The Car Insurance Company Says My Neck and Spinal Disk Injury Is a Preexisting Condition
Auto insurance says my neck and spinal disc injury is a pre-existing condition
Visit a trusted medical website and you will find that most disc injuries are the result of normal wear and tear. The risk of a herniated disc increases with age. The more active a person is, the more likely they are to have disc degeneration, which leads to most hernia cases.
This medical consensus can make it difficult to prove that a herniated disc occurred in the neck or lower back in a car accident. In order to effectively counter a motor insurance claim expert’s argument that a spinal disc injury was a pre-existing condition and therefore does not deserve compensation for personal injury, compelling evidence must be provided that the accident caused the problem entirely or that it worsened a manageable condition has become debilitating.
What is a herniated disc?
An intervertebral disc is a pillow of cartilage that sits between the vertebrae. The disc itself consists of a softer cartilage core surrounded by a harder shell made of the same biological material. According to the Mayo Clinic, a herniated disc occurs when “a tear in the tough outer layer of cartilage causes part of the softer inner cartilage to protrude from the disc”.
The cracks often develop naturally. The event causing the break may lift a heavy object, turn suddenly, or simply bend over. Bumps to the spine can also cause a break. Once the soft inner cartilage protrudes, it pinches the nerves that run to the lower body.
Symptoms of a herniated disc, also known as a herniated disc or herniated disc, range from numbness, tingling, and weakness in one or both legs to sciatica, which is characterized by sharp, stabbing pain from the buttocks to the heels. In the worst case, a herniated disc can lead to loss of bladder or bowel control.
Car accidents as a cause of herniated discs
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains how discs herniate in this way: “Discs are high in water in children and young adults. With age, the water content in the discs decreases and the discs become less flexible. The discs begin to shrink and the spaces between the vertebrae narrow. “
The Academy then immediately throws in the observation that “a traumatic event like a fall can also cause a herniated disc”.
A car accident is certainly a traumatic event. Collisions with cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are the leading causes of all types of neck and spine injuries. Specifically, an analysis of 903 cases in which the victim of a car accident sustained neck and back disc injuries found that the neck injuries were most common in side wipe collisions. Injuries to the lower back disk were most common in frontal collisions.
A pre-existing condition does not automatically invalidate a claim for damages after a car accident
No outcome can be guaranteed on an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, but an insurance company cannot immediately cancel a claim by using the term “pre-existing” as a spell. Rather, the victim of a car accident has the right to present facts showing that either the herniated disc did not exist before the accident or that the symptoms worsened significantly after the accident.
Medical evidence and expert testimony carry great weight when an accident victim seeks an agreement or a jury award for a neck or back injury. In particular, records from emergency care, follow-up appointments with specialists and notes from physiotherapists can support a claim for compensation for a disc injury.
Should an expert statement be required, working with an experienced personal injury attorney will help with the organization.
Corey Heit of Westerville, Ohio, Heit Law represents car accident victims in Columbus and throughout Franklin County. You can schedule a free online consultation or speak to Corey at (614) 898-5300.