Car accidents can cause injuries and exacerbate existing ones. Regardless of the damage, insurance companies will go out of their way to discredit plaintiffs to avoid or limit the compensation they would have to pay. There are many cases like this documented across the United States including class action lawsuits.
Car accident victims sustaining neck or back injuries due to a collision will usually find themselves in a very long and painful journey to recovery. Additionally, they will have to go up against insurance companies whose primary goal is to compensate the victim as little as possible or nothing at all.
If you or someone you know has suffered neck or back injuries because of a car accident due to another party’s fault, then you need to consult a lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your options and how to get the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a chronic condition that happens when discs between the vertebrae lose their cushioning, resulting in herniation. Although it is medically called a “disease,” it can develop due to aging and most people are at risk of the body degenerating over time.
The problem usually happens in two ways: when molecules lose water, therefore, reducing the space between the vertebrae and applying pressure on the other joints of the spinal cord; and when the disc’s outer layer becomes rigid and cracks, forcing fluid out the disc. The aging process contributes, possibly producing bone spurs which can compress the spinal cord.
When someone is in a car accident, the impact of the collision could exert enormous pressure on the neck, back and spine. Any previous neck or back conditions or injury may contribute to a worsening of the situation.
The question now is how you can qualify for compensation since insurance companies often use pre-existing conditions to refuse payment or limit the amount awarded. What happens if you have a degenerative disc disease even before the accident?
The settlement will depend on several factors. Primarily, the treatment of your condition and the severity of the accident will be considered the most. For example, you may require surgery or therapy or both. You need to provide proof that the car accident contributed or worsened your condition. Detailed medical records can support your claim including tests like an MRI, CT scan or X-ray.
You should consult with your lawyer on the documents or types of information required to strengthen your case. You may also need to provide the insurance company access to your medical records while processing your claim.
Types of compensation you can receive include:
- Economic damages -compensation for financial losses and expenses you incurred due to the accident. Losses could come in the form of lost wages, lost employment opportunity or reduced earning capacity. Other economic damages may include transportation costs, present and anticipated medical bills.
- Non-economic damages -this is compensation for pain and suffering like mental anguish over permanent disability resulting from the injury.
In most states, your settlement compensation may also vary depending on if another party’s negligence caused the accident. You should consult with your lawyer about comparative or contributory negligence. At Grossman, we have highly skilled lawyers who can effectively and professionally handle your case.