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? 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.
Will Looking At Past Verdicts Help You Learn How Much a Bulging Disc Is Worth?
It may. However, one of the difficulties is that many verdicts (where the claimed injury was a bulging disc) also involve a herniated disc.
All things equal, juries award more money for pain and suffering associated with a herniated disc than they do for a bulging disc.
Thus, if someone got a verdict for a herniated disc and bulging disc, it can be difficult to know how much was awarded for the bulging disc. You will need to look deep into the court file and read the entire trial transcript. And even then, you might not know the severity of the injured person’s bulging disc.
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 jury did award $300 for lost income, and $341 for medical bills.
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:
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.
Past Jury Verdicts May Tell You Pain and Suffering Component
Adjusters and attorneys may look at past jury verdicts to determine the likely pain and suffering value for a bulging disc. In the last 10 years or longer, insurance companies have also looked at past settlements.
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.
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.
Bulging Disc in a Florida Auto Accident Case May be Worth Less than Other 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.
These include slip, trip and falls, cruise or boat accidents, motorcycle accidents, taxi crashes and other accidents. The tort threshold does not apply to these.
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.
$260K Settlement for Uber Driver’s Disc Protrusions and Lamina Fracture
Here is a video about this $260K settlement:
I settled an Uber driver’s injury claim for $260,000.
The Uber driver claimed that the accident caused or aggravated his disc protrusions. The two disc protrusions were in his lower back. He also had a lamina fracture of his T3 vertebrae in his upper back.
He did not have surgery for his injuries. Here is the actual crash diagram from the police report:
My client, Ray, was an Uber driver who was engaged in an Uber ride. He was in Vehicle 2 in the above diagram. He had a passenger at the time of the crash.
A company van (vehicle #1 in the diagram) was heading in the opposite direction. The van made a left hand turn.
The front of the van collided with the left driver side of the Uber driver’s car. You can see the damage to the car that Ray was driving (below):
The van wasn’t as badly damaged. Check out the photo below:
Here is a photo of the Uber driver laying in his hospital bed:
CNA (American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania) insured the at fault van. CNA paid the $260K settlement.
Here is CNA’s settlement check:
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.
She also broke her nose. GEICO paid its $100,000 BI insurance limits shortly after the crash. I represented the injured driver.
$75,000 Settlement For Bulging Disc and Knee Surgery From Car Accident
A young lady, Yasi (not real name), received a $75,000 Settlement for a bulging disc, and arthroscopic surgery on a plica in her knee. A plica is a fold of synovial membrane of the knee.
A car made a left hand turn in front of the car that Yasi was driving. They crashed.
The other car’s driver received a ticket for failing to yield the right of way. Progressive insured the at fault driver.
Our client was a passenger in a car that had $50,000 in uninsured motorist (UM) coverage with Allstate.
Therefore, our client was an insured under the UM policy.
She lower back pain. Yasi also had epidural injections to a bulging disc in her lower back.
Our client lived in Miami, Florida. She owned a car at the time of the accident. State Farm insured it.
Thus, her own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage paid $10,000 to her medical providers.
Driver Gets $57,000 Settlement for Bulging Disc from Car Crash
A police officer suffered a back injury, while he was on duty. He was rear ended in a car accident in Medley, Florida (North Miami-Dade County).
The driver who caused the accident received a ticket for following too closely. State Farm Insurance insured the at fault driver.
They paid us the $10,000 BI liability limits. My client suffered a bulging disc. He was a candidate for a lumbar laminectomy.
He had epidural shots to his lower back. However, he did not have back surgery. Travelers was his underinsured motorist (UIM) insurer. They paid $47,000 to settle.
At the time of the settlement with the Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurer, workers’ compensation for the police department paid over $17,000 in indemnity (lost wages) and medical benefits.
My thoughts: I have said before that as a starting point for evaluating the settlement value of pain and suffering from a bulging disc caused by someone else in Florida is between $10,000 and $15,000.
My client had epidurals, which generally increase a case value.
Pedestrian Hit By Car Gets $70,000 for 4 Bulging Discs and Other Injuries
See my case where a pedestrian who was hit by a car got $70,000 for 4 bulging discs, a tibial plateau fracture, a sacrum fracture, and herniated discs.
