
Settlements involving Herniated Discs for Vehicular Accidents
Claims adjusters look at past Florida injury settlements and verdicts when deciding how much to offer someone who is claiming that someone else caused his or her herniated disc in Florida.
My actual case: $150,000 Settlement (Policy limits) for a back fusion surgery, which was the result of a Florida car accident. Client had a herniated disc.
GEICO pays Motorcyclist $100,000 for Herniated Disc and other Injuries
A car hit a motorcyclist near the Wynwood and Edgewater neighborhoods in Miami, Florida. The MRI image of the herniated disc is below.
I claimed that the accident caused my client’s herniated disc, erectile dysfunction and a possible meniscus tear.
GEICO insured the at fault driver.
My actual case: 100,000 Settlement for a herniated disc that resulted in back surgery (percutaneous discectomy). She was driving her a car.
A truck hit her in the rear. Liberty Mutual insured the truck.
Liberty Mutual paid its insured’s $100,000 BI liability limits.
My actual case: $95,000 Settlement with GEICO where my male client was diagnosed with a herniated disc. A drunk driver hit him in Miami, Florida.
The drunk driver pled guilty for DUI. Surgery was recommended but my client did not want to have surgery.
He did not miss any work as a result of this accident. This is one of my many car accident settlements with GEICO.
Pedestrian Hit By Car Gets $70,000 for Herniated Discs and Other Injuries
See my case where a pedestrian who was not in a crosswalk and was hit by a car got $70,000 for herniated discs in her neck, herniated discs in her back, 4 bulging discs, a tibial plateau fracture, a shoulder injury (shoulder impingement), and a sacrum fracture.
My actual case: $52,500 Settlement for a bicyclist who sustained a herniated disc and compression fracture after being hit by a driver of a car.
The bodily injury liability insurer was United Services Automobile Association (USAA).
USAA paid $42,500 of the settlement.
Jury Awards $47,840 for Medical Expenses Only for Pre-Existing Condition of Disc Herniations
This isn’t my case. In this personal injury lawsuit, Chavez claimed that she incurred $203,723.86 in past medical expenses as a result of the automobile accident she had with Carpenter.
The jury heard evidence that Chavez had a preexisting condition of four disc herniations in her neck. A jury awarded Chavez $47,840 for her past medical expenses that were caused by the accident with Carpenter.
The jury found that Chavez had not sustained a permanent injury as a result of this accident and awarded no future damages.
Lady Gets $30,000 Settlement for Herniated Disc from Car Accident
A car occupant got a $30,000 settlement with GEICO for a herniated disc from a crash. A drunk driver hit her in Miami, Florida.
$20,000 Settlement for Herniated Disc and Other Injuries from Car Accident
See a $20,000 settlement where a lady claimed that a car accident caused or aggravated her herniated disc. A car made an improper lane change and crashed into her SUV. Her SUV rolled over.
My actual case: $14,100 Settlement (Gross) a man in his 40’s was rear-ended by a drunk driver. I claimed that the accident caused or aggravated a herniated disc in his lower back (L4-L5).
A local insurer insured the DUI driver. The local insurer paid $10,000 of the settlement.
State Farm was the uninsured motorist (UM) liability insurer.
It paid $4,100 under my client’s UM coverage in his auto insurance policy. This is one of my many settlements with State Farm for a herniated disc.
My actual case: $11,500 Settlement (Gross) a lady in her 40’s who was diagnosed with back and neck soft tissue injuries after she was rear ended by a drunk driver. A local insurer insured the drunk driver and paid $10,000 of the settlement.
State Farm was my client’s underinsured motorist (UIM) liability insurer.
State Farm paid $1,500 under its underinsured motorist coverage in her auto insurance policy. State Farm is one of the largest Florida private passenger auto liability insurers.
Per FLOIR Annual Report, the other the top 15 (by Florida market share) are:
- United States Automobile Association (USAA)
- Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company
- Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois (A Liberty Mutual Company)
- 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company (part of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies)
- Infinity Insurance Company
- Nationwide Insurance Company
If you are claiming a herniated disc in a Florida car crash, you are most likely to be dealing with one of the above insurers.
Appellate court says $10,000 for Pain and Suffering only is Too Low – (Not my case)
An appellate court reviewed the jury’s verdict and found that awards of $5,000.00 for past and $5,000.00 for future noneconomic damages were shockingly inadequate in the face of uncontradicted evidence that the plaintiff had sustained two herniated discs, with accompanying undisputed past and future pain and suffering as the result of an accident. Figueredo v. Keller Indus., Inc., 583 So.2d 432 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991).
The court did say, “on the other hand, the supreme court has noted that not every verdict which raises a judicial eyebrow would shock the judicial conscience.” Laskey v. Smith, supra.
The appellate court in the above case said that $10,000 was too little to give someone who sustained two herniated discs. In that case, there was no doubt that the Plaintiff has sustained two herniated discs.
In most cases, the defense will argue that the Plaintiff’s (injured person’s) herniated disc(s) was not caused by the accident or incident in question.
