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Damages After a Herniated Disc From a Skiing Collision or Snowboarding

Back injuries are common in skier collisions. There are several types of back injuries that can occur. One type of injury that accident victims might suffer is a torn, ruptured or bulging disc. This happens when an intervertebral disc, which cushions the vertebrae in the spine, tears, ruptures, or bulges. This injury is also referred to as a herniated disc. These injuries can be brutal. Personally, I have 2 bulging discs and 1 torn disc in my low back that I’ve had to deal with my entire adult life. I truly understand the pain and impact of these injuries.

A simple way to describe a spinal disc is to think of them as jelly donuts in between the vertebrae. The outside of the donut is the annulus, the inside is the nucleus. Annular tears (outside of the donut) can result in nucleus material (jelly) leaking or being disbursed into the surrounding area. Whether or not the annulus is torn or bulging, the pain can be agony. The chemicals in the disc or the disc itself can aggravate or apply pressure on the spinal cord or nearby nerves. When significant enough, surgery to remove all or part of the disc, a discectomy, is required.

All kinds of skiing accidents can cause a disc injury. Skier and snowboarder collisions often cause whiplash type injuries which may include cervical, neck, herniated discs. If you’re hit while skiing or snowboarding, make sure a doctor examines your neck, back, and other parts to check for injuries that might not manifest right away. Oftentimes, what seems like a sore neck or back progresses into a life changing injury.

Accident victims should be sure to receive medical care and proper diagnosis so they can pursue the proper damages in an insurance claim or lawsuit.

Symptoms of a Disc Injury

Pain is the most common symptom that patients experience after a torn disc. The disc may press on nerves in the spinal region, which can cause negative effects in other areas of the body.

If the tear occurs to the cervical region, the patient may feel pain in the neck, shoulders, upper back, arms and hands. When it happens in the thoracic region, the pain may affect the chest, ribs, mid-back and arms. And in the lumbar region, it could affect the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet.

Besides pain, other symptoms that may accompany a torn disc include:

  • muscle spasms;
  • numbness and tingling;
  • weakness; and
  • limited movement.

Diagnosis and Treatment of a Torn Disc

The doctor will conduct a physical examination to look for signs of the injury and will ask you about your symptoms. Sometimes an MRI can help confirm the diagnosis.

The main focus of treatment is relieving the pain which can be done with:

  • anti-inflammatory and pain medications;
  • hot/cold therapy;
  • rest;
  • restricting certain activities; and
  • steroid injections.

Physical therapy is usually required. This can help relieve pain and strengthen muscles in the area. Going to physical therapy sessions can increase the cost of medical care, which an insurance claim or lawsuit will address.

Unfortunately, surgery as a last resort is sometimes necessary. Orthopedic surgeons or Neurosurgeons may recommend surgery when the injury is severe enough that it’s causing significant numbness or weakness or the individual is unable to perform basic tasks and conservative treatment has failed.

Impact of a Disc Injury on a Skier Collision Claim

When another skiers or snowboarders negligence (code violation!) was the cause of an accident and it resulted in a torn, ruptured or bulging disc, victims need to claim all available damages. The medical expenses can easily reach six figures. The damages are not limited to medical expenses. Lost wages, home care, impairment to function, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life must be considered as well.

However, it’s important not to settle this type of claim too quickly because it will take time to fully realize the extent of damage and the impact it could have on quality of life. Complications could arise or the surgery may not be successful. Future medical expenses, wage loss and permanent disability are possible.

To fully understand your rights and legal options, call me for a free consultation. Helpings Colorado accident victims is what I do and I promise you will always get honest answers without a sales pitch. My contact information is (303) 300-5060 and I’m happy to help in any way I can.

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