Any spontaneous or traumatic force will result in a herniated or bulging disc. Automobile accidents, slips and falls, construction accidents, work injuries, and mishaps while participating in sports are all common causes of a bulging or ruptured intervertebral disc. Ruptured intervertebral disc injuries are common in personal injury situations.
Herniated discs are commonly caused by back and neck accidents at work. Because a herniated disc may necessitate surgery and lost time, workers compensation insurance providers frequently contest and deny claims for benefits for a back injury or a neck injury caused by a herniated disc. The carrier may accept an initial cervical or lumbar strain, but the herniated disc will be denied reimbursement.
Many discs sit between each set of vertebrae in the neural system. These discs can withstand force and harm, but there is a limit.
When a disc is injured, the annulus fibrosus, the outer layer of the disc, can tear or burst. The nucleus pulposus, the inner material of the disc, will herniate if it is ruptured. This indicates that the disc’s interior substance bulges or extrudes.
The inner disc material will rub against the spinal nerve roots that surround each disc, causing pressure. When the spinal nerve root gets inflamed or injured, it causes pain and other symptoms. Even a minor disc herniation will cause pain to the damaged worker or accident victim.
Your rupture may be referred to as a bulging disc, slipping disc, pinched nerve, stenosis, or degenerative disc disease by your doctor.
Difference between Bulging Disc and a Herniated Disc
Although the terms bulging disc and herniated disc are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two.
A bulging disk does not always impact the entire disk’s boundaries, but it does affect at least a quarter, if not half, of the circumference. It only consists of the tough outer layer of cartilage.
When a split in the robust outer layer of cartilage permits some of the softer interior cartilage to protrude out of the disk, it is called a herniated disk. Herniated disks are also known as ruptured or slid disks, despite the fact that the entire disk does not burst or slip.
The nerve roots will be harmed by both bulging and ruptured discs. Allowing the insurance company’s description of the injury to affect your negotiation technique is a bad idea. The term bulging disc is commonly used by insurance companies since it sounds less dangerous than herniated disc. A bulging disc, on the other hand, will contact nerve roots and produce a variety of spinal disorders, including a herniated disc.
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Causes of a Herniated Disc
Bulging and herniated discs can be caused by a variety of factors. Additive trauma can cause a spinal disc to herniate. It could also herniate as a result of a sudden, traumatic injury, such as one sustained in a work-related automobile accident, a fall from a great height, or when lifting a heavy object.
On the workplace or in a car accident with a coworker, there’s a chance of a herniated or bulging disc. On the job, all employees are at risk of developing a herniated disc. Any worker whose job requires lifting, pushing, tugging, or climbing, on the other hand, is more likely to develop a work-related herniated disc. Flight attendants, Wal-Mart employees, Amazon employees, Food Lion employees, nurses, and UPS drivers are among those affected.
Herniated disks are also common among employees in their 30s and 50s. This could be due to the covering of the spinal disc deteriorating over time. When a person reaches the age of 50, the inside of the disk begins to stiffen. This reduces the risk of a herniated disc, but it also causes other problems.
Diagnosis of a Herniated Disc
The following approaches can be used to diagnose a ruptured intervertebral disc by your doctor or orthopedic surgeon:
Your doctor can inquire as to how you were wounded and make a note of your pain and other symptoms. A physical examination by your doctor can be used to check your symptoms in a variety of postures. Your doctor may order an MRI or CT scan to confirm the presence of an anatomical presence and that you have a herniated disc affecting your spinal nerve roots.
Difference between a Herniated Disc and Degenerative Disc Disease
As a result of the uncomfortable disk space, degenerative disc disease commonly produces axial discomfort. If a person does not have a herniated disc, he or she will have degenerative disc disease of the spine. The worker’s Compensation Act covers back injuries that cause the aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation, or flare-up of degenerative disc disease.
The nerve in the spine will be affected by a herniated disc. Radicular pain is the effect of this. A herniated disc in the lumbar spine, for example, could cause discomfort to radiate down one or both legs.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
The symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on whether it is in the lumbar spine, cervical spine, or thoracic spine.
Herniated Disc within the Lumbar Spine
The lumbar spine accounts for more than 80% of herniated discs.
- Leg discomfort is the most common symptom of a ruptured intervertebral disc in the lumbar spine. At the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels of the lumbar spine, there are several herniated discs.
- The L5 nerve is usually impinged by a herniated disc at the L4-L5 level. This will result in leg pain and weakness all the way to the foot and toes.
- The S1 nerve is usually impinged by a herniated disc at the L5-S1 junction. Radiation to the toes and feet will continue to be caused by the damaged intervertebral disc.
Low back injuries involving the lumbar spine are common in herniated disc workers’ compensation settlements.
Herniated Disc within the Cervical Spine
- The C5 nerve root may be impinged by a herniated disc at the C4-C5 level. A C5 nerve root impingement produces deltoid weakness in the upper arm. It should also result in shoulder ache.
- The C6 nerve root may be impinged by a herniated disc at C5-C6. The biceps and wrist joint muscles become weak when the C6 nerve root becomes impinged.
- The C7 nerve root may be impinged if the C6-C7 nerve is ruptured. This could result in striated muscle and finger weakness.
- C8 nerve root impingement could be caused by a herniated disc at C7-T1. Gripping and handling issues could be caused by an impinged C8 nerve root. This can be a concern for injured workers whose occupations need them to use their hands repeatedly.
