Fort Smith Spinal Cord Herniated Disc Injury Lawyer
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, accidents were the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, totaling at 37.7% for 2022. Also, the findings revealed than incomplete tetraplegia was the number one neurological impact from spinal cord injuries since 2015.
Spinal cord injuries, including herniated disc injuries, can become a nightmare involving hospital admissions, physiotherapies, possible surgeries, on-going medical care treatments, and long-term rehabilitation. This can be exceedingly expensive, but also a complicated dance with insurance companies to obtain accident reports, provide accurate details, all required legal documents, such as proof of insurance, and proof of medical care and medical costs.
This is why if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and sustained a spinal cord injury, speak to our spinal cord injury herniated disc attorneys at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield. We understand every step of the process required to secure fair and equitable compensation for your injuries.
How The Spine Can Be Severely Affected After an Accident
The spine supports the whole body, and when something happens to interfere with how it functions, there can be serious problems. Spinal cord injuries, such as a herniated disc, also referred to as a slipped disc, take a long time to heal. Recovery can be tricky. Litigation for a spinal cord herniated disc injury usually involves two issues: whether the herniated disc is a direct result of a car accident, and the level of pain and limitation the injury causes the plaintiff.
Discs have a soft inner core and a hard periphery that protects the core. If someone is involved in an accident, the jerking during impact can damage the soft core inside of the disc, resulting in tears through the outer covering.
Even if an accident is considered minor, herniated discs can emerge later on. This is one of many reasons why seeking a medical assessment after a car accident is imperative. It’s crucial to understand the types of injuries sustained, their current and potential severity, and to file a comprehensive claim for compensation. Most lumbar disc injuries are sustained at L4-L5 or L5-S1, and most cervical disc injuries are sustained at C5 and C6, and C6 and C7.
What To Know About Herniated Discs
A herniated disc has been damaged due to an accident. It is a cushion between two bones in the vertebrae. Their primary job is to hold bones in place, acting as shock absorbers that let the spine bend smoothly.
If a disc has been damaged and protrudes outside its normal confines, the outer layer of the protective cartilage becomes cracked or herniated. Bulging discs press on nerves in the spinal canal, resulting in excruciating back and neck pain. This pain may travel down to the buttocks and leg, a medical condition referred to as sciatic pain.
Although herniated discs can often be caused by aging, obesity, heavy lifting, and smoking, being involved in a serious car crash can cause a herniated disc. It’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible and to contact an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss the next best steps.
Common Herniated Disc Symptoms
One of the most obvious symptoms is the unrelenting pain from the affected area(s). There may also be muscle spasms, numbness, weakness, and tingling. The pain intensifies by moving and may diminish when resting. Coughing, stretching, bending down, or over can result in severe shooting pains.
Other symptoms may include the following:
- Shooting, burning pain;
- Weakness or numbness;
- Cervical herniation can result in cervical stenosis;
- Cervical stenosis can cause myelopathy;
- Myelopathy symptoms include neck stiffness, heaviness/numbness in arms and hands;
- Shocking feeling down legs or arms; and
- Severe cases may result in difficulty walking or using arms and hands.
To diagnose a herniated disc, a physician takes a complete medical history and assesses if the pain began and increased over time, or if it was caused by the traumatic accident. Reflexes are checked for sensation versus numbness, muscle strength, and posture.
A patient is typically asked to sit, stand and walk to assess gait. An accident survivor may be instructed to go get imaging tests to see if there is a disc injury, its location, and size. Other tests may include myelograms, X-rays, CT scans, electromyograms, and CT scans.
Types of Treatments for Herniated Discs
Depending on the severity of the herniated disc, treatments may include:
- Bed rest;
- Anti-inflammatory medications;
- Pain relievers;
- Hot and cold compresses;
- Muscle relaxants;
- Epidural injections reduce nerve irritation;
- Chiropractic care;
- Osteopathic care;
- Homeopathic care;
- Lumbar disc microsurgery; and
- Non-surgical options such as spinal injections, physical therapy, preventative and post-surgery recovery programs.
In general, the type of procedure performed depends on where the herniated disc is located and how badly damaged it is. Typically, there are several surgical options available, such as:
- Spinal Fusion means the vertebrae are fused with a metal rod or bone graft.
- Laminotomy means the portion of the disc that is protruding is excised.
- Discectomy means the entire disc is removed.
- Arthroplasty means the herniated disc is replaced with an artificial one.
Contact the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield Today
If you were involved in a Fort Smith car crash, reach out to the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield by calling 479-361-3575. Our dedicated team of Fort Smith spinal cord injury herniated disc accident lawyers is here to help.
Call us today for a free initial consultation and to find out what you can expect should you file a personal injury lawsuit. We know you have questions, and we can answer them for you. The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield is just one quick call away: 479-361-3575.