Bulging Disc Compensation Claims

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If you've been involved in a road, work or public place accident in Queensland that resulted in a bulging disc injury, you're likely facing considerable pain, stress, and financial burden. If the accident happened as the result of someone else's negligence or fault, you may be entitled to compensation.

In this article, we will provide an overview of bulging disc injuries, common causes, the bulging disc injury claims process, and the time limits specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offer free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in hospital, in-office or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Bulging Disc Injury

In Australia, the out-of-pocket costs to receive necessary orthopaedic surgery for severe bulging disc can be in the tens of thousands. This, combined with the need for post-operative care and the loss of income, can cause significant financial and emotional strain. 

Fortunately, if you've suffered a bulging disc injury in Queensland as a result of someone else's negligence, you're entitled to seek bulging disc compensation. This can be achieved through different schemes, each catering to diverse circumstances surrounding the accident occurrence: 

  • Car and Road Accidents: Compensation can be sought through the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claims scheme. This covers accidents where the person responsible was driving a motor vehicle that is registered in Queensland.
  • Work Accidents: WorkCover Queensland, or a self-insurer, provides a statutory claims process for workers injured on the job regardless of fault. If your employer has been negligent, you may also have rights to sue for damages under common law.
  • Public Place Accidents: If you've been injured in a public place due to negligence, you can make a common law claim against the public liability insurer of the establishment or local government body where the injury occurred.

Remember, the right assistance can simplify the compensation process, making it easier for you to focus on recovery and rehabilitation from your herniated disc injury.

What is a Bulging Disc Injury?

A bulging disc injury, often referred to as a slipped or herniated disc, is a common yet potentially debilitating condition that can result from accidents on the road or at the workplace. This injury occurs when one of the discs that sit between the bones in the spine (vertebrae) is damaged and bulges outwards. 

The symptoms associated with a bulging disc injury are: 

  • Pain and numbness, most commonly on one side of the body
  • Pain that extends to your arms or legs
  • Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
  • Unexplained muscle weakness
  • Tingling, aching, or burning sensations in the affected area

A bulging disc injury can cause discomfort, pain and even immobilisation depending on which part of the spine is affected and how severe the injury is.

Common Causes of Bulging Disc Injuries from Work Injuries

Around 4 million Australians report having chronic back issues, which is 16% of the population – and many of these issues begin in the workplace, particularly if conditions are strenuous or require hours of sitting. 

In the context of work, various factors can lead to herniated disc injuries. It's crucial to understand these causes as they play a significant role in calculating your workers compensation claim. 

Here are some common causes: 

  • Lifting Heavy Objects: Regularly lifting heavy objects, particularly without the correct training or equipment, can put unnecessary strain on the spine and lead to herniated disc injuries.
  • Repeated Movements: Performing the same physical activities repetitively can cause wear and tear on the spine, possibly resulting in a bulging disc back injury.
  • Long Hours of Sitting: Many jobs require prolonged periods of sitting, often in poor posture. This can cause excessive pressure on the lower back and spine, leading to herniated disc injuries.
  • Accidents at Work: Slips, falls, or other accidents at the workplace can cause sudden trauma to the spine and trigger herniated disc injuries.
  • Accidental Impacts: Accidental impacts, such as being hit by a falling object, can cause direct injury to the spinal column and result in a bulging disc.
  • Sports Injuries: Participating in rigorous sports or physical activities can sometimes lead to injuries, particularly if the spine is inadequately protected or if the activity involves heavy impacts or sudden movements.
Common Types of Bulging Disc Injury

Here are the three most common types of bulging disc injuries

  • Contained Herniation: Also known as a 'protrusion', this type limits the disc bulge from being just within the outer layer of the disc. Owing to its fully enclosed nature, the impact may be less severe but can cause substantial discomfort and distress.
  • Non-contained Herniation: In this case, the disc bulges, breaking through the outer layer and spilling into the spinal canal. This ruptured disc can impact the nerves surrounding the area, leading to severe pain, weakness, or numbness.
  • Sequestered Herniation: This is the most severe type where a piece of the disc breaks off completely, seeping into the spinal canal. This intrusion can cause debilitating pain and significant neurological symptoms.

Whilst suffering from a bulging disc injury, it's crucial to identify which type of bulging disc you've experienced. This determines the appropriate treatment and potential compensation value.

Workers Most At Risk of Bulging Disc Injuries

Various professions expose employees to higher risks of herniated disc injuries due to the nature of the work. 

