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Signs of a Herniated Disc After a Car Accident

Steven Matz
May 14, 2024 | Fractures, Sprains & Soft Tissue Injuries

Key Takeaways

  • Herniated disc injuries are a type of back injury that can lead to pain, suffering, and a decrease in quality of life.
  • Common symptoms of herniated discs may include pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.
  • Pain associated with herniated discs can take weeks to months to heal.
  • Victims of herniated disc injuries often have high medical bills, and insurance companies often try to decrease the value of an accident claim or avoid paying at all.
  • Working with an experienced and knowledgeable Michigan personal injury attorney strengthens your ability to settle or litigate an accident claim associated with a herniated disc so injured parties can get the financial assistance they need.

Suffering from a herniated disc injury following a car accident is an agonizing ordeal. The pain, both physical and emotional, can be overwhelming. The uncertainty of the future, coupled with mounting medical bills and lost wages, adds to the distress. Worse still, navigating the legal complexities alone can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

How a Herniated Disc Injury Can Have Lasting Effects

Even with the recognition that legal assistance is necessary, the journey becomes infinitely more daunting when you choose the wrong representation. One Reddit user painfully discovered this mistake.

My girlfriend was in a car accident 4 years ago where she was deemed not at fault. The accident herniated a disc in her back […] She had two epidural shots, months of physical therapy, and still suffers with back pain and anxiety to this day.

A family member referred my girlfriend to a lawyer where she has been receiving less than adequate service. They have been awful at explain the overall process of the case and responding to our questions. Nonetheless, they are near the closing of the case and the insurance company of the other driver is offering 30k. After covering my girlfriend’s medical bills and after the lawyers cut, my girlfriend would be left with a [measly] 6k.

The consequences of inadequate legal support can exacerbate an already dire situation, leaving accident victims feeling exploited and abandoned amidst their suffering.

At Matz Injury Law, we recognize the critical role of having the right advocate during challenging times. Our devoted team pledges to accompany you every step of the way during your injury case, ensuring you obtain the justice and compensation you are entitled to.

Contact the Matz Injury car accident lawyers at 1-866-22Not33 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your injury claim.

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What Exactly Is A Herniated Disc?

Some doctors might refer to a herniated disc as a slipped or ruptured disc. According to the Cleveland Clinic, every year, up to two percent of people suffer from herniated discs.

A herniated disc injury occurs in the spine. Between the vertebrae (bones) in your back are discs, which are round, rubbery “cushions” that keep your bones from touching/rubbing together. If a disc leaks or tears, the disc becomes herniated.

Common Symptoms of a Herniated Disc After a Car Accident

Most people suffering from a herniated disc experience symptoms in the lower back when a rupture occurs, sometimes with severe pain. They may also feel symptoms in their neck. These symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Arm, leg, buttocks, thigh, or calf pain (lower back disc)
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder and arm pain (neck disc)
  • Pain near or between shoulder blades (neck disc)
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Other areas of pain or numbness

Bulging Disc vs. Herniated Disc: What’s The Difference?

While these two medical terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences between these types of spinal disc injuries.

Bulging Disc

  • Might only affect part of the disc or multiple discs
  • Affects the outer layer of a disc’s tough cartilage
  • Symptoms set in gradually
  • Injury can lead to other disc-degeneration issues

Herniated Disc

  • Occurs when a crack in the tough cartilage allows soft inner cartilage to stick out
  • Affects a small area of the disc where the crack occurs
  • Likely to cause more pain than a bulging disc
  • Nerve roots may be irritated
  • Often caused by acute injury

How Do I Know My Herniated Disc is Healing?

nurse showing patent a model of a spin


It can be scary sustaining a herniated disc, and you might worry if your neck or lumbar disc injury is a permanent injury. By getting proper medical care and avoiding additional injury, you’ll likely see signs of healing.

Will a Herniated Disc From a Car Accident Heal On Its Own?

In most cases, pain from herniated discs will subside within two to 8 weeks. However, sometimes, your herniated disc might take up to six months to fully heal. Doctors usually recommend OTC pain relievers and limiting activities causing discomfort or pain.

If limiting yourself and taking pain relievers do not help, you may need to start physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, or steroid injections to treat your chronic pain. Surgery, such as a discectomy or spinal fusion surgery, is typically reserved for the most severe cases where other lesser-invasive medical treatments do not help.

Tips For a Quick Recovery

Recovering from disc herniation can be a difficult path. You can’t rush recovery, but what you can do is take good care of yourself, follow doctor’s orders, and try various approaches.

  • Practice good diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Maintain good posture
  • Engage in low-impact activities
  • Use heat and cold therapy
  • Follow physician suggestions for pain management

Being proactive with a herniated disc injury will help you potentially reduce pain and suffering as you heal and get on the road to recovery.

