Spinal Surgery

Extreme car accidents can be cases for spinal surgery

Recently at McMinn Law Firm, attorneys Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn closed a case for a client who was forced to undergo a spinal discectomy surgery following a truck accident. McMinn Law Firm settled the case in fall of 2016 for $475,000.

In the case a Pflugerville woman was struck by a commercial truck that made an unsafe lane change. The commercial truck’s operator had multiple previous traffic violations. The Pflugerville crash victim suffered a back injury that forced her to have a spinal discectomy surgery. McMinn Law team secured $306,344 to the client. Just as this client experienced, car crashes can cause significant damage to the spine. Read on to find our more about spinal surgery cases and how that may affect a legal case.

Back surgery: Car accident victims faced with serious medical choice and legal battle

Serious car accident victims often can experience severe symptoms after a crash. These may include lower back pain, whiplash, herniated disc, bulging disc, dull pain or a combination of symptoms. Whiplash and other injuries can have an unpredictable recovery time and will not be the same for all patients. The decision to have back surgery can be a challenging choice that faces many car accident personal injury victims.

Why are car accidents so dangerous?

Auto accidents can be very dangerous for the spine. Spines are a delicate and complex structure of the body. It is not built to withstand the harsh impact of an auto accident.

Car crashes often strain the structures of the neck and back. Ligamentsmuscles, and facet joints bear the full force in a collision. Don’t forget that not all back injuries are the same. Whiplashdisc herniationcompression fracture and spondylolisthesis include some of the severe injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash. Someone who has experienced a severe car crash will have to talk with their provider about moving forward with surgery or physical therapy.

How to Identify A Back Injury:

Depending upon the wreck, type of vehicle, and size and age of a person, back injury following a motor vehicle accident can come in many forms.

We’ve taken the time to answer some of the most common questions, but your best course of action is to contact an experienced health professional or ask your lawyer to refer you to a provider.

Car Accidents and Types of Back Pain

  • Can whiplash cause back pain?
    Yes. Whiplash may cause pain in the upper or lower back. It may cause dull pain, neck pain, headaches, or cause a person to feel tired. Neck pain is the most common affect from whiplash trauma.
  • What is a dull pain?
    Dull pain most often refers to a mild discomfort that may be “difficult to describe” by the person experiencing it. It may not have an impact on a person’s daily activities. The feeling is typically spread out over large areas of the body or the whole body. Oftentimes the pain will occur for long period of time.
  • How do you know if you have whiplash?
    Typically symptoms of whiplash will appear within 24 hours of the accident. They may include pain and stiffness in the neck. Headaches or dizziness may appear. Usually they begin at the base of the skull. A person with whiplash may experience difficulty concentrating, memory problems, ringing in the ears, getting to sleep or become more irritable.

Getting treatment for your back pain

As a patient, it is important to understand that a discectomy procedure should never be the first choice when choosing how to treat back pain. A discectomy procedure should only occur after all other options for treatment have been explored.

Typically, a doctor will only recommend spinal surgery if it will alleviate extreme back pain. Physical therapy and practicing spinal exercises are also common treatments for back injury.

Back Injury Spotlight: Disc Herniation

  • What is a herniated disc?A herniated disc occurs when the outer fibers of the intervertebral disc are damaged and the soft inner material of the nucleus pulposus ruptures out of its normal space. When a herniated disc occurs in the mid back it can be extremely serious. Herniation can occur due to aging or even a small amount of force.
  • What is a bulging disc in the back?A bulging disc bulges outside the space it usually occupies between the vertebrae, but it doesn’t rupture. A bulging disc injury can also be called a herniated disc or pinched nerve. Even though the words are sometimes used interchangeably they are not the same thing. In a herniated disc a crack occurs in the outer layer of the disc (which is called the annulus.) A bulging disc is more common, and less likely to be painful. It is possible for someone to have a bulging disc without feeling any pain at all.
  • What is the difference between a ruptured disc and a herniated disc?It can be said that a “ruptured disc” has broken open. A herniated disc bulges out of place. Either one may occur from injury, disease, or normal wear and tear seen in aging.

A spinal cord injury can have extreme effects on a person’s wellbeing and quality of life. A year after experiencing a spinal cord injury, the employment rate for affected persons drops from 58.1% to 12.4%. A injury that is as serious as a spinal cord injury affects the well-being of the entire family in most instances.

Damages: How Much is Spinal Cord Injury or Paralysis Case Worth?

A spinal cord injury and paralysis injury can have lifelong effects. A good settlement will reflect damages including life care costs, pain and suffering damages, and loss of earning ability.

