How to Calculate a Florida Herniated Disc Settlement Amount

Herniated Disc
Herniated Disc

If someone’s negligence in Florida caused your herniated disc, the goal is to get compensated fairly for your injury.

Before I show you how to calculate the settlement value of a herniated disc case if your injured in Florida or on a cruise ship, I will explain what a herniated disc is and its relationship to an accident.

1.  What is a herniated disc?  Is it related to an accident?

A herniated disc is a spinal injury. It is a disc in your spine that ruptures. When it ruptures, the jelly like center of the disc leaks and irritates the surrounding nerves.

You can get a herniated disc in your low back (lumbar), mid back (thoracic) and/or neck (cervical).  You may see the term “axial” pain in your medical records or on a diagnostic report (MRI or CT scan report, etc.).

Axial pain is limited to the neck and back.  Most injured accident victims, who ultimately diagnosed with a herniated discs, are not given the diagnosis at the emergency room.

This is because emergency rooms generally use a CT scan and not an MRI when taking images of your spine.  A herniated disc is found on an MRI much more than on a CT scan in most cases that I have handled.

Injured person MRI and CT scan to detect herniated disc
MRIs and CT scans may be used to detect a herniated disc.  ACTOR.

Below is an actual MRI of a herniated disc in the lower back.

Herniated disc on MRI of lower back
Herniated disc on MRI of lower back

Most neck or back pain resolves in about 6 weeks or so.  If you have radicular symptoms, it means that you have pain that is radiating into your arm or leg.

Radicular symptoms can include pain, numbness and tingling, and usually occur when you have a compressed (pinched) nerve. An image of a pinched nerve is below.

 Vertebra Herniated Disc Pinched Nerve Lower Back Spine
Herniated disc Pinched Nerve
Herniated disc impinging on spinal nerve may be a precondition for an Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).
Herniated disc impinging on spinal nerve Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
Herniated disc impinging on spinal nerve is a precondition for an Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

If you someone’s carelessness caused your herniated disc and it is impinging on the spinal nerve, this may increase the full value of the personal injury case.

A herniated disc impinging on the spinal nerve may be a precondition for an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).  An ACDF surgery generally increases the full value of the personal injury case.

A herniated disc can lead to sciatica or back pain.  The image below shows the sciatic nerve.

Sciatic Nerve

People that are injured sometimes call a herniated disc a “slipped disc”, though doctors do not use this term.

You can herniate a disc from an accident. I recently heard an orthopedic doctor say that you cannot herniate more than 1 to 2 discs from an accident.

Can a Protrusion be Painful?


Send Claims Adjuster CT scan and/or MRI films

If you are diagnosed with a herniated disc, you should immediately request the MRI or CT scan of your neck or back. You should then mail or send this disc to the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster may hire a radiologist to read the films and determine whether he feels that you have a herniated disc.

Settlement value of pain and suffering for a herniated disc caused by an accident in Florida, or on a cruise ship or boat.

This article applies to Florida herniated disc claims for many types of accidents.  I wrote separate articles on:

This article also applies to the personal injury portion of your claim if you are hurt while working and you also have a personal injury claim.

This article applies to seamen or crew who suffer an injury while on a boat or ship.  Some of this article does not apply if you only have a Florida workers compensation claim.

Radiating symptoms are known as radiculopathy, which means that pain is extending to the arms and/or legs.  I do not accept this argument.  Claims adjusters often tell me that my client’s case is not serious because he or she does not have radicular symptoms.

But adjusters generally offer more money if you have radicular symptoms.  You can learn more about settlements for neck injuries or back injuries in Florida regardless of the specific type of injury (herniated disc, bulging disc, compression fracture, and soft tissue injury).

It is important to itemize damages from past cases so that you can know the going settlement rate for a typical herniated disc.

If you hear that someone injured in an accident settled a herniated disc case for $25,000, do not assume that every case involving a herniated disc is worth $25,000.  For all you know the medical bills alone in the that case totaled $25,000.

