– My name is Justin Ziegler. I’m an attorney with the
law firm of JZ Helps, an injury law firm in Florida. And today I’m going be
talking about calculating the value of a herniated disc case, if someone else caused your
herniated disc in an accident. First we’re going to look at a normal disc. This is the vertebrae, this is the disc. Here you can see the
jelly-like substance inside the disc, you can see
pushing against the nerve. This is the herniated disc. This article’s going to focus,
as I already discussed, on claims where someone
else’s carelessness caused your herniated disc. I’ve already been over
what a herniated disc is. Is it related to an accident? Yes, it can be caused by an accident, and I’m going to get into that much more in detail in few minutes, or seconds. You can get a herniated
disc in your lower back, in your mid-back, or your neck. Herniated discs are not normally found in the emergency room. This is primarily because
they take a CT scan, CAT scan, or x-rays of your
neck or back, and not an MRI. This is an MRI machine where
your herniated disc if you have one will most likely
be found using this machine. I’m going to just look at a few settlements I’ve had right now. This is a herniated disc. You can see the disc is herniated here. This is from a settlement
I settled for $100,000. My client was on a motorcycle
and he was hit by another vehicle that failed to
yield the right-of-way. He also had some other injuries, too. The herniated disc was not
the only injury that he had. You’ll see links here which link to other articles on my website in the comments and the description section below the video. I’m going to have links to
this article where you can browse other articles from those links. This is a herniated disc
from a $17,000 settlement I had involving a car
accident with very little, or not too much, property
damage to the car. You can see the herniation there, C3 C4, the C stands for cervical, your neck. Three four is the level
that it happened at, level three, level four. There’s another one at C5 C6 right there. Now most neck and back pain
gets resolved after six weeks. However, there’s a chance
you get a herniated disc and the pain does not resolve. Radicular symptoms, you may hear the word radicular in your medical records. That just means that, that
happens when you have a pinched nerve and your
symptoms, the pain or irritation is coming down your arms or your legs. Here’s what pinched nerve looks like. As you can see, this is the disc, this is just a zoom, a close-up of this. The pinched nerve is there, it’s pressing about that
area and it’s causing pain to flow down your arms or your legs. I’m going to get into this a little bit more, but when you have those symptoms running down your arm or your
leg that generally drives up the full value of
the pain and suffering component of a herniated disc. What do I mean by full value? Full value is without
taking, without reducing the value of that pain and
suffering component by your fault or difficulty
proving that the herniated disc was caused by the accident. You’re also may be
entitled to out-of-pocket medical bills and lost wages, as well. You may need surgery
from a herniated disc if it’s pressing on the spinal nerve. If you have surgery, that
also, as you can imagine, drives up the full value of the pain and suffering component of the case. Again, that is full value
before any reductions for your fault or anything else. One of the surgeries that
you may have after having, if you’re diagnosed with
a serious herniated disc is an ACDF, the A stands for anterior, C is for cervical, DF is for disc fusion. They go in through here and
they fuse your vertebrae. That, as you can imagine,
drives up the value. Just looking at the surgery room, you can see the seriousness
associated with this, the pain and suffering that you’ll have leading up the surgery and after the surgery drives up the full value. Now, herniated discs can cause sciatica, which is pain running down your leg. That also can drive up
the full value of the pain and suffering component of the case. Sciatica’s where the pain runs down the sciatic nerve down the leg. Sometimes I have people
that call me and they say, Justin, or sometimes I
see it on my own client’s MRI reports, Justin, I
have seven herniated discs, three in the lower back, four in the neck, or vice versa, the other way around. I didn’t have these before the accident. The defendant, the other
side, should be responsible. Well, unfortunately, the
reality is if the insurance company looks at seven
herniated discs or so, they’re going to say you had a diseased spine before the accident. I’ve heard some doctors
say that you can herniate one disc from an accident, maybe two, but after you get into
two herniated discs, any amount above that doctors start to get very skeptical as to whether the accident may have caused the herniated disc. Can a disc protrusion be painful? The answer is yes. As soon as you get your
CT scan, the study, or even the film itself, which
should be on a CD nowadays, or the MRI film, you wanna
send that to the adjuster immediately, particularly if it says you have a herniated disc on it. You want to them to
see it for their eye so they can see the seriousness
of the herniated disc. Sooner the better. I’ve written other articles
about herniated disc settlement values from car accidents, and then I wrote some
about slip and falls, the links are there, again, in the description below the video, I’ll have the link to this article where you can look at all that jazz. This article does really
not focus on cases if you have a herniated disc from work and your only claim is against your employer. I mean, a lot of the medical
terminology is what it is and it applies to all types of accidents, but the pain and suffering
