A frightening car crash can subject the body to incredible, painful force. In some of the worst accidents, victims can suffer an injury as serious as spine damage. These traumatic injuries can affect victims’ ability to control their limbs and other bodily functions.
Even when victims are spared permanent disability, the lingering effects of a spinal cord injury may provide almost unbearable pain for months or years after an accident. Under such difficult circumstances, a specialized and expensive procedure may be the only option for relief.
The costs of spinal fusion surgery should be covered by the negligent party responsible for your injury, but it’s of vital importance to make sure victims receive enough compensation to cover every potential complication. So, how much money can you get from a spinal fusion surgery lawsuit settlement?
Spinal Fusion Surgery Explained
Spinal fusion is the procedure a surgeon uses to connect or fuse two or more vertebrae together. This surgery involves placing bone or bone-like material between the vertebrae. Metal plates and screws are often installed to help hold the connection firm while it heals.
Spinal fusion is attempted in an effort to eliminate the motion between vertebrae in the hopes of reducing pain, increasing stability, and preventing excess movement from causing further damage.
The procedure is often the last resort for those left in pain by several common and serious accident-related back injuries such as broken vertebrae.
Vertebrae are most often broken in the blunt force trauma of a car accident, an impact caused by heavy machinery, or a fall from a great height. The most common type of spine break is a compression fracture. These breaks can leave victims with intense pain and also cause them to hunch and lose height.
A burst fracture is also a possibility after suffering an impact. The forces exerted on the spine launch bone fragments into the spinal canal. Spinal fusion surgery is used to stabilize an unstable spinal column due to many different types of fractures.
This condition occurs when the soft, rubbery center of a spinal disc pushes out through a crack in the spinal bones.
Herniated discs irritate nearby nerves and result in pain or weakness in an arm or leg. Spinal fusion surgery could be necessary after a disc is removed and the gap left behind needs stabilization.
When pinched nerves have their function disrupted, patients usually experience symptoms including pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. The pressure on the nerve is caused by damage in surrounding tissue such as bones and cartilage.
A herniated disc is a common cause of pinched nerves and the pain they bring. A pinched nerve near a disc can radiate a burning pain down the legs.
Lumbar decompression spine surgery is often attempted to relieve pressure on the nerve. If, after six months or so, there’s no change in pain, a spinal fusion may be the next step.
Common Accidents That Lead to Spinal Fusion Surgery
Spinal injuries most often result from powerful impacts. The forces victims endure must be strong enough to compress vertebrae or cause them to rupture or burst. These forces are found in several traumatic events that are all possible in our daily lives.
- Traffic Accidents: This includes pedestrians and cyclists who fall victim to a collision. Motorcycle riders often endure a strike from a vehicle and another collision with the ground creating more chances for spine damage.
- Construction and Agricultural Accidents: Construction workers and farm laborers work around heavy machinery and at times far above the ground. Pedestrians forced to pass by the ever-present construction sites in Los Angeles are subjected to these dangerous risks as well.
- Slip-And-Fall Accidents: A slip on a puddle or a trip on a stairwell can subject the spine to painful and damaging landings.
Spinal Fusion Surgery’s Impact on the Value of an Injury Claim
While there are no fixed settlement amounts for those who suffer spinal injuries, certain factors greatly increase compensation for victims:
- Medical Care Needed: A spinal injury can require several surgeries to reduce pain, restore mobility, and prevent further damage. If medical experts feel more care is needed in the years to come, that should factor into any settlement or courtroom verdict awarding money to the victim.
- Changes to the Victim’s Lifestyle: A serious spine injury can change the lives of victims and their families. In the case of a permanent physical disability, expensive upgrades at home are often necessary to restore some freedom to the patient. Training and care for all members of the family are required. A victim may no longer be able to perform his or her job and support a family. Career training for a new job becomes necessary and will include additional tuition and transportation costs.
Examples of Injury Settlement Amounts After Spinal Fusion Surgery
Settlements involving injuries that require spinal fusion surgery can earn victims compensation in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. When victims are forced to live with a physical disability, insurance settlements and jury verdicts should reflect that.
The personal injury lawyers with The Law Offices of Steers & Associates have fought for the victims of spinal injury to make sure they receive everything they need to pay for the best medical care available. We also strive to get them the most compensation possible as they recover and start to rebuild their lives after a terrible accident.
These are a few of the settlements we have most recently obtained for the clients we protect. These case results in no way make any guarantee of success in future claims, nor do they provide an estimate for the settlement value of similar cases:
Description: The client was a motorcycle rider who was side-swiped by an inattentive driver. The client incurred significant injuries and ultimately had spinal surgery. The case was resolved after extensive and lengthy litigation.
Auto Accident/Car Accident
Description: The client was driving when side-swiped by another driver on the freeway resulting in serious injuries necessitating spinal surgery. The at-fault insurance company tendered the policy limits, but the underinsured carrier denied the extent of injuries and damages. The underinsured bodily injury claim was resolved after litigation.
What to Expect in Spinal Fusion Surgery
Any surgery involving the spine is a major procedure because the area houses so many nerves that help your brain monitor and control your muscles and organs. Spinal fusion surgery will last several hours, but you’ll be under general anesthesia so you will feel no pain.
You’ll experience the usual recovery aches and pains after surgery, but hopefully, you will be on the road to experiencing much less pain each day. You’ll likely be kept in the hospital for monitoring for at least three days.
Once you are allowed to go home you may wear a brace to help support your spine while the vertebrae complete the fusing process. Your doctor may also require physical rehabilitation sessions to help you adjust. Full recovery from spinal fusion can occur anywhere from four to six months after surgery.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Los Angeles Victims
Spinal injuries can require months of medical treatment and surgeries and you could still be unable to return to your former lifestyle. Insurance companies for those to blame for your spine injury may claim your recovery is complete, when in fact it’s just beginning.
When you feel the severity of your spine injury is being downplayed by an unhelpful insurance adjuster, please contact a personal injury attorney in California. Reach out to the attorneys with the Law Offices of Steers and Associates before you speak with any insurance representative.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to any victim injured in Southern California. This is an excellent way to learn about your rights as a victim of a traumatic injury. Contact the Law Offices of Steers & Associates to find out how we can help you earn what’s fair.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.