As personal injury attorneys, we often see clients with herniated discs. The most common cervical disc injury we see are C4-C5 and C5-C6 injuries. Clients with C4-C5 injuries often complain of weakness or pain in the shoulder or deltoids. C5-C6 injuries often cause numbness and tingling radiating down to or near the thumb.
Accident lawyers see less C6-C7 and C7-T-1 injuries, although they do often occur as the result of trauma from an auto accident.
But how do we tell if the herniated disc is from the accident or pre-existing? Often, the client had no pre-existing pain and had never been to the doctor until on or after the accident date. But that doesn’t mean the disc was not already injured. Fortunately, by careful observation of the MRI, we can often tell the age of the herniation. If an MRI shows a herniated disc and the accident is recent, then the presence of the disc should be light or white in color, meaning there is still water in the disc. If the disc injury occurred a year or more before the auto accident and has a dark or black appearance on MRI, then the disc injury pre-dated the auto accident.
What makes it hard is trying to determine if the disc injury is accident related when the MRI was not taken until a year or so after the accident. Even if the disc is dark, it could be due to water leaking out of the disc over time since the date of the accident. In that case, you can’t be certain if the herniated disc is accident related or if it was due to prior injury or related to the degenerative process.
If you have suffered a lumbar or cervical herniated disc as the result of a car or truck accident, you need a lawyer that understands the medicine and mechanism of injury in herniated disc cases.
Laurie D Mitchell is a registered nurse and an accident attorney. Give us a call now. 352-371-9828.