Pennsylvania slip and fall or trip and fall accidents often result in back injuries, such as bulging discs and herniated discs. As part 1 of this article discussed, one of the more serious back injuries from a Pennsylvania fall accident is internal disc disruption (IDD).
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Diagnosis And Non-Diagnosis
It is not uncommon for internal disc disruption to be misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in the context of a personal injury case. The symptoms of IDD often mimic the symptoms of a bulging or herniated disc. MRIs may be negative for bulging or herniated discs or may show one minor disc bulge.
Sometimes, there may be a positive finding in an MRI study which correlates to the specific spinal area triggering the symptoms. However, the diagnosis may be a bulging disc with severe pain, which would actually be out of proportion to both the damage to the disc as reflected in the study and the severity of the patient's pain complaints. Other times, there will simply be a diagnosis of generalized degeneration in the discs due to aging and wear and tear.
When an individual has low back and lower extremity symptoms, and the MRI film does not show pathology that corresponds to the severity of the pain, internal disc disruption has to be considered. There are diagnostic tests which can confirm an IDD diagnosis.
Implications For Slip/Trip & Fall Accident Personal Injury Cases
A misdiagnosed or non-diagnosed internal disc disruption can be disastrous in a slip/trip and fall personal injury case. The plaintiff’s pain and disability are very real, but the imaging studies which are relied upon by the doctors may not show pathology which correlates to the severity of the pain. This leaves the plaintiff susceptible to charges of fabrication and exaggeration of his or her injury. The defense medical experts and the defense attorneys will seize upon these diagnoses to characterize the plaintiff as a malingerer or someone who is exaggerating their pain.
Individuals with degenerative disc disease are more susceptible to IDD from trauma. Sometimes, an individual may have a long history of mild low back pain, an accident occurs and the pain becomes severe and debilitating. MRI of the affected discs may not show any change with regard to bulges or herniations. However, if internal disc disruption is visualized in the post-accident films, and if there are pre-accident films which do not show the internal disruption, this can be an invaluable piece of evidence in a personal injury case.
A properly and accurately diagnosed case of IDD can be presented in a very simple, dramatic fashion which can lead to fair and full compensation for the injured victim.
Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at White and Williams to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396