Following a motor vehicle accident, seeking medical treatment to alleviate the pain is a routine step to recover physically. The injuries caused by a motor vehicle collision can be devastating and always require immediate attention.
This medical attention plays a huge role in the settlement negotiations surrounding the case in the future, making it critical for you to seek out proper treatment options that are both necessary and illustrate the full extent of your injuries to the opposing insurance adjuster.
Some medical treatments might cost more after the accident than before due to new health risk factors and the scope of the body’s damage. However, some pain treatment avenues are already extremely costly regardless of whether accidents were the cause of the injuries.
One such treatment is epidural steroid injections for neck and back pain.
Epidural steroid injections are a common form of treatment following a severe back or neck injury. However, they are a costly and intense medical process that can profoundly positively affect your recovery and the legal action you take following an accident.
Understanding the costs of these steroid injection treatments can make all the difference in determining what sort of settlement is negotiated on your behalf by your personal injury attorney. Once you have an attorney-client relationship and have completed your medical treatment, your compensation is generally calculated based on the expense of the medical treatment to heal following the accident.
As for epidural lumbar injections, this article will help to provide insight into just how much the steroid injections could cost after an accident.
What Are Epidural Steroid Injections?
We first need to understand what an epidural steroid injection is. The simplest definition for an epidural steroid injection is a treatment method for injecting pain medication directly into the epidural region of the body. This epidural area is a small fat-filled space that covers the spinal cord and protects the nerves in the spinal canal from damage in our day-to-day lives.
However, epidural steroid injections are more complicated and take more expertise than the standard administration of medication seen with more common injuries.
This treatment is generally reserved for pain from more difficult injuries to treat conventionally. It is typically suggested when the treatments for chiropractic care, trigger point injections, or other steroid medications and anti-inflammatory medical procedures are not effective. Often epidural steroid injection treatment is the option to try before orthopedic surgery on the spine.
Most of the injuries that epidural steroid injections treat can be caused by motor vehicle collisions, making it a common avenue for victims to seek relief and more relevant to car accident lawsuits.
The actual process of an epidural steroid injection makes for a quick and straightforward procedure. Simply put, the spine surgeon takes a syringe filled with a corticosteroid, an anti-inflammatory, and injects it into the epidural space of the body. The exact process of the epidural steroid injection is as follows:
- The spine surgeon/neurologist overseeing the procedure will use an x-ray machine to maintain a visual of the afflicted area. The x-ray is also used to help guide the long syringe needle to the correct place.
- A contrast dye is applied to the injured part of the epidural area to make it easier for the physician to see they are injecting corticosteroids into the correct epidural location on the body. However, this is not always an option, as some people are allergic to contrast dyes.
- Finally, the physician will carefully inject the corticosteroids. Occasionally, they will do so with a local anesthetic to minimize pain.
When the epidural area section of the body surrounding and protecting the spinal cord is damaged, severe nerve pain and nerve root damage can quickly follow. That’s why costly and powerful medical treatments like corticosteroids are sought to manage the symptoms.
Spinal column injury examples:
- Herniated discs in the vertebra
- Bone spurs
- Bulging discs in the spine
- Joint cysts
- “Slipped” vertebrae
These injuries can all be induced by spinal nerve trauma resulting from an auto accident. So, if you are the victim of such an accident, you might hear the recommendation for such epidural injections come up reasonably early in your treatment plan.
These nerve blocks are one of the most commonly recommended surgical treatments offered for victims of car accidents to minimize the pain and speed of recovery from your injuries.
Keep in mind that steroid injections will not completely eliminate the pain of your injury. Instead, they temporarily help to alleviate the pain symptoms to allow you a less arduous recovery period, making injections a viable rehabilitation and pain management treatment.
It can reduce the pain while you undergo physical therapy, which can help you recover long-term and prevent a more serious spinal cord injury.