components applies to cases where someone
else’s carelessness or negligence caused your accident
and your herniated disc. Sometimes the adjuster’s going to tell you, you know, you don’t have pain running down your arms or your legs and radiating, your herniated disc must
not be that serious. I disagree with that. You can still have a herniated disc worth a significant amount of money for the pain and suffering component even if you don’t have pain running
down your arms or your legs. This isn’t me making this up. I’ve heard it from orthopedic
doctors, that’s how I learned this and through research
and handling claims. You need to look at past
jury verdicts and settlements for herniated discs so
that you can know how much juries have been recently
awarding for the pain, primarily the pain and suffering component of a herniated disc. Every herniated disc is not
worth the same amount of money. I have people say, hey, Justin, how much is a herniated disc worth? Well, there’s so many
factors that go into it, I’m going to get to a lot
of those very shortly, but just understand, all herniated discs are not treated equal. Without a breakdown of
the different damage components of the case, just
reading on the internet, it’s going to give you a
very poor idea of how much a herniated disc case is worth. What do I mean by that? It’s possible someone had
no health insurance and they received a $45,000
settlement for a herniated disc, and $30,000 of that was for medical bills. Where someone else had Medicaid
which paid very little, and they got $45,000,
I’m just throwing that number out just as a random number, and all that money was
for pain and suffering. It’s very unique to know
how much was awarded for the pain and suffering
component of the case. Unfortunately, if you go on the internet, a lot of times you’re not
going to find that information. If you’re subscribed to
a jury verdict search, which you have to pay
for monthly, generally, that’s how you get the breakdowns. Even a lot of the verdicts
that are reported really don’t have the breakdown of the
pain and suffering component. Your attorney should know your case value, but only after you’re
done finished treating. Prior to when you’re finished treating, you don’t know if you’re
going to need more surgery, or if your injuries aren’t going to go away, the final, your final
status you don’t know. So really wait until you’re
done treating, in most cases. How much is the value, the full value, without any reductions for the
pain and suffering component? I put it at around 25
to $50,000 in Florida. There’s many factors, many
things that can affect that value, again, there’s no
guarantee you’ll get a penny, you need there to be insurance. I’m going to get into a lot
of that very shortly. But that’s full value as a
starting point in Florida, each state is different, in fact, many counties in Florida are different. Some jurors in some counties are much more likely to award money
than in smaller counties. That’s a very large range,
25 grand to $50,000. The lower end is for little treatment. The higher end is for a lot of treatment. Again, you can easily, well
not easily, but you can, pain and suffering
component can rise outside the upper end of the range
with serious, serious pain. Like I said. Look at a few past verdicts. This one is not mine, but
a customer got $370,000 verdict and was awarded that just for the pain and suffering component of the case. They were awarded damages as well, but I focus on the pain
and suffering component, which is what you wanna know, because each person’s going to
have different medical bills and lost wages,
or may have lost wages, et cetera, but you
wanna know that pain and suffering component of the case. How did she get so much money? It wasn’t just a herniated disc, it was a herniated disc and then she had a three level fusion, so three of the, three levels were fused together. That injury’s a very serious injury. She was in Home Depot in Florida and a metal rack fell on her. Another case there were
three herniated discs and someone was awarded $550,000 just for the pain and suffering component. Now, that is not my case. She slipped and fell at a condominium. She had to prove the condominium was careless and that caused her injury. The condominium, as they usually do, placed 40% fault on
her, actually it was the jury that placed 40% fault on her. What happens when the jury in Florida places 40% fault on you? Your total verdict is
reduced by 40%, your fault. She got a huge award for
future medical bills, so it’s likely she had future surgery, although I don’t know whether she had surgery or not, I’ll assume she did. Another individual’s awarded $55,000 at trial for a herniated disc. Royal Caribbean Cruise
Line was the defendant, who she said was careless. She also had a rotator cuff tear. She slipped and fell, there’s
a link to that article. If you have a cruise case, you’re generally speaking
with the big cruise lines, you need to sue out of
Miami, Florida, right? So you should get an attorney
who practices in Miami. Most herniated discs
occur in the lower back. Of those, most of those
occur at the L5 S1 region, where the bottom of the
lumbar spine meets the sacrum. Herniated discs can come
with other injuries. That’s why it makes it
tough to just browse the internet and see how
much a herniated disc case is worth because some people have a herniated disc injury and a shoulder tear. Some people have a
herniated disc injury and a injured wrist or
fractured wrist, et cetera. What factors can decrease
and lower the full value for the pain and suffering
component of a herniated disc? If you have prior pain in the same level, or at the same herniated