Hearing about a settlement – without a breakdown of damages – does not help you when you are trying to determine how much your case is worth.

But if the damages are itemized, then you can learn more about recent trends in Florida for the amounts being offered or jury verdicts for a herniated disc.  If you know how much your case is worth, then you can know whether to accept an offer by the liability insurer.

One of 11 reasons to hire a lawyer is that an attorney should know the fair settlement value of case when the case is ready to settle.

Find out how a Florida liability insurer may deny or minimize the existence, cause or severity of a herniated disc.

“Full Settlement Value” of a Pain and Suffering in a Herniated Disc Case

In Florida, for settlement purposes and as a starting point, I value the full value of the pain and suffering component of a typical non-surgical herniated disc between $25,000 and $50,000.  The full value of the personal injury component is then added to the full value of the other components in the case.

The lower end of the above settlement range is when there is little medical treatment and little disability.

High end of the settlement value for the pain and suffering component of a typical herniated disc in Florida $50,000

The higher end of the range is when the treatment is longer and you are left with more of a disability.

On the other hand, if another person or company did something severe (such as drunk driving) and caused your accident, the value of a case involving a herniated disc can significantly increase. If you are left with a serious disability due to your herniated disc, the full value of pain and suffering can increase above the $50,000 mentioned above.

Actual Case (not mine)$370,000 Verdict for Pain and suffering alone for a 57-year-old woman who had a 3 level cervical (neck) fusion, as well as surgery on her shoulder.

She had a herniated disc in her neck. She was injured at Home Depot in Vero Beach, Florida when a metal rack fell on her neck and shoulder.

She was awarded $150,000 in past pain and suffering, and $220,000 in future pain and suffering. Read more about this injury verdict against Home Depot. The case is Simone v. Home Depot. The verdict was in 2008.

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. If you want to see some herniated disc cases that I have handled, you can check out my Florida injury settlements.

Actual Case: $550,000 Verdict (Not my case) for Pain and Suffering alone for an adult woman who suffered a herniated discs and osteophyte complex at C4-5, C5-C6, C6-C7, as well as pain in her tailbone.

She slipped and fell on a clear substance on a stairway at a condominium building in Orange County, Florida owned by the defendant.

She said that the condominium association failed to inspect the stairway and fix the dangerous condition (the substance on the floor). The condo association said that they did not know and that it was unreasonable for them to know of the alleged dangerous condition.

Defendants also said that the woman did not provide notice to them of the condition of the stairway as required by Florida Statute Section 83.201.

The jury found the condo association 60% at fault and the woman 40% at fault. The case is Manzo v. The Sanctuary at Bay Hill Condominium Association, Inc.; Apogee Association.

My thoughts:  The jury awarded a huge amount, $375,617, for past medical bills. That leads me to believe that there were surgeries. The jury awarded the woman almost $120,000 in pain and suffering for each herniated disc.

This is above the starting point that I believe fair for purposes settlement value for pain and suffering from a herniated disc in a Florida accident.

I have said before that the starting point that I use in an operated disc case for the full value of pain and suffering is between $25,000 and $50,000 for pain and suffering only.  But it may need to get significantly adjusted up or down.

Actual Case (not mine): $55,000 Verdict for Pain and Suffering alone for a man who suffered a herniated disc and rotator cuff tear when he slipped and fell on a Royal Caribbean gangway (walkway) when it was raining.

Florida Injury Settlements for Herniated Discs in Lower Back

Lady holding her lower back.

Most herniated discs occur in the lower back. Therefore, the person who is hurt needs to be familiar with past Florida back injury claims and settlements that involve a herniated disc.

Herniated Disc Cases Often Come with Other Injuries

In many cases where someone injures a herniated disc, he or she also has other injuries as well. The value of those other injuries should be added to the full value of your case when trying to settle it.

