|We have fought and won at settlement or trial scores of serious herniated disc cases. We know the science and we know how to present these cases to the insurance companies and, if necessary, to juries. Call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.|
Jury Verdict Research provides some incredibly interesting data this month on a topic of great interest to accident lawyers: disc injuries. Eighty percent of disc injuries that go to trial are from injuries suffered in motor vehicle accident cases. The median verdict in a disc injury case is $50,000. The average disc injury verdict is $340,328, which includes the 7% of disc injury cases where the award exceeded $1 million.
Many disc injury cases are complicated by either a preexisting injury or because of degenerative disc disease. (Defense lawyers blame spondylosis for just about everything, even if the plaintiff had never had so much as a back ache prior to the accident.) For degenerative disc disease injury, the average jury award is $51,678 ($11,482 median). For aggravation of preexisting disc injuries, the average award is $152,932 ($29,379 median). Obviously, you can drive a Mack truck through the differences in the value of disc cases on this single issue. As I explain more fully here, this gets factored into the calculation of case value.
But each case has to be evaluated on its own merits. We have earned literally millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in herniated disc injury cases where the client had some preexisting injury, either with radiological findings that suggest a previous injury or actual symptoms that the patient had before the crash.
Too often, plaintiffs’ lawyers allow defense lawyers to frame the issue this way. Oh, the injury was already there. That is not what matters. What matters is what is the patients level of pain and suffering now and what would it have been if this collision had never occurred. How you explain these cases to a jury really matters.
The one thing unclear is how the study determined between whether the disc injury was a preexisting injury. The victim’s treating doctor and insurance company’s doctor frequently disagree on this point, particularly when the patient is over 40 years-old. There are some defense doctors who remain convinced that every injury you get after high school has to be an exacerbation of a preexisting injury.
The difference in the values between bulging/protruding disc versus a herniated or ruptured disc was rather pronounced. For bulging/protruding discs, the average jury award was $140,311 ($31,000 median). The average jury award for herniated or ruptured discs was $413,917 ($60,000 median).
Getting a Lawyer for Your Case
If you live in Maryland and would like my help in navigating your disc injury case towards the best possible outcome, give me a call and let’s see if I can help you. You can reach me at 800-553-8082 or you can get an on-line consultation here. If I am not available, you can ask for any trial lawyer here. Between all of us, we have handled over a 1,000 cases involving a herniated disc claim. We know these cases frontwards and backwards.
Obviously, you cannot extrapolate from this data the settlement or trial value of an individual accident case. But seeing relative data for different types of disc injury cases does provide at least a small piece of the complex puzzle of valuing disc injury cases claims.