If you recently herniated a disc in a car accident, you may be wondering what to expect from a settlement. How much of a settlement to expect for a herniated disc depends on a number of factors.
There is no average herniated disc auto accident settlement in Mississippi. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when pursuing your personal injury claim.
Could I Have a Herniated Disc?
Between each vertebrae of your spine is a small disc that acts as a cushion. A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of a disc tears, exposing the inner portion. Your spine runs from the base of your skull to your tailbone. Therefore, your symptoms may be different depending on where the herniated disc is located. Usually, people herniate the discs in their lower back.
While some herniated discs have no symptoms, the torn disc can press on a nerve, causing arm or leg pain. Symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Tingling or numbness in body parts that depend on an affected nerve;
- Muscle weakness in the area of the affected nerve; and
- Sharp pain in the leg and buttocks or arm and shoulder.
If you experience any of these symptoms after a car accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. While there is no average herniated disc settlement, seeing a doctor can help maximize your recovery. Even if you felt no pain in the days after your accident and begin to feel symptoms later, it is a good idea to seek a professional opinion.
What Will My Settlement Cover?
The average settlement for a herniated disc varies widely. Two factors affecting the amount of your settlement are how much your injury affected your daily life and the cost of your treatment. Mississippi’s approach to personal injury damages explains the impact of these two factors. Mississippi courts award two types of damages.
General damages are compensation for non-financial losses. Courts assign approximate monetary values to things like loss of enjoyment or pain and suffering. If you can no longer participate in one of your favorite activities after an accident, a court may add the approximated dollar value of that activity to your herniated disc settlement amount.
On the other hand, if you experience very little pain and your injury does not impact your life much, there will be no need to compensate you for any loss of enjoyment. Mississippi law limits general damages to a maximum of $1 million.
Special damages compensate accident victims for financial losses. For example, if you had to miss work because of your herniated disc, your settlement may cover your lost wages. Doctors prescribe a variety of treatments for herniated discs depending on the severity of the injury. Your doctor may treat your injury with anything from over-the-counter medication to physical therapy and, in some rare cases, surgery.
Physical therapy is much more expensive than buying ibuprofen at your local pharmacy. The amount of special damages to which you are entitled may depend in part on what type of treatment your doctor prescribes. You should see a doctor for your herniated disc because the cost of more expensive treatment options like PT is more likely to be covered by your settlement if you have documentation showing that your doctor recommended these treatments.
What Else Can Affect My Settlement?
There is no average herniated disc settlement amount because no two cases are exactly alike. In addition to documentation from a medical professional, several other factors may affect your settlement amount.
Who Is at Fault?
If you were partially at fault for your car accident, this can reduce your damages award. In Mississippi, a court will reduce your award by the percentage by which you are at fault. For example, if the other driver is 80% at fault and you are 20% at fault, your damages award can be reduced by 20%.
This is known as the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule comes into play even in out-of-court settlements. The other party to the accident can use your contribution to the accident as leverage to get you to agree to a lower settlement amount, knowing that a court would reduce your damages award.
How Strong Is the Evidence?
To receive compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident. You must also prove that the accident, and not an unrelated incident, caused your injuries. The details of your situation will determine how difficult it will be to prove that the other driver was at fault.
If your accident occurred in a busy area, you may be able to get witness statements about the cause of the accident. The site of your accident may have been subject to security surveillance. Businesses often install security cameras to monitor their parking lots.
Security camera footage can help you establish the other driver’s fault. The more evidence you have supporting your claim, the stronger your case would be if you went to court. This kind of leverage can help you negotiate a larger settlement.
Do You Have an Attorney?
Hiring an attorney can help increase your herniated disc car accident settlement award. Your attorney will know how strong the evidence is for your claim and can help you consider the likely outcome of a trial given this evidence. An experienced personal injury attorney can use their knowledge of Mississippi car accident law to negotiate the best possible settlement for you.
Call Our Office Today
If you have questions about your herniated disc settlement, give us a call today. We have more than three decades of experience, so you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands.
Our sophisticated representation and focus on personalized client service can help you receive the compensation you deserve.