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How Much of a Settlement to Expect for a Herniated Disc?
What to Know

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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A disc herniation can be extremely painful and affect your life in several ways.

If you’ve been in a car accident and suffered a herniated disc, you’re probably wondering how high settlement you can get. Schmidt & Clark lawyers have successfully prosecuted cases for clients wanting a herniated disc settlement.

Today we’ll explain the symptoms of herniated discs and all the factors that affect the settlement.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Herniated disc and bulging disc injuries are common car accident consequences.
  • It’s difficult to determine the average herniated disc settlement value as each case is different.
  • Several factors influence the settlement for herniated disc injuries.
  • Herniated disc cases can last from several months to years, depending on the parties’ cooperation.

Symptoms of Herniated Disc

X-ray concept of man having back injury

Our spines are made of bones and rubbery cushions (discs) between them.  Each disc has a center resembling jelly, and it’s surrounded by an annulus [1]. A herniated disc happens when the center goes through a crack or a tear in the annulus.

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This can happen because of age, lifting a heavy object, or trauma such as a car accident.

“It’s usually not herniation itself that’s problematic or that sends someone in to see a doctor. The problem is mainly when some part of the disc compresses nerves. That’s when there’s pain and loss of mobility, and those are both major issues that need to be addressed.” Neel Anand, MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles

If you have a pre-existing herniated disc or other spine condition, an accident may worsen it. You may experience new or aggravated symptoms and need medical treatment. 

Woman in pain touching her lowing back The most common disc herniation symptoms include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Numbness throughout the body
  • Difficulty bending and straightening
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neck pain
  • Nerve pain

Rest and physical therapy can help you recover in time. Not all herniated disc symptoms are painful or obvious straight away, so you should visit a doctor after an accident

Average Herniated Disk Settlement

Medical bills on a laptopAn average car accident settlement for a herniated disc injury is around $350,000, with a median range of $75,000 [2].

However, this depends on your medical bills, recovery time, and how severe your injuries are.

For example, whether you experience slight discomfort when you bend to lift something heavy, or you are in severe pain because of a debilitating injury.

Who covers the settlement depends on where you were injured. If you’re injured in a car accident, the at-fault driver is held legally responsible for the injuries.

If you’re injured on the job, the employer’s insurance has to cover herniated disc settlements. The settlement also depends on the treatment you receive. Average settlements for herniated disc injuries treated with epidural steroid injections are less than $100,000 because this is seen as a non-surgical treatment.

On the other hand, surgical treatments for herniated discs go from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $1 million. Because herniated disc injuries are usually settled out of court, there isn’t much data on average car accident settlements for this injury.

This is why you need a car accident lawyer, so they can assess all the damages and give you an estimate of how much your claim is worth.

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Factors That Affect Herniated Disc Settlement

Each herniated disc injury is unique, and it’s difficult to predict what settlement you can expect.

However, several factors impact the amount of settlement you can get:

  • Woman in pain being helped by medics Who’s at fault — You should prove the other driver was at fault. Take photos of the car accident scene and witness statements. If you were partially at fault, you’ll probably get lower damages.
  • The severity of herniated discs — How serious are your injuries, and how much treatment you’ll need. Do you need surgery? How well do you respond to treatment? Is the disc herniation expected to worsen over time?
  • Medical bills — Include ambulance costs, medication, visits to the chiropractor, and more. Will you need long-term therapy? You should include all the costs in your demand. 
  • Ability to work — If you can’t go to work or do a lot of physical activity, you can recover lost wages or damages for having to retire early or switch careers if you’re unable to do physical work.
  • Insurance coverage — The at-fault driver’s insurance policy will impact the damages you can get. If the driver is underinsured or not insured, you may get a lower settlement. Check the policy terms of both your and the other driver’s insurance. Some insurances will give you uninsured motorist coverage if the other driver is at fault.
  • Punitive damages — If the at-fault driver’s conduct was outrageous, you can get punitive damages.
  • Pain and suffering you experience because of herniated discs.
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of quality of life

How to Determine the Value of a Herniated Disc Case

An ongoing surgery inside a hospital roomTo determine the value of a herniated disc case, you need help from car accident lawyers. They will consider:

  • Cost of surgeries — Disc herniation injuries can require surgeries that can cost upwards of $35,000 if you’re uninsured, such as anterior cervical discectomy and lumbar fusion surgery.
  • Non-surgical healing methods for fixing the lumbar spine area — People suffering from cervical spine damage, shoulder injury and pain, and disc herniation, need months to recover and require long absences from work.
  • If you have permanent scarring from fixing the affected disc.
  • How soon after the surgery will you be able to move normally.

Herniated disc requires medical treatment, and it can cost a lot of money.  Medical bills lost wages, and reduction of life quality due to chronic pain in the spinal cord should all be taken into consideration. 

Also, non-economic damages should be part of herniated disc claims. Your best bet in calculating all of these is to hire a law firm experienced in dealing with the insurance company and herniated discs.

How Long Does a Herniated Disc Settlement Take?

Close up image of a clockHow long the settlement will take depends on the details of the case, the severity of injuries sustained, and how cooperative the other party is.

Some car accident cases are solved in several months, while others take years. If you suffered a severe injury in an automobile crash, your case will likely take more time.

You’ll have to go through extensive treatments and recover your spinal column. The higher the medical expenses, the more money is at stake, and the longer the case usually lasts. 


Also, unless it’s clear who’s at fault, for example, if you’ve been rear-ended, the other party can try to disprove your claim.  The ease of communication also affects how long the claim will take.

Usually, parties aren’t cooperative, so expect some delays to happen. If the parties stop cooperating completely, you’ll have to go to trial, which lasts longer than a settlement.

Related Article: Average Cost of Hospital Bills for Car Accidents


Can a Herniated Disc Be Caused by a Car Accident?

Yes, a herniated disc can be caused by a car accident. In fact, next to bulging discs and spinal stenosis, it’s one of the most common spinal car crash injuries. 

How Much Should I Settle For a Back Injury?

How much you should settle for a back injury depends on several factors, such as the severity of the injuries, expected financial recovery, insurance policy limits, and more.

Win Your Herniated Disc Case With the Lawyer’s Help

Herniated disc injury can leave lifelong consequences. While it’s difficult to calculate the amount of damages you should ask for, several factors can help. A personal injury lawyer at Schmidt & Clark, LLP will take into account pain and suffering, all financial expenses you’ve had, and other damages you should include in your claim.

S&C attorneys are ready to help individuals in need of legal advice.  We value each attorney-client relationship and have almost three decades of experience in handling personal injury & accident lawsuits.

Contact us as soon as today to discuss the details of your case.




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