The court also said that both sides agreed that the Plaintiff had pain and suffering before and after the trial. In many herniated disc cases, the doctor hired by the defense may say that the herniated disc that the Plaintiff had should not have caused any pain.
This “defense doctor” may also say that the Plaintiff will not have any pain in the future. The facts of the above case are unusual. The moral of that case is that the full value of pain and suffering was left out of the formula.
There is no disagreement that the Plaintiff has two herniated discs, and that he or she has experienced pain and suffering and will continue to experience pain and suffering. The award of pain and suffering should be worth significantly more than $10,000.
Other Actual Verdicts or Settlements (Not my cases)
Now, I want to share some actual jury verdicts and settlements where the Plaintiff had a herniated disc as a result of an accident in Florida. The cases below are not cases that I handled unless I specifically say that it was my case.
Actual Case (not mine): $1,000,000 Settlement for a person injured in a car crash who claimed a herniated disc was caused by the crash and this led to a having a disc fused. The driver who received the ticket had an non-Florida out of state auto insurance policy. Pre-suit settlement.
August 2014 – Actual Case (not mine): $1,000,000 Settlement before a lawsuit for a 42-year-old man who claimed a neck fusion (c4-c5) and back fusion (L5-S1) were the result of a Florida car crash.
The plaintiff was entering I-95 and was side swiped toward the end of the entrance “runway.”
Nationwide Insurance Company allegedly said that the Plaintiff entered I-95 and caused the accident.
However, Plaintiff’s counsel took the position that Nationwide did not have any evidence that the Plaintiff entered I-95.
Nationwide allegedly claimed that the injured person was 75% responsible for causing the accident. The injured man’s attorney argued that the only person who will testify was the injured man because the driver who caused the crash left the scene.
A CRN was allegedly filed against Nationwide and it expired. The injured man was an insured under a big umbrella uninsured motorist insurance policy with Chubb Insurance.
The injured man did not have any prior neck injuries. He was never given a recommendation to get a lumbar (lower back) fusion before this crash. After this crash, there was a slight change in lumbar MRI.
He also now had neurological problems going down the leg. With the subjective complaints he was recommended for the lumbar fusion. He went back to work doing AC sales within 10 days.
After the injured man’s attorney had a long conversation with the adjuster, Nationwide paid its limits.
Then an additional uninsured motorist liability claim was made against Chubb Insurance.
The injured person’s attorney allegedly gave Chubb 30 days to accept the $1,000,000 demand.
They allegedly did an examination under oath (EUO) of the man and he came across fairly well. Chubb asked for pre-suit mediation.
Chubb asked that the victim reduce his demand of $1,000,000. The injured man’s attorney told Chubb that he would not accept less than $1,000,000.
The Chubb adjuster allegedly called 1 week later to pay the $1,000,000. This was a pre-suit settlement.
The total medical billed charges were about $300,000 before some of them were reduced according to the PIP fee schedule.
The injured man had medpay coverage and health insurance, both of which paid some of the bills. The injured man lost his health insurance before the lumbar fusion so he signed an LOP.
The injured man’s attorney argued that the ACDF needed to be redone.
He argued that it was highly likely that any adjacent segment syndrome that the injured person had would require additional surgeries in the future. However, the medical records didn’t mention adjacent level syndrome.
At the time of the settlement, the injured man was still receiving back treatment and doing very well.
Actual case (not mine): $300,000 verdict for pain and suffering alone for a 46-year-old woman who had surgery in her lower back after a Walgreen’s tractor trailer truck hit her in Palm Beach County, Florida.
She claimed a herniated disc and an annular tear. It was a t-boned crash.
The verdict was in 2004. The case is Anderson v. Walgreens. Learn about Walgreens slip and fall injury claims. Check out some of my truck accident settlements in Florida and car accident settlements in Florida.
Can a Car Accident Cause a Herniated Disc?
How long do I have to sue if I am claiming that a Florida car accident caused my herniated disc?
Find out the deadline to sue if someone’s negligence in a Florida car accident caused your herniated disc.
In addition to the Florida insurance companies that I mentioned above, I have settled herniated disc cases in Florida against the following insurance companies:
- Progressive Insurance
- Hartford Insurance
- Main Street America Group (Old Dominion Insurance Company)
- Nationwide Insurance
- Kingsway Amigo Insurance (formerly known as US Security)
- Lincoln General Insurance Company
- Star Casualty Insurance
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the insurance companies that I have had herniated disc cases against.
All of the above insurance companies that I mentioned “in state” insurance companies. I invite you to learn more about the insurance company’s – with whom you are dealing – reputation for paying bodily injury claims.
Therefore, if you have a herniated disc and you are dealing with one of these insurance companies, then the full value of your herniated disc case is generally worth less than if you are dealing with an out of state insurance company.
“Out of state insurance companies” do not issue insurance policies in Florida. I know an attorney who settled a herniated disc case which ultimately resulted in the discs being fused for $1,000,000 with an out of state insurance company.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your injury in a Florida car crash or other type of accident?
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