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  • Writer's pictureMERCADO KRAMER LLP

Is my case dead because of degenerative issues?

Here’s an extremely common and frustrating scenario for a personal injury attorney:


Their client is (as an example) an active man in his mid-40s who, prior to a wreck, did not complain of back pain. The man drove through an intersection on a green light and a delivery van broadsided his truck at low speed. Suddenly the man had searing low back pain and could barely get out of bed.

His doctor sent him to get an MRI scan. The radiologist reading the MRI said that the man’s spine shows foraminal narrowing and disc bulges. But his radiologist said these changes appear to be chronic or degenerative, not from new trauma. The man’s back pain becomes permanent. The responsible insurance company says that the wreck should only have caused temporary muscular pain. Age is what’s responsible for his permanent pain – the evidence is right there on the MRI.

Evidence of things like degenerative disc disease can dramatically decrease a settlement offer when you’re hurt in a vehicle. The car insurance company knows that degenerative disc disease is extremely common. A neurological study* showed that at age twenty, 30 percent of people have evidence of degenerative disc disease in their spine. By age fifty, it’s 80 percent.


Picture of an x ray showing degenerative wear in the neck

Our personal injury attorneys know from direct experience with our clients that many people with degenerative disc disease do not feel any pain. They are asymptomatic until they experience a car crash or other trauma. But with no proof on the MRi scan, the evidence is against them.

Read Part 2 to learn more about how to deal with this frustrating situation.


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