Can a Slip and Fall Cause a Bulging Disc?

June 11, 2021
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain


A slip and fall is a type of premises liability claim that is based on a person slipping on the property of another and suffering an injury. Slip and fall accidents can cause many different types of injuries. Some common ones include: broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, hip fractures, and back or spinal cord injuries. Among these spinal cord injuries are bulging and herniated discs. Typically bulging discs occur over time, but they can occur after a slip and fall.

A bulging disc occurs when the soft center of a disc swells and pushes against the tough outer layer of cartilage. When the soft center of the disc swells and pushes against the exterior, the disc will bulge out and can cause pain, decrease mobility, and limit a person’s daily quality of life. Over time, bulging discs can turn into herniated. A herniated disc occurs when one of the discs in your spine bursts. Bulging and herniated discs most commonly occur when you fall and land in a seated position. Falling in a seated position compresses your spine on impact and typically causes injury to your lower back. 

If you have a bulging disc it is possible you may not have any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, the three most common ones are pain while sitting, radiating pain into your leg, and pain aggravated by specific activities like bending down or lifting a heavy object. The only way to diagnose a bulging disc is to go to the doctor and get an X-ray or MRI. 

Bulging discs can cause narrowing of the spine. This narrowing of the spine is called spinal stenosis. This can put pressure on the nerves and cause a great deal of discomfort. Some symptoms of spinal stenosis are pain and tingling in upper extremities, pain in the upper back, lower back pain, and muscle spasms. 

The treatment you receive for your bulging disc will depend on a number of factors. The severity of the injury and its location will affect what type of treatment you receive. If your pain is relatively mild, over the counter remedies may suffice. Heat compresses and an over the counter pain remedy may be enough, but it may also be recommended that you attend physical therapy, yoga, or do some stretching to reduce the pressure on your vertebrae.  Some common medical treatments for bulging discs are anti-inflammatory medications and steroid shots. If your injury evolves in to a herniated disc and ruptures, you may be put on bed rest and surgery may be required to reduce your pain and improve your mobility. You may not even need treatment at all as some bulging and herniated discs heal on their own. 

If you have suffered from a bulging disc due to a slip and fall accident and decide to pursue legal action, the average settlement ranges from $15,000 to $30,000. The median jury award for a bulging disc is $31,000. The average settlement for a herniated disc is much higher, around $360,000. However, the amounts awarded for these types of injures vary greatly, because a bulging or herniated disc affects every individual’s life differently. The amount you are awarded will depend on many factors including but not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

So, while a bulging disc is not the most common injury caused by a slip and fall, it can occur and it can have a big impact on your daily life. If you suspect you may have a bulging disc caused by a slip and fall, you should visit your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

If you have questions about a personal injury case, contact an personal injury lawyer, like the attorneys at the Brandy Austin Law Firm for help with your case.