A car accident can lead to herniated discs by exerting force on the spine, causing one of its bones to press into the spinal cord. This displacement can result in increased pressure on the spinal cord, leading to inflammation and pain. 

The spinal cord, responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and various body parts, can suffer from the impact of this condition (Learn more about types of spinal cord injuries experienced after car accidents).

What is a herniated disc?

A herniated disc, or a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the soft, gel-like inner portion of an intervertebral disc pushes through the tough outer layer. The intervertebral discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in the spine, providing flexibility and shock absorption. 

When the outer layer of a disc weakens or tears, the inner gel-like material can protrude, putting pressure on nearby nerves and causing pain, weakness, or numbness. This condition commonly occurs in the lower back (lumbar spine) but can also affect the neck (cervical spine) or, less frequently, the upper and mid-back (thoracic spine). 

Factors like aging, wear and tear, and traumatic injuries, such as those from car accidents, can contribute to developing herniated discs.

Accidents That Can Cause Herniated Disc, C4/C5, And C5/C6 Injuries

Accidents that can cause herniated disc injuries at the C4/C5 and C5/C6 levels often involve significant force or trauma to the cervical spine. Some common accidents include:

  • Car Accidents: The abrupt impact and sudden jolts in car accidents can lead to cervical spine injuries, including herniated discs. You must be prepared and take the necessary steps after a car accident that will help in the claim process. 
  • Falls: Slip and fall accidents, especially if they directly impact the neck, can contribute to herniated disc injuries (See more on what to do after a slip and fall accident).
  • Sports Injuries: High-impact sports or activities involving sudden twists or neck impacts may result in disc herniation.
  • Workplace Injuries: Certain occupations, especially those involving heavy lifting or repetitive neck movements, may increase the risk of herniated discs. Therefore, you must understand what to do when you are injured at work.
  • Traumatic Injuries: Any traumatic event that subjects the neck to forceful movements or compression can potentially cause herniated discs. Furthermore, brain swelling can also occur after a car accident

What Kind Of Injury Is A Herniated Disc At C4/C5 Or C5/C6?

A herniated disc at the C4/C5 or C5/C6 level refers to a specific location in the cervical spine (neck region). In this context, C4/C5 denotes the intervertebral disc between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, while C5/C6 refers to the disc between the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae. 

When a disc herniation occurs at these levels, it means that the soft inner material of the disc has pushed through the outer layer, potentially impinging on spinal nerves or the spinal cord.

Injuries at these levels can lead to symptoms such as neck pain, radiating pain or numbness in the shoulders, arms, or hands, and potential weakness in the corresponding muscles. The specific symptoms and severity can vary depending on the extent of nerve compression and individual factors.

Symptoms Of Herniated Disc, C4/C5, And C5/C6 Injuries

Symptoms of herniated disc injuries at the C4/C5 and C5/C6 levels can vary, and individuals may experience various neurological and musculoskeletal symptoms. Common symptoms include:

  • Neck Pain: Pain in the neck is a common symptom, and it may be localized or radiate to the shoulders and upper back.
  • Radiating Arm Pain: Herniation at these levels can cause pain that radiates down the arms, often following the path of specific nerves.
  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the arms and shoulders muscles may occur due to nerve compression from the herniated disc.
  • Numbness and Tingling: Individuals may experience numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” feeling in the arms or fingers.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Herniated discs can affect the neck’s flexibility and range of motion, leading to stiffness.
  • Headaches: Some individuals may experience headaches, significantly if the herniation affects the nerves in the cervical spine (Get information on headaches after car accidents).

Can You File A Herniated Disc Claim After A Car Accident?

You can file a compensation claim if you experience a herniated disc due to a car accident. The first and foremost step is to seek immediate medical attention to diagnose and document the herniated disc. Collecting evidence related to the car accident, such as photos, witness statements, and police reports, is crucial for building a strong case. 

Subsequently, you can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance to establish liability and pursue herniated disc settlement value. If negotiations don’t lead to a satisfactory settlement, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit and pursuing your case in court. Acting promptly and seeking legal advice ensures that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Want to seek herniated disc settlement after car accident? Contact a lawyer

A personal injury lawyer can assist in your herniated disc settlement by negotiating with insurance companies, gathering evidence to strengthen your case, and seeking compensation based on the impact of the injury on your life. Their expertise ensures you navigate the legal complexities effectively.

FAQs on herniated disc after car accident

Yes, a car accident can cause a herniated disc. The force and impact of a car crash can lead to the displacement of spinal discs, causing them to press against the spinal cord and resulting in a herniated disc.
Yes, you can sue for a herniated disc resulting from a car accident. Consult with a personal injury attorney to assess the viability of your case, gather evidence, and navigate the legal process to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
Treatment for a herniated disc may involve conservative measures like rest, physical therapy, and pain management. Surgical options such as discectomy or fusion may be considered in severe cases.