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Can a Car Accident Cause Degenerative Disc Disease?

For most people, car accidents bring to mind sudden, acute injuries that happen in an instant. From broken bones to lacerations, these injuries are immediately recognizable and frequently lead to sudden, sharp pain. However, these are not the only injuries that can result from a car crash.

One of the long-term conditions that can be aggravated by a car accident is degenerative disc disease. This condition occurs naturally and is not an acute injury. Even though a car accident cannot cause this chronic condition, it can worsen it. Compensation could be available based on the worsening of degenerative disc disease. A car accident lawyer could help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
  2. What Causes Degenerative Disc Disease?
  3. Can a Car Accident Worsen Degenerative Disc Disease?
  4. What Is the Average Settlement for Degenerative Disc Disease?
  5. Talk to an Attorney About Degenerative Disc Disease


Degenerative disc disease is a condition that occurs over time. Every person deals with degenerative disc disease in some shape or form. This condition involves the wear and tear to the spine that can come from everyday tasks like walking, standing up, or carrying things.

The spine wears down naturally over time. This wear and tear can be felt in the form of sharp or constant pain in the back. Every person experiences degenerative disc disease differently as they age, so it will not impact everyone in the same way.

For some people, this condition is little more than a nuisance that leads to stiffness or soreness in the morning. For others, it can lead to chronic pain that impacts every aspect of their life moving forward. This pain could spread from the back and include the buttocks and upper thighs. Usually, the pain dissipates somewhat by loosening up muscles through movement. In serious cases, degenerative disc disease can cause tingling in the legs and arms.


There are multiple factors related to aging that can lead to a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. These factors can result in pain as the discs in your back degrade over time.

  • Dehydration. The discs within your spine are primarily made up of water. As you age, the discs in your back will thin as they begin to dry out. Thinner discs are less able to absorb the shock of day-to-day impacts the human body sustains. With less padding, the rest of your spine will begin to absorb that shock. This can lead to further pain and injuries in the back.
  • Stress. The physical strain from everyday bodily movements and injuries can take its toll on the outer wall of these discs. Over time, this damage can result in tiny tears within the outer wall. As the exterior of the disc breaks down, it can result in pain. Eventually, the soft core of the disc can bulge through these cracks, which can put pressure on other discs or nearby nerves.


While a car accident cannot cause degenerative disc disease, it can certainly make it worse. The damage to your spine might have occurred naturally over time, but the damage and inflammation could become more severe following the trauma of a vehicle collision.

When you are living with degenerative disc disease, your back is already damaged and inflamed. Sudden trauma from a collision can worsen the symptoms of your degenerative disc disease or even trigger symptoms that have not been present for years.


If another person causes an accident that worsens your degenerative disc disease, you could be entitled to compensation. Even though you have a pre-existing condition, you have a case for damages based on how much worse your injuries are after the accident.

There is no way to determine the average settlement for degenerative disc disease. Most settlement information is private, and there is no central clearinghouse for that type of settlement information.

The good news is that you don’t need data about the average value of these cases to understand what your own case might be worth. Our firm could evaluate your injuries and advise you on what you might recover if your case is successful.


If you have questions about pursuing a claim for your degenerative disc disease, the Gomez Law Firm is here to help. We offer free case evaluations where we could review the facts of your case and help you pursue the damages you deserve. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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