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Severe car accidents can result in serious injuries to your neck and spine. If your doctor recommends a spinal fusion, you are likely looking at costly procedures and a lengthy recovery. As your medical bill mount, it is important to consult with an attorney about your claim. Insurance companies scrutinize expensive claims, and your claim could be in trouble if you have a history of back problems or pre-existing injuries.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure that removes a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck. An incision is made in the throat area to reach and remove the disc and a graft is inserted to fuse together the bones above and below the disc. ACDF surgery may be an option if physical therapy or medications fail to relieve your neck or arm pain caused by pinched nerves. Patients typically return home the same day of the surgery.

How do Car Insurance Companies Value ACDF Claims?

Neck injury settlements often have many variables. Generally, neck injury claims can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. However, when a neck surgery is brought into the equation, the settlement has the potential to become bigger. Post-neck surgery recovery often results in lasting pain and requires physical therapy, causing the patient to miss work and lose out on wages. These factors are the main reason why monetary rewards can potentially be high in the event of an accident that leads to ACDF surgery.

Insurance companies will likely try to build a case that will lower the settlement. They will often try to prove that the injury was pre-existing, which is why it is important to have all your medical records during negotiations. They will often ask specific questions when valuing the settlement value.

Some questions that could arise in an ACDF settlement:

  • Was there a pre-existing condition?
  • What is the total of the victim’s medical bills?
  • Does the victim have health insurance?

How Do You Calculate the Value of Your Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) Claim?

Following ACDF surgery, recovery time will vary which can affect the settlement value. Some patients can return to work within a few days or weeks after surgery. However, some patients start physical therapy about four weeks after surgery and continue for 2 or 3 months. Longer time away from work, due to the surgery, could increase the settlement as lost wages and pain and suffering increases.

When working towards a settlement, an experienced attorney will discuss five questions with you:

  • How did the accident happen?
  • Did you immediately seek medical treatment?
  • Did your injuries prevent you from returning to work?
  • What does the police report say? NOTE: A police report is not admissible in court.
  • Was the other driver insured? If not, do you have underinsured motorist coverage?

It is important to have medical records from the doctor who recommended the surgery. This is required to establish whether the surgery was needed as a result of the accident or if there was pain prior to the accident. Insurance companies will try to find any way to lower the settlement cost.

Should I Get an Attorney?

In our opinion, yes. ACDF surgery settlements are complex, and you should focus on your recovery as much as possible. In the event of an ACDF surgery, it would be best to focus on recovery and leave the stress of the settlement process to a qualified, experienced attorney. At BenGlassLaw, our priority is to analyze the situation and establish whether we would bring value to the case. In the event of a neck surgery of any kind, we believe that an attorney would bring value to the case.

Brian Glass
Virginia personal injury lawyer selected to SuperLawyers Rising Stars List and the NTLA's Top 40 Under 40.