While you may be aware of the immediate injuries that a car accident can cause, such as broken bones or a concussion, you may not think about the long-term ramifications of being involved in a collision. The trauma inflicted on the body in a motor vehicle collision can lead to chronic pain and many long-lasting conditions. It can also exacerbate existing conditions, including degenerative disk disease. Although a car accident cannot cause degenerative disk disease, it can make this condition worse.
Despite its name, degenerative disk disease is not actually a disease, but a condition that occurs naturally with age. The spinal cord disks are the round, soft disks that sit between individual vertebrae in the spinal cord. They are soft on the inside and harder on the outside, similar to a jelly donut.
Over the years, wear and tear on a spinal disk can lead to degenerative disk disease – a condition that can cause chronic pain, shooting pains in the arms or legs, numbness, and weakness. Most patients with degenerative disk disease experience moderate chronic pain with episodes of more severe acute pain. Disk degeneration can progress over time, but the symptoms typically do not get worse unless something exacerbates the disease, such as a car accident.
A car accident exerts significant forces on the occupants of a motor vehicle. These forces can injure any part of the body, causing serious injuries. Injuries to the back and spine are common. The forces of the collision can cause the spinal cord to jerk violently back and forth, potentially injuring the spinal disks. The forces of the crash can herniate the disks, or pull them out of their proper alignment, or cause disks to rupture.
If the victim of a car accident already had degenerative disk disease, the forces of the collision can be especially painful and physically debilitating. The spinal disks may already be weakened, degraded or misaligned due to disk degeneration. The forces of the crash can then cause further damage, making pain, herniation, numbness and other symptoms of a back injury even worse for the victim.
If you believe that your recent car accident exacerbated a degenerative disk or caused other back injuries, you will need to prove your case based on a preponderance of the evidence. This is clear and compelling evidence that convinces an insurance company, judge or jury that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for the injuries you are claiming. It can be difficult to prove injuries and pain related to degenerative disk disease, however, as an insurance company may argue that it was a pre-existing condition.
Although you cannot recover financial compensation from another driver for a pre-existing injury in Texas, you can recover a financial award for the amount by which the car accident exacerbated an injury or condition that you already had. If the collision made your degenerative disk disease worse or more painful, you may be eligible for financial compensation for the difference between how you felt before the crash and how you feel now. It will be up to you or your car accident attorney in Dallas, however, to prove that the collision worsened the symptoms of degenerative disk disease.
Proving your spinal cord injury claim will require evidence such as spinal x-rays, medical records, expert testimony and a letter from your physician. You will need evidence that clearly shows that the car accident had a negative impact on your spinal disks. If you were previously diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, you may need additional medical records proving that the car accident exacerbated the condition. A car accident attorney can help you gather evidence, prove your injury and fight for maximum financial compensation from an insurance company.