How much is the average disc injury case worth? What kind of payout can you expect?
I can’t answer the second question. Each case is different. But the average disc injury verdict is $340,328, which includes the 7% of disc injury cases where the award exceeded $1 million.
These awards vary wildly. The biggest variable? Many disc injury cases are complicated by either a preexisting injury or because of degenerative disc disease. (Defense lawyers blame spondylosis for just about everything, even if the plaintiff had never had so much as a backache prior to the accident.)
As I explain more fully here, this gets factored into the calculation of cash value. But each case has to be evaluated on its own merits. We have earned literally millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements in herniated disc injury cases where the client had some preexisting injury, either with radiological findings that suggest a previous injury or actual symptoms that the patient had before the crash.
Too often, plaintiffs’ lawyers allow defense lawyers to frame the issue this way. Oh, the injury was already there. That is not what matters. What matters is the patient’s level of pain and suffering now and what would it have been if this collision had never occurred. How you explain these cases to a jury really matters.
The one thing unclear is how the study determined whether the disc injury was a preexisting injury. The victim’s treating doctor and the insurance company’s doctor frequently disagree on this point, particularly when the patient is over 40 years old. There are some defense doctors who remain convinced that every injury you get after high school has to be an exacerbation of a preexisting injury.
Value of Bulging/Protruding Disc Settlements Is Lower
The difference in the values between bulging/protruding disc versus a herniated or ruptured disc was rather pronounced. For bulging/protruding discs, the average jury award was $140,311 ($31,000 median). The average jury award for herniated or ruptured discs was $413,917 ($60,000 median).
Degenerative Disc Disease Settlement Values Are Also Lower
For degenerative disc disease injury, the average jury award is $51,678 ($11,482 median). For aggravation of preexisting disc injuries, the average award is $152,932 ($29,379 median). Obviously, you can drive a Mack truck through the differences in the value of disc cases on this single issue.
Maryland Disc Injury Verdicts and Settlements
Below are some settlements and verdicts in disc injury cases that give you some idea of how these cases play out at trial and what type of payouts others have received.
A 60-something man drove along Crain Highway in Waldorf. He collided with a driver that attempted to enter a strip mall parking lot. The man suffered lumbar and thoracic sprains. He underwent over two years of chiropractic therapy. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused his injuries. He claimed he failed to maintain a proper lookout. A Charles County jury awarded the man $300,000.
A 45-year-old man was rear-ended at a Fort Washington intersection. He suffered cervical and thoracic sprains. The man underwent physical therapy. He experienced permanent upper back and neck sprains. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he recklessly operated his vehicle and failed to timely brake. A Prince George’s County jury awarded $253,000.
A woman was T-boned. She suffered a C5-6 bulge, C6-7 degeneration, a concussion, spinal strains, bilateral sacroiliitis, blunt abdominal trauma, and chest pain. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed she failed to yield the right-of-way and ran a stop sign. The Baltimore City jury awarded $57,458.
A man was sideswiped. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial burns and abrasions, an L5-S1 bulge, lumbar radiculopathy, a C3-4 herniation, a torn rotator cuff, head laceration, left eye irritation, and left foot paresthesia. The man developed post-traumatic headaches, post-concussion syndrome, cognitive issues, chronic dizziness, subacromial impingement syndrome, left bicipital tendinitis, and post-traumatic stress disorder. He alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. The man claimed he negligently changed lanes and yield the right-of-way. A Prince George’s County jury awarded $562,797.
A 25-year-old woman and her two-year-old son were sideswiped. The impact pushed their vehicle off-road and caused it to overturn. The woman suffered cervical and lumbar sprains and strains. She underwent physical therapy for twelve weeks. The woman’s injuries resolved. Her son suffered facial lacerations. He received sutures. The boy underwent no additional treatments. The woman alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. She claimed he negligently changed lanes and failed to maintain an appropriate lookout. This case settled for $25,4000.
A man was rear-ended at an intersection. He suffered a cervical disc herniation that was treated with surgery. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to slow down caused his injuries. He also made a claim against his insurer, Garrison, for refusing to pay his benefits. Both the at-fault driver and Garrison disputed the man’s allegations. An Anne Arundel County jury awarded a $236,254 verdict.
A woman was rear-ended by an impaired driver. She suffered C4-5 and L5-S1 annular tears and a partial thickness left rotator cuff tear. The woman also experienced tears to her degenerated glenoid labrum. She underwent rehabilitative and pain management therapies. The woman alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed he negligently drove while intoxicated and failed to timely brake. The woman also made a UIM claim against her insurer, Allstate, for refusing to pay her benefits. The defense admitted liability but contested the claimed injuries. A Baltimore County jury awarded an $89,762 verdict.
A man was rear-ended in a chain-reaction collision. He suffered L3-L5 protrusions. The man also suffered head and neck injuries. He alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries. The man claimed he failed to slow down and properly control his vehicle. A Baltimore County jury awarded him a $103,838 verdict.
A woman was a passenger in a rear-end collision. She suffered an L5-S1 herniation, a lumbar strain, and traumatic left hip and knee injuries. The woman underwent physical therapy. She alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to timely brake his vehicle caused her injuries. The defense disputed the injury claims. They argued that the woman received excessive treatment for non-permanent injuries. A Baltimore County jury awarded $306,338.
A man was rear-ended at a red light by an underinsured driver. He suffered a T7-8 disc bulge and undisclosed head, body, and limb injuries. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s failure to timely brake caused the collision and his injuries. He also made a breach of contract claim against his insurer, Allstate, for failing to pay his benefits. The Baltimore City jury awarded the man $101,416.
Getting a Lawyer for Your Case
If you live in Maryland and would like my help in navigating your disc injury case towards the best outcome, call me and let’s see if I can help you. You can reach me at 800-553-8082 or you can get an online consultation here. If I am not available, you can ask for any trial lawyer here. Between all of us, we have handled over 1,000 cases involving a herniated disc claim. We know these cases frontwards and backward. Continue reading