Some factors that can affect a Florida herniated disc case value are:

A. Gaps in your medical treatment.


Gaps in your medical treatment include waiting a long time before your first medical appointment or waiting long periods of time between medical visits.

B. Prior neck or back pain in the same location as your current herniated disc.

Pre-existing Injury in herniated disc.

If you had pre-existing injury, it can decrease the value of your case.  However, you still may be entitled to damages that stem from an aggravation of a pre-existing injury.

C. Your ageAge

Your age may impact the amount of your Florida injury settlement.  This is, in part, because there was a study where an MRI was given sixty-seven individuals who had never had low-back pain, sciatica, or neurogenic claudication.

  • About 30% of the subjects were found to have a substantial abnormality.
  • Less than sixty years old, 20 per cent had a herniated nucleus pulposus and one had spinal stenosis.  Below is an image of spinal stenosis.
  • Spinal Stenosis
    Spinal Stenosis
  • Sixty years old or older, the findings were abnormal on about 57 per cent of the scans.
  • degeneration or bulging of a disc at least one lumbar level in 35% of between 20-39 years old and in all but one of the 60-80 yr. olds

So as you can see, even though those individuals never had low-back pain, sciatica, or neurogenic claudication, many of them still had issues.

D. Treatment with a chiropractor instead of an orthopedic doctor.
E. Little damage to the vehicles involved.
F. History of working in manual labor jobs (construction worker, etc.).

The insurance company may say that your herniated disc is the result of your hard labor, including but not limited to heavy lifting. They may deny that the accident caused your herniated disc. .

G. Defense Radiologist Says No Herniated Disc

Often times, the radiologist hired by the insurance company for the at-fault person or company will say that you have a disc bulge and not a herniated disc. Bulging disc settlement values are generally less than the settlement value of a herniated disc.

H. You have had prior treatment at the same vertebrae level as the herniated disc.
I. Not wearing a seat belt.



Other factors may affect the value of a Florida injury case if someone’s carelessness caused a herniated disc.

High Limits of Liability Insurance

High limits of liability may increase the time in which it takes to settle the personal injury claim.

Failure to report the accident.Starting to fill out an accident report

Failure to report an accident can crush a herniated disc case.

Be sure to report your accident as soon as possible.  Failure to report an accident can decrease the case value.

Example: Let’s assume that you were exiting the booth of a restaurant (e.g. McDonald’s, Subway, Denny’s, etc.) in Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale or any other city in Florida and the booth tipped up in the air and sent you flying to the floor.

Maybe you slipped and fell on water or a grape on the floor of Publix or Walmart in Homestead or Coral Gables. You have some neck or back pain, but it is not horrible.

You didn’t report the incident to any restaurant employees or the manager. You left the restaurant or store and went to the urgent care or emergency room a few hours later or the next day.

The hospital tells you to follow-up with an orthopedic doctor for your neck or back pain. You go to the doctor and he refers you to get an MRI on your neck or back. Let’s assume that it shows that you have a herniated disc in your neck or back.

After you report this incident to the restaurant, supermarket or Walmart, they will most likely report this to their insurance company. The claims adjuster will probably discount (reduce) the value of your case 25-50% because you did not report the incident/accident to the restaurant when it happened.

So let’s say that the full value of a herniated disc is $25,000 to $50,000. You should expect the claims adjuster to reduce this value by 25-50%.

If you make a good witness (you are very honest, calm and friendly) we can reduce the value by 25%. If you are less trustworthy, perhaps the claims adjuster will reduce how much your case is worth by 50%.

The formula below will show you how this works. The formula below also assumes that there are no other things that make the settlement value of your case worth less.

This formula also assumes that there were no independent witnesses or surveillance/video cameras that captured the incident/accident.