Herniated Disc within the Thoracic Spine
Herniated discs in the thoracic spine are less prevalent than those in the cervical and lumbar spine. They will, however, develop major problems and necessitate surgery.
Several attorneys negotiated a workers’ compensation payout for injured workers who developed ruptured and bulging discs in the thoracic spine as a result of extremely dangerous slip and fall accidents.
Medical Treatment of Bulging and Herniated Discs
The goal of treating a herniated disc injury caused by job is to relieve discomfort and restore function.
Doctors can usually start with conservative treatment for a herniated disc. Rest, treatment, and pain medication are all options. Several injured workers recover from their injuries with conservative therapy and return to work within 3 to 6 months after the initial injury.
If conservative treatment fails, your worker’s compensation doctor may recommend surgery. Lumbar decompression surgery, microdiscectomy, cervical laminectomy, and spinal fusion are all common surgical techniques for herniated disc injuries. Surgery for a herniated disc increases the risk of another spinal disc rupturing, resulting in long-term problems.
If an injured worker develops cauda equina syndrome as a result of a herniated disc, surgery is required right once. Cauda equina syndrome is a surgical emergency that occurs when the nerve roots are compressed by a herniated disc. It is characterized by leg weakness, unexpected bowel or bladder failure, and probable leg dysfunction. Workers compensation settlement for a herniated disc was reached by a personal injury lawyer for workers who developed cauda equina syndrome as a result of a lifting injury. Attorneys, for example, negotiated a settlement worth more than $300,000 for a damaged airline employee who acquired cauda equina syndrome while lifting a large luggage while investigating security.
Why Insurance Firms Deny Work Comp Claims for Herniated Disc Injuries?
Herniated disc claims typically result in expensive medical treatment and employment disability. If your herniated disc causes you to lose use of an arm or leg, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. The insurance company will almost certainly contest your claim as a result of this.
The following are the most typical worker’s compensation defenses to a herniated disc:
- Because you have a pre-existing condition impacting your back or neck, the insurance company may deny your claim.
- The insurance company may agree to pay for your back or neck injury, but they may dispute that you suffered anything other than a strain or sprain. Several personal injury lawyers can help you overcome these obstacles and reach a high-value herniated disc workers’ compensation award.
What Treatment and Workers Compensation Benefits Will Receive for a Herniated Disc Injury?
If you can show that your herniated disc is a compensable injury, you’ll be eligible for many workers’ compensation benefits. Aside from PPD benefits and a herniated disc settlement, you’ll also get:
When a person is injured as a result of another person’s negligence, they will file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. The purpose is to track down individuals legally responsible for the injury and hold them liable for any damages that result from it.
When personal injury damages are granted to an injured plaintiff, they make up for the losses he or she has suffered and restore the plaintiff’s “wholeness.”
To determine the proportion of a settlement for a bulging disc, it should assign a cash value to all of the accident’s consequences. These outcomes could include things like pain and suffering, physical limits, medical bills, and lost pay, among other things.
In most herniated disc personal injury claims, compensatory damages are sought in the following ways:
- Medical treatment–reimbursement for medical treatment already received by the plaintiff, as well as compensation for future treatment related to the herniated or bulging disc suffered in the accident.
- Property loss–if the plaintiff was injured in a car accident, he or she is usually entitled to compensation for the cost of fixing the vehicle or getting fair market value for the vehicle that cannot be fixed. Clothing and other items broken in the accident may also be paid.
- Income– If the plaintiff’s capacity to work has been harmed as a result of the herniated or bulging disc, he or she may be compensated for the lost wages. Furthermore, if the plaintiff’s ruptured intervertebral disc prohibits him or her from working in the future, he or she may be entitled to compensation for “loss of earning capability.”
- Pain and suffering–People who endure pain and discomfort as a result of the ruptured or bulging disc they sustained during the accident will be compensated for their suffering.
- Loss of fancying–if the plaintiff’s injuries have harmed his or her capacity to enjoy everyday activities (exercise, hobbies, etc. ), he or she may be entitled to compensation for “loss of fancying.”
- Emotional distress –Emotional distress is frequently linked to really serious accidents. A claimant may be compensated for the psychological harm caused by the damage. Anxiety, worry, and a lack of sleep are examples of problems.
- Loss of consortium – this relates to how the injuries have affected the complainant’s relationship with his or her partner. The legislation also allows for the loss of pool damages between a parent and a child.
- Punitive damages– if the court deems that the defendant’s actions were reckless or disgusting, the complainant may be given punitive damages in addition to, or instead of, actual damages. It punishes the defendant by awarding damages.
When calculating the value of a workers’ compensation settlement for a bulging disc or a herniated disc settlement, all of the considerations outlined above should be considered.
The majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court. People who are intimately involved in the issue, insurance companies, and attorneys representing both sides are usually involved in negotiating a settlement figure.
Mediation or arbitration are two options for resolving issues that are often used: they are considered the “middle ground” between a casual settlement and a lawsuit.
How much may be a Herniated Disc Worth?
A bulging or workers’ compensation settlement for a herniated disc claim might cost a lot of money. The average award for this type of damage is $350,000 nationwide; however, the value of the case depends entirely on the amount of the injury sustained and hence the unique facts of the case.