Settlement Value of Herniated Disc Injuries With Steroid Injections

This post will examine the settlement payout value of auto accident cases involving herniated or bulging disc injuries where the plaintiff’s treatment included epidural steroid injections.

Car accidents frequently lead to disc herniations, caused by the significant force and pressure exerted on the spine. This pressure can result in tears, ruptures, or bulges of the spinal discs, which serve as cushions for the spine. Epidural steroid injections, also known as corticosteroid injections, are commonly utilized to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, particularly in the back.

Many victims wonder how much epidural steroid injections can affect settlement amounts and jury awards. Our attorneys provide insights into the calculation of compensation in such cases.

Our Lawyers Have Decades of Experience in Steroid Injection Cases

The personal injury lawyers at our firm have decades of experience bringing and trying herniated disc injury cases in which the victim’s treatment involved steroid injections. In fact, the first case Miller & Zois ever took to trial was a herniated disc case where steroid injections were involved.

In that case, the insurance company offered us $25,000 to settle. We advised the client to reject that offer and we ended up taking the case to trial. The trial resulted in a verdict of $300,000. Since then, we have recovered millions in compensation for herniated disc and other back injury cases.

3 Treatment Levels for Disc Injuries

There are essentially 3 levels of treatment options available for a herniated disc or bulging disc injury.

LEVEL 1 – PT & Medication

The first level of treatment for a disc injury involves physical therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g., ibuprofen, acetaminophen) or prescription medications to manage pain and inflammation.

LEVEL 2 – Steroid Injections

The next level of treatment is epidural steroid injections. Corticosteroids are injected around the spinal nerve to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

LEVEL 3 – Surgery

The third and final level of treatment is surgery which comes in 2 types:

Discectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the portion of the herniated disc that’s pressing on a nerve.

Laminectomy: Surgical removal of part of the vertebral bone (lamina) to relieve pressure on the nerve.

About Steroid Injections for Disc Injury Treatment

Our attorneys frequently encounter therapeutic spinal epidural injections or selective nerve root blocks. There are three primary approaches to epidural steroid injections:

  1. Interlaminar epidural injection: This involves injecting anti-inflammatory medicine and steroids into the epidural space, which is the most common type observed in personal injury cases.
  2. Transforaminal epidural injection (often referred to as nerve blocks): This procedure entails injecting local anesthetic and steroid into the area where the spinal nerves exit (lumbar, cervical, or thoracic).
  3. Caudal epidural injections: This involves injecting caudal steroid into the epidural space through the sacral hiatus. Our attorneys typically encounter this type of injection post-back surgery, which may not provide relief to the victim.

Numerous studies demonstrate the effectiveness of epidural steroid injections in treating low back and neck pain. However, do they always yield positive results? No.

Settlement Payouts in Steroid Injection Cases

The settlement payout value of a herniated disc injury case is often determined by the level of treatment that the plaintiff undergoes. Steroid injections are a level 2 treatment for disc injury. Therefore, if the plaintiff has steroid injections, it should increase the potential settlement value of their case.

Steroid injections tend to elevate the average compensation payout in settlements for back injuries. The use of epidural steroid injections often indicates to insurance companies that the back injury is more severe. While specific statistics on the exact amount of increase are unavailable, settlements for back injuries that do not require surgery typically result in lower compensation compared to those involving surgical procedures.

Steroid Injection Verdicts & Settlements

Below are summaries of recent settlements and verdicts in which the plaintiff had a disc injury and was treated with steroid injections.

$1,282,000 Verdict (2023): Our client was driving from North Carolina to her home in New York when she was involved in a serious accident in Maryland. At the time, she was 53 years old with an excellent driving record. The accident aggravated her pre-existing degenerative disc disease, leading to chronic pain. Treatment included extensive physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. After settling with the at-fault driver for his policy limit of $100,000, we pursued a claim against State Farm for Underinsured Motorist (UIM) benefits to cover the remaining damages. Despite unsuccessful settlement attempts, the case proceeded to trial in Baltimore County. Our claim sought $282,000 for future medical expenses (projected steroid injections three times per year for life) and $60,000 for past medical expenses. Additionally, we sought $1.1 million in pain and suffering damages. During the trial, our client testified as a compelling and convincing witness, significantly influencing the jury’s decision. Testimony from four fact witnesses further supported our client’s pain and suffering claims. Ultimately, the jury awarded $1,282,000 in damages.

$245,782 Verdict (2023): The plaintiff alleged she suffered a herniated disc in her neck, which was initially treated using conservative methods and steroid injections. The plaintiff’s expert presented a lifecare plan totaling over $300,000. In response, the defense offered a counter lifecare plan amounting to $170,000. The defense’s medical expert testified that the plaintiff had sustained a permanent cervical spine injury, a finding affirmed by the court through a directed verdict. The defense contended that the herniation was a pre-existing condition, advocating for future treatment to be limited to what was deemed reasonable under their proposed lifecare plan. The plaintiff chose not to pursue compensation for past medical expenses and instead requested $2.333 million from the jury. Following a brief deliberation, the jury returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff $245,782.

$41,116 Verdict (2022): A truck driver in his 50s was rear-ended during a chain-reaction collision in Texas, resulting in cervical and lumbar herniations. He received chiropractic therapy and steroid injections for treatment. Alleging negligence on the part of the at-fault driver, the man claimed she failed to maintain proper lookout and slow down in a timely manner. Following trial, the jury awarded him $41,116.

$169,756 Verdict (2021): A man sustained multiple injuries when he was struck by an FAA-owned vehicle, including a soft-tissue cervical injury, aggravation of a pre-existing disc injury, and a concussion. He underwent steroid injections for his injured back and testified that his aggravated disc injury would require future surgery, representing a “delayed surgery” scenario. The man filed a lawsuit against the FAA, which contested the severity of his injuries. Ultimately, the verdict awarded was $169,756.

$1,100,000 Verdict (2020): A woman was rear-ended as she was stopped at a red light. She suffered C3-4 and C4-5 disc herniations. The woman initially underwent 12 steroid injections and physical therapy. This treatment did not successfully resolve her pain. She then underwent a discectomy to replace her C3-4 and C4-5 discs. The woman missed eight weeks of work. She also claimed residual pain that affected her ability to do basic activities. The jury awarded her $1,100,000. However, she could recover the negotiated stipulated limit of $800,000. (She got the surgery, so this case arguably does not belong.)

$35,352 Verdict (2020): A man was struck by a driver who veered out of their lane while traveling on the same feeder road. This collision resulted in disc herniations at C4-C5, C6-C7, and L4-5, along with thoracic and shoulder sprains, and headaches. To alleviate lower back pain, the man received steroid injections. The man brought a lawsuit against the other driver for failing to take evasive action and maintain a proper lookout. The defendant disputed any negligence and argued that the man’s actions played a role in the accident. Following trial, the jury rendered a verdict of $35,352.

Call Us About Disc Injury Cases

If suffered a disc injury in an auto accident case and underwent steroid injection treatment, call us today for a free case evaluation at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.

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