$28K Settlement for 2 Bulging Discs in Lower Back from Truck Accident
Tom, a 51 year old, was driving a box truck on I-75 in Wildwood, Sumter County, Florida. Jose was driving an 18 wheeler truck headed in the same direction.
The front of Jose’s truck hit the back of Tom’s truck. The crash diagram is below:
American Inter-Fidelity Exchange insured Jose’s employer.
We claimed that the accident caused or aggravated pain in Tom’s neck, back and elbows. The doctor ordered an MRI of his lower back. The MRI showed bulging discs.
We also claimed that the collision worsened the pre-existing chondromalacia in his knee.
Tom was driving a box truck for work. However, Allstate insured his personal vehicle. Allstate paid personal injury protection (PIP) benefits to Tom’s doctors.
American Inter-Fidelity Exchange paid us $28,000 to settle Tom’s personal injury claim.
I was Tom’s personal injury attorney.
Passenger Gets $25,000 for Bulging Disc and Other Injuries
See a case where a passenger got $25,000 after a car rear ended him in Key Largo. He claimed a bulging disc, herniated disc, mid back and back injury, shoulder labrum tear, finger and knee injury.
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.
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.
- 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.
Here, Assume That Pain and Suffering Value of Bulging Disc is $10,000
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
Value = $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.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?
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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.
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.
P G says
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??
Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says
Thank you for telling me about your accident. I am sorry to hear that you were injured. I hope you feel better.
Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question here. There are over 33 factors that may affect the value of an injury case, and over 13 factors that may affect how much a motor vehicle crash case is worth. I will say that I love representing people hit by drunk drivers because of the ability to ask the judge to allow you to bring a claim for punitive damages.
If you want to hire a lawyer, you are more than welcome to call us at 888-594-3577 and we will tell you – for free – whether we can represent you. I suggest that you speak with an attorney immediately. These are at least 11 reasons and benefits to hiring an injury lawyer.
There is a time limit to file a lawsuit. I am not your attorney. This is not legal advice.
i was at a Stop light and was rear ended by a woman twice, we are guessing her foot was still on the gas when she bounced off my bumper and hit me a second time. I’m a 50 year old woman in good health (not so much now).
She herniated four of the discs in my neck and pushed the bottom disc upward so that my neck is now flat. I had to have Botox injections just to be able to lift my arms up past my chest and have an appointment scheduled for the epidural injections. It’s been 6 months now I’ve been going through chiropractic and the orthopedic appointments, I’m still in a lot of pain and am being forced to change my job after 12 years as I am no longer able to do my job. Although I am not in Florida the woman was cited at the scene and is insured through State Farm. The first call I made was to an attorney. I’m curious about what kind of settlement to expect. I also got statements from four witnesses at the scene. So I’m expecting state farm will not want this case going to court.
Justin Ziegler, Injury Lawyer says
I am sorry to hear that you have these injuries. I wish you 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.
You stated “I am not in Florida.”
Do you live in Florida?
Did you live in Florida at the time of the wreck?
Did the collision occur in Florida?
Your response to my comment will be posted publicly.
Dea H. says
My daughter, 18 years old, was rear-ended in an auto accident, which caused her to also hit the car in front of her. She was stopped at a signal light when rear-ended.
She was diagnosed with whiplash, soft tissue damage, back spasms and a bulging disc in her neck. She has been receiving physical therapy for 9 weeks and when on her feet for too long, she has back pain.
The insurance company for both the at-fault party and my daughter is Geico. We are trying to determine if we should get a lawyer or attempt to settle ourselves once we know the long-term extent of her injuries.
Justin Ziegler, Lawyer says
I’m sorry to hear that your daughter was in an accident, and that she still has back pain. Your question is a common one.
I suggest that she hire a lawyer. I wrote an article on the reasons to hire a injury lawyer.
At the least, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer to get his/her thoughts on this matter. The consultation should be free.
If her accident happened in Florida, or if she lives in Florida, she is welcome to call me at 305-661-9977 for a free consultation to see if I can represent her.
Disclaimer: My reply only applies to incidents in Florida or on a cruise, since I’m only licensed in Florida. My reply is written for general information only. Individual cases demand individual treatment. I am not your lawyer. My reply is not intended as legal advice or opinion. You should speak with a lawyer immediately. There is a time limit to sue.