Average Compensation & Settlement For A Herniated Disc From a Car Accident

EMTs placing a car accident patient on a stretcher

Suffering a motor vehicle accident is frightening enough, especially when you do not know the extent of your spinal injuries or what your mounting medical expenses might fully cost.

How Much Compensation Can I Expect For My Herniated Disc Injury?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict how much compensation, or even an average settlement, you will get for a herniated disc injury. An insurance adjuster or jury verdict will take several factors into account before an injury settlement can be reached.

Factors That Influence a Herniated Disc Accident Settlement

The following factors typically influence settlements of herniated disc injury cases.

  • Duration and severity of your injuries
  • Number of discs injured
  • Whether you require surgery
  • Any major complications with the neck or lumbar spine
  • Insurance coverage of the at-fault motorist
  • Total amount of medical expenses
  • Total loss of income and future wages
  • How your injuries impact your ability to live life as you did pre-accident
  • Experience and reputation of your personal injury lawyer
  • Degree of negligence on the part of the at-fault driver

Essentially, your payout will depend upon your specific situation. Working with a skilled car accident attorney is essential. Your lawyer will gather evidence, analyze your medical records, ascertain the extent of your injuries, estimate future medical expenses, and determine the value of your accident injury case.

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Herniated Disc Settlements?

It is vital to know upfront that insurance companies are not your friends; their primary interest is not in getting you the money to afford the help you need. Their goal is to pay as little as possible.

Factors the insurance adjuster will consider when examining your herniated disc case include:

  • Severity of injury
  • Available insurance coverage and policy limits
  • Medical care and related expenses
  • Missed work/lost income
  • Blaming pre-existing conditions as a way to avoid payouts

Michigan is a no-fault insurance state. This means you will go through your insurance first. You should speak with an experienced car accident attorney because they know how to negotiate with insurance companies and seek other ways to obtain compensation if insurance doesn’t meet your needs.

We’ll deal with the insurance companies for you. Start your case today.

More Resources for Car Accident Settlements

  • Personal injury practice areas: Personal injuries encompass many different types of accidents, including but not limited to car crashes, truck accidents, slips and falls, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, and dog bites.
  • Michigan drunk driving accidents: Drunk driving can destroy lives, causing permanent injury or death. Victims of drunk driving accidents can pursue compensation not just from the at-fault driver but from establishments liable under Michigan’s Dram Shop Act.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries: Back and spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe types of injuries a person can suffer from.

Matz Injury Law Fights for The People of Michigan Michigan

For decades, Matz Injury Law has been on Michigan’s side regarding personal injury, auto accidents, and more. With our extensive experience and steadfast support, you can trust us to navigate your case with thoroughness and empathy. The personal injury attorneys at Matz Injury Law are committed to standing by your side and helping you receive justice. If you or a family member is suffering a herniated disc or another type of personal injury, contact us to discuss your accident case.

Plus, we only charge a 22% contingency fee of the final settlement value. Other Michigan attorneys charge 33 1/3% of your total settlement amount. Our compassionate attorneys understand the trauma and suffering accident victims go through. Allow us to be your dependable partner in pursuing the justice you rightly deserve.


“For anyone looking for an attorney, please look no further than Matz Injury Law!! Not only was Jared professional, he helped me beyond what I could have asked for. I’m so thankful for you all!!! To say I’m appreciative and grateful is an understatement. There’s no need to look for any other attorneys for your auto accidents!! They are so wonderful!!! Highly recommended 10/10!!!!!” — Tessa C.

Whenever I needed to talk to Steve he was always there and still always will be, I know I can always trust him, and if I need anything he will help me out. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer to share this journey with, if I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t change my lawyer and if I ever need a lawyer again he will always be my first choice.” — Kristina K.

The Right Advocate Makes All the Difference

Herniated disc injuries can significantly disrupt your life, especially if the injury is not healing as it should or if you have other secondary injuries compounding your pain and suffering. Dealing with financial hardships along with pain can put stress on you and your loved ones. Having the right advocate can make all the difference in times of adversity.

Our attorneys have logged thousands of miles traveling throughout Michigan to support injury victims. To schedule your free case evaluation, call Matz Injury Law at 1-866-22Not33 or fill out our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Disability is A Herniated Disc?

The VA’s standard gives a good general idea of how herniated disc disability is rated based on incapacitating episodes.

  • 10% disability: Occurring at least once a week but less than two weeks over one year
  • 20% disability: Occurring at least two weeks but less than four
  • 40% disability: Occurring for four weeks but less than six
  • 60% disability: Occurring for six weeks or more
Is A Herniated Disc Considered A Permanent Injury?

People can recover from herniated discs, but the disc will never return to its normal state once injured. The pain may subside, but since the disc is never perfectly healthy, herniated discs are a permanent type of injury.

Is A Herniated Disc A Serious Injury In A Car Accident?

Herniated discs can result in disability or chronic pain, especially if not properly treated by a medical professional. More serious symptoms can emerge if other spinal cord damage is present with the injured discs.

steven matz headshot

Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.