Car accidents can be traumatizing experiences that leave lasting physical and emotional damage. While broken bones and lacerations are common injuries from car accidents, they can also lead to long-term health issues, such as degenerative disc disease.
If you developed degenerative disc disease after a car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages by filing a claim against the at-fault driver. However, you will need to establish a link between the accident, the driver’s negligence, and your injuries to file a successful claim.
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that affects the spine’s intervertebral discs or the spongy cushions between the vertebrae. These discs act as shock absorbers and help the spine move and bend. However, over time, they can wear down and lose their ability to function correctly. This condition can occur naturally as a part of the aging process, but it can also be caused by trauma or injury to the spine.
Symptoms of degenerative disc disease can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:
- Chronic back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Stiffness and limited mobility in the spine
- Radiating pain or numbness in the legs or arms
- Tingling sensations in the extremities
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
How Car Accidents Can Lead to Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is often associated with the natural aging process, but a car accident can make the condition worse. During a collision, the body can experience a violent force in a short time, leading to spinal cord damage or misalignment. While the accident itself may not cause degenerative disc disease, it can aggravate the pre-existing condition and lead to more severe symptoms.
Trauma or injury to the spine can accelerate the breakdown of the intervertebral discs, leading to significant symptoms. Even minor injuries can tear the outer wall of the spinal cord, where the nerves are located, and increase the risk of complications like a herniated disc.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a California Car Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident in California, you have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible driver. However, the actions you take after a car accident can have a significant impact on the evidence available to support your case, your chances of recovering compensation, and your overall well-being.
To protect your case and prove your right to financial recovery, take the following steps as soon as possible after the collision:
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine. Some injuries, such as spinal cord trauma, may not be immediately apparent.
- Call 911 and report the accident to the police. The police report will serve as valuable evidence in your case.
- Exchange contact, license, and insurance information with the other driver.
- Gather evidence, such as photos and videos of the accident scene, witness statements, and medical records, to support your claim.
Once you have received medical care for your injuries, contact a California car accident lawyer who can represent your case. An attorney can help you navigate the complex legal system, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for your right to maximum compensation. Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your next steps.