Herniated disc injuries (also called Bulging disk, Compressed disk, Herniated intervertebral disk, Herniated nucleus pulposus, Prolapsed disk, Ruptured disk, and Slipped disk) can occur during an automobile or vehicle accident. These herniated disc injuries occur because great – and often unnatural – stress can be put on the spinal column during these vehicle accidents.
A court case involving an automobile accident (Michael Yankanich v. Allstate Insurance Company) is an example in which a motorist involved in an automobile accident sustained possible herniated disc injuries.
As seen in the case, a critical question is whether the herniated disc injuries were caused by the vehicle accident, or if the herniated disc injuries existed before the accident.
Immediately after the accident, plaintiff began to experience soreness and a burning sensation in his neck accompanied by numbness and tingling in his hands and arms. Plaintiff was treated for a year by an orthopedic surgeon, Barry Gleimer, D.O., who then referred him to Joan O’Shea, M.D., a neurosurgeon. O’Shea testified that she limits her practice to the care and treatment of spinal problems and operates on disc herniations, fractures of the spine and tumors. She explained that as a neurosurgeon, she is trained to read MRI films and other diagnostic tests, adding that her decision about whether to operate on a patient is based in substantial part upon her assessment of the MRI films. O’Shea testified that her examination of plaintiff and her review of the MRI films led her to conclude that plaintiff had sustained herniated discs at C3-4, C5-6 and C6-7. She also found some degenerative changes in plaintiff’s neck.
O’Shea also reviewed the MRI films of plaintiff’s lower back and concluded that his low back and leg pain were attributable to a disc herniation at L1-2. She opined that the three herniated discs in plaintiff’s neck and the herniated disc in his lower back all resulted from the accident in question. She testified that an MRI is an objective test that a patient cannot fake. When asked whether the disc herniations were a permanent injury, O’Shea answered yes, commenting “[t]hey’re not gonna go away.”
More information concerning the case can be seen at the link provided above.