As a starting point, I use a settlement range of $25,000 to $50,000 for the full value of the pain and suffering component a disc herniation from an accident in Florida, or on a cruise ship or boat. Let’s use a figure that is in the higher end of the range, $40,000, for this example:

Case may be worth = Full value x (100% – X% reduction because you didn’t report incident)

Case may be worth = $40,000 x (100 – 25%)

Case may be worth = $40,000 x (75%)

Case may be worth = $30,000

You are a convicted felon.Arrested or Convicted.

Even though you are a convicted felon, you may have a great case. Years ago, I was co-counsel (worked on the case with another attorney) for a convicted felon who was injured from a trip and fall. We settled the case for over $190,000.

There were no witnesses to the incident. However, his friend drove him to the hospital. This settlement shows that you still have rights even if you are a convicted felon. That is just one of the many factors that are used to calculate how much your case may be worth.

I have represented hundreds of people in my career.  During presuit (before lawsuit is filed), I have never once had an insurance company use a client’s felony as a defense or argument as to why they should pay less.

When you file a lawsuit, any past felonies are discoverable by the defense.  You should be prepared for the defense attorney to use this at mediation (an informal meeting where you try to settle your case) as one of the reasons why a jury may or will award you less money.

Herniated Disc Cases Against Florida Walmart (or other stores)
Shopping cart.
A Florida Walmart’s carelessness may cause a herniated disc.

Walmart has 343 stores in Florida.  Find out if you have a case if a Florida Walmart or other store’s negligence caused your herniated disc in a slip, trip and fall or other type of accident.

Do I Have a Case if Disney’s Carelessness Caused My Herniated Disc?

Child on the floor.

In 2013, over fifty (50) million people visited Disney’s theme/amusement parks in Florida.  These parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Disney’s negligence could cause a herniated disc or an aggravation of a pre-existing herniation.

You may slip or trip and fall.  A Disney car, truck or bus driver’s carelessness could cause your herniated disc.  Find out if you have a case against Disney in Florida if you have a herniated disc.

Again this is just an example and there are so many factors that can affect how much your case is worth, that I suggest hiring an injury attorney to help you.

Over 86 Factors that may affect how much your Florida herniated disc case may be worth.

Factors you know. Ones you don't.
You probably don’t know most of these factors.

The injured person should adjust the full value of the case by any of the 86 factors that warrant a reduction or an increase.

Did you suffer a herniated disc in an accident in Florida, or a cruise or boat? Do you have another type of injury?

See Our Settlements

Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidentsslip or trip and falls, motorcycle accidentsdrunk driving (DUI) accidentspedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidentstaxi accidentsbicycle accidentsstore or supermarket accidentscruise ship accidents and much more.

We want to represent you!

Our Miami law firm represents people who were injured by someone else’s carelessness anywhere in Florida in car accidents, truck accidentsslip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian   accidents, accidents at someone else’s home, condo or apartmentaccidents involving a Uber or Lyft Drivercruise ship or boat accidents and many other types of accidents.

We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.

Call Us Now!

Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to find out for FREE if we can represent you

No Fees or Costs if We Do Not Get You Money

Zero Fee or Costs if No Recovery

Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We speak Spanish. We invite you to learn more about us.

Over the past 11 years, I have settled cases for people who were injured in accidents in the following counties and cities: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach County, Miami, Kendall, Hialeah, Homestead, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie, Deerfield Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Fort Pierce, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Jacksonville, Sarasota-Bradenton, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Palm Bay, Melbourne, Pensacola, Kissimmee, Bonita Springs, Lakeland, Tallahassee, Winter Haven, Gainesville, Ocala and more.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.

I will not become your attorney by you leaving a comment. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit. All comments will be public. This includes the name that you enter. I only represent people who were hurt 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.


  1. Person with C5-C6 Herniated Disc insured with GEICO says

    I have a c5 c6 herniated disc in my cervical spine. I have a lawyer. 15000 in medical bills. Loss of wages. At a stop light when a suburban hit a cavalier that was on my a** doing 50 mph and said his breaks went out. I am having trouble with geiko(car i was driving) and why they are taking a year to tell allstate(at fault drivers insurance that they will not cover me. Allstate offered 4000.