  • The victim of a spinal cord injury may suffer from pain each day. Additionally, depending on the severity of injury the victim will no longer be able to live out the lifestyle they previously enjoyed.Mental anguish requires experts in order to “prove.” Unlike a fracture, pain and suffering is not visible to a jury. Noneconomic damages of a spinal cord injury are not easily quantifiable. Since there is no easy way to measure noneconomic damages, only an experienced attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
  • In some cases, the victim in a personal injury case may not be able to return to work. A vocational expert or consultant will be able to determine the value of lost earnings. They may provide evidence in a trial setting or for use in negotiations.Many victims of spinal cord injury are unable to return to work for extended periods of time. A successful personal injury will advocate for past losses in earning capacity as well as future earning capacity.
  • Whether the injury is paralysis or spinal cord injury the results can be severe. A victim of spinal injury often loses capacity to care for themselves, especially in the first year following the injury. This is a list of some costs that a spinal injury victim would need in order to live with their injury:


    • Emergency hospital visits
    • Pain and suffering
    • Ongoing medical care
    • Home assistance
    • Assistive Devices
    • Motorized wheelchair
    • Disabled persons access ramps, stairlift
    • Wheelchair accessible van

Spinal Injuries and Structured Settlements

People suffering from spinal cord injury typically need ongoing, daily medical care. The burden may fall on a family member who becomes the primary caregiver. Or the family may need to hire a nursing assistant. Specialized care and physical therapy may last a lifetime.
Planning for the future is an important part of a spinal cord injury settlement. Spouses and parents of spinal cord victims often worry about what would happen if something should happen to them. Structured Settlements can help a family plan ahead. Additionally, money paid through structured settlements is not subject to taxes and is not required to be reported to the IRS. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you understand your options.

A case value will also help pay for professional services provided by experts during litigation. There may be fees for independent medical experts, damage experts, and court expenses.

Spinal Cord Injury Settlements

Jason Mcminn and Justin McMinn are experienced spinal cord injury attorneys. Below are a few notable cases that they have resolved successfully. You can view the complete Settlements and Verdicts Page here.

$1,950,000 Settlement; Semi-Truck & Bucket Truck Crash

Salt Lake City man hit by 18-wheeler truck driving in the wrong lane; the truck crushed his bucket truck, which he was using to repair a traffic light. He suffered from spinal injuries.

Policy Limits Settlement:
After spinal surgery made necessary by a severe vehicle collision, McMinn negotiated negotiated a policy-limits settlement for a Salt Lake City woman.

Spinal surgery:
Salt Lake City man sought representation after sustaining severe injuries in a collision that also totaled his car. We negotiated a settlement for him that provided money needed for medical expenses including spinal surgery.

Spinal Damage:
A Salt Lake City woman suffering permanent spinal damage from a severe collision received a cash settlement negotiated for her by McMinn personal injury lawyers.

$165,000 Settlement in Car Accident Case:
Represented a Buda family involved in a head-on automobile collision. The husband and wife received spinal injuries from the impact of the collision. Prior to trial, the at-fault driver’s insurance company agreed to settle the case for $165,000 with a client recovery of $82,000.

Lead, Asbestos, and Other Harmful Substance: Employer Negligence

Some individuals also suffer workplace injuries after being exposed to harmful substances which include lead, asbestos, and other hazardous materials. Other types of injuries can come from operating heavy machinery that is faulty and defective.

If you have been hurt in the workplace, you may file for workers’ compensation without having to go through lengthy litigation. However, this prohibits you from filing a case against your employer, even if he or she was proven to be negligent. Thus, it is best to first contact a personal injury attorney before making any decisions on the course you will be pursuing.

Second Party in Employer Negligence Case

Furthermore, it may be the case that there is another party who is responsible for your injuries.  You can also take action against them, while at the same time receiving your workers’ compensation.  The possible negligent parties are:

  • The owner, or the person responsible for the property where you were injured
  • An employee from another company that you were working with
  • The manufacturer, seller or distributor of the defective equipment which caused your injury

Examples of injuries due to employer negligence:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  •  Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputation
  • Back injuries
  • Cuts, abrasions, and burns

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Recent Personal Injury Case Results

The McMinn Law Firm has helped injured Salt Lake City residents for fifteen years, winning over 100 million dollars in settlements to date.

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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Lawyers Waiting To Help You

We specialise representing clients in the following areas, we are waiting to help you on your personal injury case.

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Our Awards

Better Business Bureau (BBB) bases its ratings on information provided by the business, and on public data sources. McMinn Law Firm's A+ rating is the highest available.
In the years 2013-2014 and 2016-2019, Justin McMinn has been selected each year as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters service. Jason McMinn has been selected as a Super Lawyer in 2020.

Expertise.com, a company that evaluates and recommends local service professionals, placed McMinn Law Firm on their list of 20 recommended car accident attorneys.

What Past Clients Are Saying

Over 100+ 5 Star Reviews

"Jason, Justin, and their entire support team represented me in an accident involving an 18 wheeler. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, and maybe as importantly, the service along the way was something you would want as a client, their entire team was amazing! I can with great confidence recommend them to friends, family, and to anyone who happens to read this. Thank you McMinn Law Firm for a job well done!"

- Charles

"The McMinns were amazing. Within two days of my accident – and still barely able to move – I received a visit to my house for personal consultation (on a Saturday). All the initial feedback about my potential case turned out to be 100% accurate, and when it finally came time to settle they didn’t back off an inch. …If you’re hurt, make the call."

- Harry

"I was rear ended by a large truck. Am thankful for Justin and Jason and their team and all the hard work they put into resolving my case! I highly recommend that you contact them if you’re injured in a wreck!"

- Lori M.

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