Here are the professions and industries identified as most at risk: 

  • Construction Workers: They frequently perform physically intense tasks, such as bending, lifting, and twisting, which can put significant strain on the spinal discs.
  • Warehouse Workers: Similar to construction workers, they often lift and move heavy objects, increasing the risk of spinal injuries.
  • Delivery Drivers: The act of regularly loading and unloading packages, combined with long hours of driving, can put unexpected pressure on the spine.
  • Nurses and Caregivers: The physical demands of assisting patients, coupled with long shifts, can lead to back and spinal injuries over time.
  • Office Workers: Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, especially with poor posture, can cause or exacerbate existing bulging discs.

Understanding your profession's inherent risks is a key step towards injury prevention and ensuring you're adequately compensated in case of an accident.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

There are several elements that determine the compensation amount when filing for a bulging disc injury claim. The amount you are entitled to will largely depend on the severity of your injury, the impact on your employment, and the ongoing costs related to your injury. 

You can typically claim for the following aspects as part of a bulging disc injury: 

  • Medical costs: These include costs for treatment, rehabilitation, medications, and any necessary medical equipment.
  • Care costs: If your injury requires help for daily tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, or personal care, these are considered care costs.
  • Loss of earnings: If your injury has forced you to take time off work, or has limited your ability to work, you can claim for lost earnings.
  • Pain and suffering: This includes compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by your injury.
  • Injury severity: The severity of your injury is directly correlated with the potential compensation. More severe injuries generally result in higher compensation.
  • Ongoing costs: Any ongoing costs related to your injury, such as medical expenses or care costs, will be taken into account when determining your compensation.

Remember, every case is unique and the precise amount you may be able to claim can vary based on the specifics of your case.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

When you've suffered a bulging disc injury, the prospect of pursuing a compensation claim can seem daunting. However, with the right guidance from an experienced team, the process becomes more straightforward. Ensure you speak to a medical professional before anything else to assess and validate your injury. 

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Bulging Disc Injury Claim?

When you're lodging a bulging disc injury compensation claim in Queensland, having the right evidence can significantly fortify your case. 

Here's the most pertinent evidence you should aim to collate: 

  • Medical reports: Firstly, you'll need comprehensive medical reports from your consultant or any medical experts who have treated you. These reports should include the details about your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and any potential long-term effects linked to your bulging disc injury.
  • Witness testimonies: If there were any eyewitnesses to your accident, their testimonies could be powerful tools to back your claim. They can provide an objective account of the accident, which might prove fundamental for your case.
  • Proof of accident: This could come in a variety of forms, including workplace incident reports if the injury occurred at work, police reports if it was a road accident, or CCTV footage capturing the incident.
  • Details of expense: All the receipts or documents showing any expenses related to your injury like medical bills, travel expenses to and from medical appointments, and costs associated with rehabilitation or modification to your home can substantiate your claim for these costs.
  • Proof of lost earnings: Demonstrating a loss of income due to your injury can be pivotal as well. Pay stubs, tax returns or a letter from your employer can successfully provide proof of any lost earnings.

It's extremely pivotal to gather every piece of evidence that can substantiate your claim and increase the odds of obtaining a favourable outcome.

Time Limits for Bulging Disc Injuries

There is generally a time limit of three years from the date of injury to make a compensation claim. This includes cases involved in road, workplace, or public liability incidents. More details are provided below.

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months but must be within 3 years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How can bulging disc injuries impact the ability to work?

A bulging disc injury can profoundly impact your ability to perform regular duties at your job. Symptoms such as severe back pain, numbness, weakness, and even paralysis can hinder your ability to stand, lift, sit or carry out tasks that involve physical exertion or prolonged periods of sitting. Moreover, these ongoing symptoms can interrupt your work and reduce productivity.

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What are the main causes of bulging disc injuries?

Herniated disc injuries typically occur as a result of strain, trauma or continual pressure applied to the spinal column. Conditions that can lead to bulging discs include repeated heavy lifting or twisting, aging, obesity, sudden impact accidents, and poor posture. It's also important to note that bulging discs can happen as a result of falls, auto accidents, and other incidents where the spine is directly impacted.

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Is my workplace still at fault if I have an injury from poor posture?

Your employer is obliged to provide a safe work environment. This includes offering proper workstations and equipment, as well as sufficient training to ensure you can carry out your duties without putting your health at risk. If these duties are not met, and you sustain a bulging disc injury as a result, your employer could indeed be held liable. 

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options on bulging disc compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
June 23, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.