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Missouri Sunset

Can a Car Accident Cause Degenerative Disc Disease?

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Posted on April 30, 2024

Back and neck injuries are common in compensation claims after a car accident due to the tremendous crash force in an accident. In a collision, a 100-pound person becomes a 3,000-pound force at only 30 miles per hour. But what if your terrible back or neck pain after an accident sends you to a medical provider who performs imaging tests and diagnoses you with degenerative disc disease? Many car accident victims ask, “Did my car accident cause my degenerative disc disease?”

degenerative disc disease and car accident claims

Understanding Degenerative Disc Disease and Car Accident Claims

The human spinal column consists of supportive circles of bones called vertebrae that protect the spinal cord in its center while providing stability for an upright posture. Between each vertebra is a cushioning later consisting of a gel-like center and tougher outer surface. These cushioning discs allow for smooth motion by preventing the layered bones from rubbing against each other. Unfortunately normal wear and tear as we age causes the cushioning discs to degrade. The disc’s outer layer may crack or rupture and allow the inner gel cushion to bulge outward putting pressure on nerves. Almost everyone suffers from some degree of disc degeneration as they age, but the problem may occur in non-elderly people due to their work, lifestyle, or genetics.

In response to the question, “Does a car accident cause degenerative disc disease?” the answer is no. However, a car accident can aggravate the existing condition so what might previously have been an unnoticeable disc degeneration now causes debilitating pain and stiffness. Even if you were already aware of your condition and suffered occasional pain or stiffness, the physical trauma of a car accident can increase the symptoms from mild to severe and disabling.

How Can I Recover Compensation If the Insurance Company Says Degenerative Disc Disease Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

Insurance companies exist to make profits—often at the victim’s expense. Insurance adjusters routinely deny compensation claims on the basis that an accident victim has been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease either before or after their car accident. Fortunately, car accident victims have legal recourse to dispute these common insurance company findings. Medical experts agree that the severe trauma to the back caused by the sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement during an accident can greatly exacerbate degenerative disc disease. For example, the injury victim may have had degenerating or thinning discs but the trauma of the car accident caused one or more of the discs to burst, or herniate, resulting in severe pain.

Proving back injury as a result of a car accident requires demonstrating that the car accident caused a significantly worsened condition. In many cases, the victim had little or no pain before the accident and now they are unable to move without pain.

Recovering Compensation for Back Injury With Pre-Existing Degenerative Disc Disease

Courts recognize that many drivers on the road are not in perfect physical condition. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have compensation available to them if a car accident caused by someone else worsens their condition. If you have pain and disability after a car accident when you didn’t before the accident, the at-fault driver is liable for your damages like medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering. Often, it takes medical experts and an injury victim’s medical records from before and after the car accident to prove an at-fault driver’s liability for damages after a car accident causes back pain in an individual with degenerative disc disease.

If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, contact a St. Louis personal injury attorney today. We offer free consultations. Call or contact us online.