disc prior to the injury, you may need to reduce the full value for the pain and suffering component by the percentage chance that a jury believes a doctor who says maybe your preexisting, your herniated disc
preexisted the accident. Your age. It is easier for these
two or three individuals to prove that their
herniated disc was caused by an accident than this gentleman here. I’m going to get into the
reason why in one second. The reason why boils down
to a study that was done years ago where it
concluded that many people have herniated discs and
they don’t even know it. So 67 people had lower
back pain and sciatica, pain running down, excuse me, 67 people had no lower back
pain and had no sciatica, no pain running down their leg. They were given an MRI. 30%, about one out of
every three, had something, a substantially wrong
with their lower back, even though prior to them
getting inside the MRI machine they said, I have no pain in
my lower back and no sciatica. Insurance companies love this study, as do defense orthopedic doctors
and neurologists, as well. This study that people under 60 years old, one out of every five had a herniated disc and one had spinal stenosis. This is people that
have no lower back pain, no sciatica, and one out of
five had a herniated disc even though they did not know it. So insurance companies love
throwing this study in our face. When we get to older individuals, who a lot of our clients are, and older individuals also
make claims, out of 60 years, people were 60 years and
older who took this study, 57 of them, that means about
6 out of every 10 had issues with their lower back even
though they said before the study, I have no lower
back pain or sciatica. There was degeneration,
breaking down slowly over time, of the spine or a bulging
disc and at least one level in their lower back, in about 35, almost four out of every 10
of them had issues with a bulging disc or degeneration
in their lower back. What other factors make your
herniated disc case tougher, and what other factors make
an attorney respond to your case when you ask how much is a herniated disc worth saying, I don’t know? Little damage to the vehicles involved. This is a case we represented a gentleman. You can see zero damage to the car. It’s a much tougher sell to
tell the insurance company that you have a herniated disc that was caused by this accident if
someone looks at the car and sees no damage and the
other driver says, hey, I was going one mile an
hour, I barely hit them. Treating with a chiropractor
instead of an orthopedic, you generally, if possible, wanna treat with an orthopedic doctor. They hold more weight with the insurance company and the jury. If you’ve been a construction
worker and manual laborer it can make it more difficult to prove the herniated disc was caused by the accident, although we’ve represented
many construction workers and laborers and we’ve done well for them. The defense doctor, even
though your own doctor, hopefully, if true, says
your herniated disc, you have a herniated disc, even if your own doctor says
you have a herniated disc, the defense guy who’s State Farm, whoever, can hire a third doctor
who looks at it and says, you know what, it’s not a herniated disc, I feel it’s a bulging disc. That can decrease the
full value of the case, because after all, who is
the jury going to believe? If the at-fault party
has a $10,000 policy, bodily injury liability,
which would pay for your injuries, your pain and
suffering, et cetera, will they normally pay
you the $10,000 limits? The answer is, maybe. The more documentation
you give them the higher chance that happens, but
there’s no guarantee. Some insurance companies
are known for fighting a lot harder and the case may require a lawsuit. Okay. Factors that increase the
chance of proving that, increasing the value of your claim. If you have a lot of damage
to the car that you’re in. If you’re a pedestrian
where the car hit you, then you don’t have to deal
with the property damage issue. If the at-fault driver was drunk. If you’re young it’s
easier to prove that the herniated disc was caused by the accident. If you have a large
herniated disc you wanna look at the millimeter size,
six millimeters is large, one to two millimeters is small. If you’re in an accident
in Florida that doesn’t require you to prove your
injury’s permanent in order to get money for pain and suffering. Most car accidents in Florida you need to prove your injury’s permanent in order to get money for pain and suffering. Some other accidents, such
as if you’re on a motorcycle, and many others, you don’t. You need to know the type
of accident you’re in and whether you need to prove that. If you’ve had injections to
your back or spine, that helps. If you have surgery, I
already went over that, that drives up the value. If you’re in a rear-end
accident, all things equal, it’s easier to link up a herniated disc in your neck as opposed to the lower back. Some biomechanical engineers will say, you cannot herniate a
disc in your lower back from a rear-end accident,
but they will agree that you could herniate a disc in your neck, it’s just due to the
torque and the movement. Your neck is more likely to torque in the accident than your back. There’s many, many more factors, I’m just skimming the surface. I’m just going to an
example of calculating a herniated disc and showing
how you apportion fault, we already went over that. I hope you got a lot out of this video. I hope that you subscribe to my channel and call me at 888-594-3577. That’s 888-JZHELPS. If you’re hurt in Florida
or on a cruise or boat and someone’s carelessness
caused your herniated disc or any type of injury, I
would love to speak with you, I’d love to be your attorney
and fight to get you as much compensation as possible. My office is in Miami, I serve
the entire state of Florida. Thanks for listening.