“Rear-end” Auto Collision Involved Possible Herniated Disc Injuries

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 (Marta Hermosi v. Megan Azzaro) is another example in which a motorist involved in a car that was rear-ended by another 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.

An excerpt:

Dr. Michael Amoroso, a radiologist, testified as an expert on plaintiff’s behalf. Interpreting plaintiff’s MRIs, Dr. Amoroso testified that plaintiff had a central superior disc herniation in the cervical spine at C2/C3 and disc bulges at C3/C4, C4/C5 and C6/C7. He testified that herniation is caused by “[s]ome traumatic force.” He further indicated that a herniation is a permanent condition “[e]xcept for rare instances.” He noted that plaintiff’s lumbar spine MRI showed disc desiccation and acknowledged that the desiccation could have resulted from degenerative changes rather than trauma. He also acknowledged that plaintiff’s MRI showed no nerve root or spinal cord impingement.

Dr. Wayne Poller, a chiropractor, testified as an expert on plaintiff’s behalf. He noted that plaintiff began treating with him approximately one week after the accident. She complained of pain, stiffness in her back, neck and shoulders and discomfort elsewhere in her body. She exhibited pain on palpation at C4/5, C5/6 and L5. Dr. Poller took X-rays, which showed “hypomobile subluxation at C5/6/7, some disc narrowing at C5/6/7, and . . . subluxations at C7/6, C5/4, and malpositions at C6/7 and C4/3.” In his reading of plaintiff’s MRIs, Dr. Poller found a bulging disc at L5/S1.

Dr. Roger A. Berg, defendant’s radiological expert, found no herniations or subluxations in plaintiff’s cervical MRI and that “all the vertebral bodies were in a normal alignment.” He found no indication of nerve root impingement and testified within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the changes in plaintiff’s cervical spine shown in the MRI were chronic and degenerative rather than caused by the accident. Indeed, Dr. Berg stated that it would be unusual for a person of plaintiff’s age, forty-four, to have no degenerative changes. According to Dr. Berg, plaintiff’s MRI of the lumbar spine showed no disc bulge at L5/S1 and that the L5/S1 disc was “absolutely normal.”

More information concerning the case can be seen in the above case link.

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