Getting a Fair Workers Comp Settlement for an L4, L5, S1 Herniated Disc Injury

L5-S1 Herniated Disc Surgery - DiscSeel - Non-Surgical Spine Procedure

A back injury at work that results in herniated discs at the L4, L5, and L5 S1 levels of the lumbar spine can cause severe pain and disability. You may require spinal fusion surgery and have permanent restrictions preventing you from returning to your pre-injury job.

Fortunately, you can recover compensation by filing a workers’ compensation claim. This article will explain how an experienced workers comp attorney at O’Connor Law can help you get the settlement you deserve for an L4 L5 S1 herniated disc injury.

What Makes L4 L5 and L5 S1 Herniated Discs so Painful?

The L4, L5, and L5 S1 spinal levels are common sites of herniated discs because they withstand significant pressure. These two discs support much of the upper body’s weight.

A herniated disc occurs when the jelly-like nucleus pulposus ruptures through the outer portion of the disc called the annulus fibrosus. The herniated disc material can press on the nerves in the lumbar spine, causing extreme pain.

Symptoms of an L4 L5 or L5 S1 herniated disc include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates down one or both legs (sciatica)
  • Muscle weakness or loss of reflexes
  • Cauda equina syndrome in severe cases impacting bowel/bladder function

Without proper treatment, a herniated disc can lead to permanent nerve damage and disability. That’s why getting the medical care you need is critical if you suffer this type of back injury at work.

Why Do L4 L5 and L5 S1 Herniated Discs Often Require Spinal Fusion Surgery?

When conservative treatment like rest, medication, and physical therapy fails to alleviate pain from an L4 L5 or L5 S1 herniated disc, your doctor may recommend spinal fusion surgery.

During a lumbar fusion, the surgeon removes the damaged disc, inserts a bone graft, and uses screws and rods to immobilize the vertebrae. This allows new bone to grow between the vertebrae to create a solid bridge.

There are several reasons why a herniated disc at L4 L5 or L5 S1 frequently requires spinal fusion:

  • The large size of the lower lumbar discs makes them more likely to rupture entirely.
  • The lower back bears more weight, putting greater pressure on these discs.
  • A collapsed disc space can cause spinal instability. Fusion stabilizes the spine.
  • Persistent compression of the nerve roots causes severe sciatica.
  • Conservative treatments often fail, given the discs’ size and location.

So, if you suffered a serious herniated disc injury at work, there’s a good chance you’ll need lumbar fusion surgery. Ensure you have an experienced work injury lawyer to get this approved and covered by workers comp.

How Much is the Average Workers Comp Settlement for an L4 L5 or L5 S1 Herniated Disc?

If your L4 L5 or L5 S1 herniated disc requires spinal fusion surgery, you can expect an average workers comp settlement between $100,000 and $300,000. However, every case is different. Settlement amounts typically range from:

  • $50,000 to $150,000 for a single-level lumbar fusion
  • $125,000 to $250,000+ for a two-level lumbar fusion
  • $150,000 to $300,000+ for a three-level lumbar fusion

The higher end of these ranges applies if you have permanent lifting restrictions that prevent you from returning to your prior physically demanding job.

Factors that increase your settlement value include:

  • Lost income and earning capacity
  • High pre-injury wages
  • Multiple surgeries
  • Lasting neurological deficits
  • Need for future medical care
  • High medical bills
  • Settlement of a related third-party claim

With an experienced attorney’s help, you can get a fair settlement that provides for your financial security after a serious back injury requiring the fusion of your L4 L5 and L5 S1 discs.

Building Your Case for Maximum Settlement Value

To obtain the best possible settlement, your workers’ comp attorney will need to build a strong case proving:

  • You suffered a work-related injury. This is shown through medical records, witness statements, and accident reports.
  • The injury caused your herniated discs. Your doctor must opine the work accident led to the L4 L5 and L5 S1 disc herniations.
  • The herniations caused permanent impairment. Objective testing must show compressed nerve roots that haven’t improved with conservative treatment.
  • Spinal fusion is medically necessary. Typically, at least 6 months of failed conservative treatment is required before fusion surgery can be approved.
  • You cannot return to your prior occupation. Your doctor must impose permanent restrictions that prevent you from performing your previous job duties. Vocational assessments can further prove your disability.
  • You will need future medical care. Your doctor should discuss the likelihood of adjacent segment disease, revision surgery, injections, medications, therapy, and assistive devices.

With persuasive evidence on these points, your attorney can demand a settlement near the high end of the range for your level of injury.

Don’t Leave Money on the Table – Hire a Lawyer to Maximize Your Settlement

Far too often, injured workers try to handle their workers comp cases alone and end up settling for a fraction of their claim’s true value. Don’t let this happen to you.

An experienced workers’ comp law firm like O’Connor Law PLLC in NY will know how to prove your case and negotiate for every dollar you deserve. They can help you get the best medical care while building leverage to pressure the insurer to settle.

Many attorneys even offer free consultations, so there’s no risk to discussing your case. It costs nothing to find out how hiring an attorney can dramatically impact your settlement.

Don’t wait to get started. The statute of limitations in workers’ comp cases is short. Call a knowledgeable work injury lawyer today to protect your right to benefits for your L4 L5 and L5 S1 herniated discs requiring lumbar fusion surgery. With an attorney on your side, you can get the maximum settlement you need to recover from this life-altering back injury.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How long does it take to receive a compensation settlement for a back injury?

A: The length of time it takes to receive a compensation settlement for a back injury can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the insurance company’s response, and the legal process involved. It is best to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney for an estimate of the timeline in your specific situation.

Q: Do I need an attorney for my back injury settlement?

A: While it is possible to handle a back injury settlement without an attorney, it is highly recommended to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can provide valuable legal advice, navigate the complex legal system, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and help ensure you receive a fair settlement.

Q: Can I file a back injury claim if the injury occurred outside of work?

A: Generally, workers’ compensation covers only injuries that are work-related. However, there may be exceptions depending on the specific circumstances of your case. It is best to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to determine whether you have a valid claim.

Q: What is the average settlement amount for a back injury case?

A: The average settlement amount for a back injury case can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Factors such as the severity of the injury, the impact on the person’s ability to work, and the applicable laws and regulations can all affect the settlement amount. It is best to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney for an estimate based on the specifics of your case.

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