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer, Site Owner says

      Dear Person with C5-C6 Herniated Disc insured with GEICO,

      Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear that you were injured. When you ask “why are they are taking a year to tell Allstate (the at fault driver’s insurance) that they will not cover me”, are you saying that GEICO has told Allstate that GEICO will not cover you? If so, what types of coverage is GEICO saying that they will not cover you for? PIP? Bodily Injury? What is GEICO’s basis for denying coverage?

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

  2. Person with C4-C5 herniated disc says

    Hi have a herniated disc c4-c5. My attorney says i can only get no more than 10,000. back I had to get a new car, my car was totaled and I’m having severe pain and I feel like i person at fault whom got a ticket is winning.

    • Justin Ziegler, Florida Injury Lawyer, Site Owner says

      Hi Person with C4-C5 herniated disc,

      Thank you for your comment! I am sorry to hear that you were injured. My response only applies to an accident in Florida. I am not your attorney unless you hire me.

      I am unsure whether you are saying that your attorney says that you can get no more than $10,000 (before subtracting attorneys fees, costs, medical bills, etc.) or whether you are saying that after attorney’s fees costs, medical bills you can get no more than $10,000 as a net settlement. Also is he saying that you can get no more than $10,000 for your injury, and a separate $10,000 for the property damage to your car?

      I really need to have answers to the above question to intelligibly give you a better response, but it sounds to me like your attorney has told you that the driver who is “at fault” has limited bodily injury coverage under his or her auto insurance policy. Unfortunately for people who are injured, this is way to common in Florida because bodily injury coverage in not required for private passenger automobiles in Florida in most situations.

      Your attorney should get an financial affidavit from the driver which among other things, asks whether the driver was working (in the course and scope of his employment) or volunteering at the time of the crash. Does the owner have a separate auto insurance policy that has bodily injury coverage?

      Perhaps you have underinsured motorist coverage in your auto insurance policy.

      I can sympathize with your feeling of helplessness. I hope that your pain goes away quickly. Please let me know if I answered your question/comment to your satsifaction.

  3. Person with disc herniation on C3-C4 and C4-C5 says

    hi, I have disc herniation on c3-4 and c4-5, I’m in therapy with hot towels, electricity and massages, but is not working It has been almost 4 months with the same pain in my neck and all over my body, I talked to the doctor wants me to try homeopathy medicine and acupuncture to alleviate my pain. My attorney told me that a 99% of the supermarkets does not have insurance, I don’t know how much the settlement can be. How long does this case takes? and I don’t know if trying homeopathy medicine and acupuncture will work?

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says

      Hi Person with disc herniation on C3-C4 and C4-C5,

      Thank you for your questions. I am sorry to hear that you were injured. What type of a doctor are you treating with? (E.g. orthopedic doctor, chiropractor, etc.). I am not your attorney. There is a time limit to file a lawsuit.

      I am only licensed in Florida so my response assumes you were injured in Florida. I gather that you were injured in a supermarket. Did you slip and fall?

      Although there is no bright and fast rule, sometimes there are things that you can look at that may help you figure out how long a Florida injury case could take to settle.

      This past Tuesday, I settled a case – during litigation – against a Supermarket in Miami for $300,000. My client was injured about 2 1/2 years ago. But the case settled a few months after he was finished getting medical treatment.

      Perhaps homeopathy medicine and acupuncture may reduce your pain. I recommend that at a minimum, my clients treat with an orthopedic doctor in Florida who has a good reputation for being a patient advocate for people injured in accidents.

      You can read this article that I wrote about supermarket accident claims and settlements.

      Please feel free to ask me any more questions. I hope that you feel better.

