Degeneration of the Spine: A Common Excuse for Insurance Companies when you are Injured in an Accident

Posted on 12/26/13

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is not really a disease, but a common condition caused by the general wearing of spine and is often a result of normal degeneration that comes with aging. The spinal discs, which act as cushions to absorb shock between the vertebrae, become dehydrated and do not absorb shock as well as they used to. The majority of adults have some degeneration in the spine or joints.

Many people have degeneration in the spine or joints, but have no symptoms or pain because there is really nothing wrong with them, just normal aging. However, people with weakened spines from DDD become more vulnerable to spinal injuries from an auto accident and even minor accidents can cause significant injuries. Someone could have had DDD before the accident, but experienced pain only after the accident. Auto accidents and traumatic falls are the most common causes that activate the symptoms of DDD.

DDD is often used as an excuse for insurance companies not to pay for an accident victim’s injuries. If MRI’s or X-rays show that the victim has degeneration of the spine or joints, insurance companies will argue that the victim has a preexisting condition and that their injuries are unrelated to the accident. The truth is that the insurance company is not responsible for paying for solely preexisting conditions, but it is not an excuse when there is pain or symptoms that only became present after the accident. The insurance company just wants to pay as little as possible to the victim.

Sometimes, symptoms will not surface until days after the accident. Whiplash from being rear-ended, for example, can cause someone pain in their spine, or other parts of the body. DDD can affect any part of the spine, leading to pain in other areas, but pain in the lower back or neck are the most common symptoms. Stiffness and flare ups of the spine or joints are also common symptoms of DDD. In severe cases, the spinal disc may bulge or become herniated. No matter how advanced the degeneration of the spine is, the victim is still entitled to compensation for the injuries they suffered caused by the trauma of the accident.

The victim’s attorney must prove that it was the accident that caused the pain, need for treatment, lost wages, or limited movement, regardless of previous degeneration. This is why you will need an experienced trial attorney, who knows that tricks and excuses of insurance companies and knows how to defend clients from being low-balled by insurance companies for your case.

If you or someone you know is one of the hundreds of thousands of unfortunate people involved in a serious accident where you received significant injuries, you deserve compensation. I am here to answer any questions you have and give legal advice concerning personal injury cases.