Everything You Need to Know About Disc Tears and Your Rights

You’ve survived a near head-on collision with an 18-wheeler but you swerved into the median barrier. You walk away from this commercial truck accident with what appears to be only minor scratches and bruises but a few days later you notice a sharp and sudden pain in your neck.

You visit a doctor and are diagnosed with a disc tear, and now the trucking company the other driver works for isn’t even returning your calls. What do you do?

What you need is representation and not just any personal injury lawyer will do. When you’re looking for a dedicated, trustworthy personal injury and car accident lawyer in New Orleans, look no further than the Cardone Law Firm. Our dependable team has the experience and knowledge necessary to get you the recovery you need.

One of the most common injuries that we have seen in semi-truck accidents happens to be disc tears. We want to help you understand what this type of injury is and how you can obtain compensation for mounting medical costs. Please consider the following information.

What Exactly is a Disc Tear?

You may have heard about bulging discs, slipped discs, herniated discs, and torn discs – but are they all related to a disc tear or even the same condition at all?

In many aspects, no. While these terms may seem to be used in lieu of a disc tear, the truth of the matter is that a bulging disc is slightly different compared to the others. Disc injuries can include:

  • Bulging Disc – Also known as a disc protrusion, bulging discs occur when the spinal disc bulges outward due to pressure from the spine. In this particular case, the disc has not yet ruptured.
  • Herniated/Torn Disc – This condition is where the disc has developed a tear and ruptured, leaking its gel-like contents out.
  • Slipped Disc – This is a non-medical term that is often used when referencing a herniated or bulging disc.

What Causes a Disc Tear to Happen?

Disc tears can occur naturally as we age but can also be the result of an auto accident. The sudden stress placed on the spinal column by a car accident can cause the disc that is sandwiched between your vertebrae to shift out of place. The most common areas that are affected by this stress is in your neck (cervical spine) or the lower back (lumbar spine).

If the disc bulges out of place or ruptures, it could press against a nerve and you may experience, depending on the location:

  • Neck pain
  • Arm or hand pain
  • Back pain
  • Leg pain
  • Numbness and/or a tingling sensation
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Inability to sit, stand, or lie down for extended periods of time
  • Inability to bend down or lift heavy objects

The pain associated with a disc tear may be sharp and sudden, or it could also be dull and linger around for a long time. In either case, it would be best to visit a doctor immediately. Not only could a visit to the doctor help you recover, it can strengthen your case should you decide to seek legal action.

What are My Treatment Options?

Treatment plans usually begin with physical examinations, MRIs, x-rays, or other diagnostic tests to determine the severity of your injury. Once it has been determined in exactly what way your disc/back has been injured, your treatment options may include:

  • Pain medications
  • Epidural injections
  • Chiropractic care
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Stretching exercises
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, or yoga
  • Weight management

While sustaining a disc tear injury may seem like a difficult condition to recover from, many individuals – if not most – are able to recover without invasive surgery. In the event that you are in severe pain, however, surgeries—like a discectomy, microdiscectomy, or a laminectomy—may be the only remaining options you have left.

What Can I Expect During Recovery?

For the majority of those who have suffered a disc tear, healing can take several weeks with conservative treatment. During this time, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and recommend the usage of ice packs and heating pads to ease your symptoms.

Should the pain not go away or become unbearable, he or she may prescribe painkillers, muscle relaxers, or cortisone injections. Alternative therapies may also be great contributors to your recovery process. Ask your doctor if chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, acupuncture, or massage therapy is right for you.

Whatever option you choose, take it easy. Car accidents can cause a lot of injury, straining the body to recover enough as it is, and often symptoms don’t reveal themselves until after a day or two. Don’t push yourself too hard, and avoid any activities that make the pain worse. At the same time, excessive bed rest can cause stiff joints and muscle atrophy, both of which hinder the healing process.

A healthy balance between rest and light activity like walking, stretching, or light housework is key. Your body will tell you when you’ve had enough.

What Are My Legal Options?

Don’t put off considering legal action even if you feel that your injuries aren’t that severe. You are still entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.

The question is, what do you do now? How do you move forward and set up a successful claim?

First, you need to prove without a doubt that the other driver was at fault. If you happened to have sustained a disc tear when you were rear-ended, that could be a strong indicator that the other driver was negligent. It is important to show that the injuries you sustained are a direct result of the semi-truck accident. Most insurance companies are cautious about people making medical claims, so obtaining documentation from your doctor showing a clear connection between your symptoms and the accident is crucial to building a strong case.

Of course, having strong representation from an experienced personal injury attorney like Cliff Cardone and Hannah Salter of Cardone Law Firm is your best shot at getting the compensation you deserve.

With over 40 years of experience fighting for clients against trucking companies, trust in the dedicated talents of our New Orleans truck accident lawyers to help you obtain the justice you deserve.

Our number one priority at Cardone Law Firm is the wellbeing of our clients. While you rest, relax, and recover, we’re fighting to get you the restitution you need, and the best part is that you won’t pay a penny unless we win.

Phone Cardone at (504) 522-3333 for your free legal consultation with our Louisiana truck accident attorneys today.