blog home Car Accidents Can a Car Accident Cause Degenerative Disc Disease?

Can a Car Accident Cause Degenerative Disc Disease?

By Butler Prather LLP on December 8, 2021

Degenerative disc disease can lead to significant disabilities. There are various causes of degenerative disc disease, including musculoskeletal disorders, genetic predisposition, and age-related wear and tear. However, can a car accident cause degenerative disc disease?

The reality is that it is unlikely that a vehicle accident will cause degenerative disc disease, but it could worsen the disease already present in a person’s spine. Here, we want to discuss how car accidents affect degenerative disc disease and whether or not individuals can recover compensation in these situations.

What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?

It is not uncommon for a person’s spine and spinal discs to show signs of wear and tear as they get older. However, not every person will develop degenerative disc disease. In fact, the name of this is a bit misleading because this is not actually a disease. This is a condition where a damaged disc (or multiple discs) causes pain for an individual. Degenerative discs can lead to a wide range of symptoms.

Our spinal discs are the little shock absorbers in between the bones of our spine (the vertebrae). These discs are designed to help our back stay flexible while resisting forces as our spine moves in different directions. Every disc has two parts:

  1. A tough, firm outer layer called the annulus fibrosus. This outer portion of the disc contains nerves, and any disc tear in this area can be painful.
  2. A soft, almost jelly-like core, called the nucleus pulposus. This part of the disk contains proteins that could cause tissues that they come in contact with to become swollen or tender. If these proteins leak out because of a ruptured disc, they can affect the nerves of the outer layer of the disc and cause significant pain.

Unlike other bodily tissues, discs have a limited blood supply. After a disk is damaged, it is not able to repair itself, thus starting the degeneration that can set in. Typically, the degenerative disc disease process takes 20 to 30 years, and begins with acute back pain and continues to make this spine unstable.

Degenerative disc disease is caused by several factors, including age and natural wear and tear. Generally, trauma is not the main cause of degenerative disc disease, but it can lead to a worsening of the pain and suffering a person already experiences.

Contact an Attorney for Help

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a car accident caused by the actions of another driver, and the accident has worsened your degenerative disc disease, we recommend that you contact an attorney immediately. Individuals should be able to recover compensation for their car accident injuries. This includes injuries that are worsened due to the actions of other drivers.

A skilled Atlanta car accident attorney will conduct a full investigation into the incident and ensure that you are evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can testify about the extent of your new injuries and/or how the accident made your existing injuries worse. You may be entitled to coverage of your medical bills, lost wages if you cannot work while you recover, out-of-pocket expenses, and property damage expenses.

Posted in: Car Accidents

I was in a complex premises liability case involving a multinational corporations. Mr. Butler & his associates were always three steps ahead of these defendants. When they say they are "exceptional trial lawyers," this is not just a slogan but it is a way of life.”
- Zack Hendon