    • says

      Hey there I recently have had a horrible throbbing pain in the back of my neck after doing some of my excercises. When I do 1 or 2 pullups I am fine but if I increase it to say 20 continuous reps i let go and have a horrible throbbing pain in the top of my neck. My mom thinks i might have a bulging disc. Since it is a temporary throbbing pain followed by a very minor soreness/stiffness is that the beginnings of it? Howlong shouldIrest thanks

      • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says


        I am sorry to hear that you are having pain. I suggest that you speak with a doctor immediately. I am not a doctor so I cannot give medical advice. I wish you good luck.

  4. Betta says

    My incident occurred at work, 7 months ago…the employer neglected to send me out for treatment, or filed an incident report. I filed a worker’s comp claim 2 weeks after the incident, and hired an attorney. Recent finding by MRI imagery shows a mild disc bulge at C3-C4 level, C5-C6 extruded disc herniation, through the annular fibers eccentric to the right side. It is central and right paracentral in position, C6-C7 demonstrates a small disc protrusion centrally.

    Incident was not an actual slip and fall, but the circumstances surrounding incident, were a cause of the injury. I was placing a large salad container weighing approximately 40-50 lbs, on a top shelf in a walk in cooler (top shelf already had 2 stacked containers), the step stool used was an upside down plastic milk crate, and the flooring in the cooler is metal and grooved.

    When the crate shifted underneath me, while I was holding said container way above shoulder length, I felt a pop/tear in my upper back. Now treatment has been moving along at a very slow pace, it took the insurance 2 months to approve for MRI and xray, now awaiting approval for first suggested treatment of 3-6 months of physical therapy and epidural injections, leaving surgery as last resort for treatment.

    I have not yet received a maximum recovery rating. Workers comp paid from Jun 2014 until first week of Oct 2014, claiming they no longer owe me any loss wage compensation.

    • Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says

      Dear Betta:

      Thank you so much for posting this comment!

      I am sorry to hear that you have these serious injuries. I am happy to hear that you hired a lawyer. I hope that you get fair compensation for your injuries and that you have a speedy recovery.

      This is not legal advice. I am not your attorney. There is a time limit to sue. If you do not sue within this time period, your claim will forever be barred. You should speak with an attorney immediately.

      Good luck.

  5. Carol says

    Hi Mr. Ziegler,

    I recently got into a car accident where the other person was at fault and was cited on the spot. I hired a lawyer to take care of my best interests. 6mths pregnant, with another toddler in the back at the time of the accident I suffered multiple disc injuries…cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. I was sent to a chiropractic doc for treatment and once I had the baby went to get MRI scans done.
    Based on the findings I was referred to a surgeon where I was told I was a candidate for surgery. I refuse to undergo the knife at this time….because I had no invasive treatments done I was told that the defendant (insurance company) is only viewing it as a soft tissue injury and has since offered only $10,000. I was told I won’t get anything more…I am a mess and in alot of pain, surely this can’t be legal? I would greatly appreciate your advice… Pinellas County FL

    • Justin Ziegler says

      Hi Carol,

      Thank you for your comment. Your told me that you have multiple disc “injuries”, but you do not say what type of injuries. This is very limited information.

      I need more facts, including but not limited to:

      When was your first medical visit?
      How much property damage was there to your vehicle, and the other driver’s vehicle?
      How old are you?
      Have you ever had pain in the affected areas before this incident? If so, when were your last complaints prior to this incident?
      Have you ever had an positive finding on your spine before this accident? If so, what was it?
      How much are your out of pocket medical bills and lost wages?
      Did your attorney send the MRI CD to the insurance company?
      What are the bodily injury (BI) coverage limits of any responsible parties.

      Unfortunately, insurance companies make low offers all the time. However, they have a duty to their insured to act in good faith.

      If warranted, I file a consumer complaint and/or sue them in attempt to get fair value for a case.

      Why don’t you want to have surgery now? I assume that the pain is not great enough to warrant surgery, correct?

      Your attorney most likely knows much more than me about your case, so he is the best person to ask questions to about your case.

      There is a time limit to sue. This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. Your response to this comment will be public.

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