Next, let’s dig into the cost of these steroid injection treatments and the number of sessions needed to treat these types of disc herniation and vertebrae damages.
How Much Do Epidural Steroid Injections Cost?
Epidural steroid injections, much like any medical treatment, come with an expensive cost you need to factor in. For these steroid shots, the cost can vary based on several factors specific to your injury type, location, and medical background.
In some personal injury cases, whether or not you have health insurance will have an equally profound effect on how much your physician will charge you for the cost of the injections.
One reason is that these doctors who give injections for back or neck pain will lower the injection cost for people who “pay out of pocket,” which means they have to pay for the cost of injections without insurance to offset the cost for them.
The other more obvious reason is that without insurance, the cost of epidural injections falls solely on you, at least until after your case ends and you receive an increased settlement or trial award.
On average, however, the cost of a single session to have an injection administered is near $1,000.00 or more in 2021-2022.
However, rarely is a single joint injection session sufficient to address the pain and symptoms you would be suffering in this circumstance. You will typically need to go back for a series of sessions to ensure that the corticosteroids can do their job and alleviate your lower back pain.
The average number of sessions needed to get the full effect of the injections ranges between 2 to 3. Again, the reason is that the treatment is not a cure for the pain but to lessen it to make it easier for you to recover.
They can be an effective combination while you go through physical therapy. The corticosteroids have been recorded to offer pain relief for a few months after the effects set in. After that, it might be necessary to seek out additional injections if you are still suffering from extreme pain due to your injuries.
Most patients seeking epidural steroid injection treatment should expect to spend around $4,000.00 at a minimum in 2021-2022.
The sessions themselves can become more costly depending on how many injection sites are on the body. Each epidural steroid injection is billed as a separate cost. In addition to the initial consultation cost with the specialist, this can be one of the higher costs of the medical treatment you undergo due to your accident.
However, these injections can offer more than simply relieving the pain from your injuries but can also be beneficial to the personal injury lawsuit side of things by potentially increasing the settlement amount beyond the injection costs.
Why Are Epidural Steroid Injections Legally Relevant?
Epidural steroid injections, quite simply, are a common, expensive, and accepted treatment following a motor vehicle collision. This means that steroid injections often serve as a baseline for your accident settlement negotiations. When you are involved in a car accident, your medical costs are the basis for the settlement amount or trial award. The other driver’s adjuster uses that info to make a settlement offer.
Therefore, you and your attorney must prove you have suffered a serious injury if you want the insurance company’s adjusters to pay money to you for your being hurt physically in the car accident.
The goal of any adjuster will be to try and discredit the severity of the injuries caused by their insured client to minimize the money they owe you for the accident. That is an insurance adjuster’s job when it comes to car accident lawsuits. In cases like this, you have a burden of proof for the severity of your injuries.
One of the most common prerequisites an insurance adjuster will set to take a back injury seriously is whether back injections were part of your treatment. Given that epidural steroid injections are a very serious medical treatment, they are treated as a sign for most adjusters to take your injuries seriously.
Without injections, most insurance adjusters will attempt to downplay the level of pain and suffering you have endured as less critical than you are claiming. Often in this scenario, they will point to the chiropractor visits as the car accident lawyer attempting to bolster the medical costs for a larger settlement. Whether it is true or not, the insurance adjuster has the same goal, not giving you a fair auto accident settlement.
We do not suggest that injections are 100% mandatory to take your claim seriously, but they can be beneficial. There are countless reasons why getting epidural steroid injections may not make sense. The reality is that any hard evidence of your medical treatment and medical expenses is sufficient to have the adjuster treat your claim with the gravity it deserves.
Epidural steroid injections serve as a more intensive approach. Meaning a doctor would most likely not tell you to have steroid injections immediately after a car accident. They can be a middle-of-the-road option before surgery or after surgery to help with your physical rehabilitation.
In addition to the medical documentation, the financial cost of the injections sets up the minimum settlement the adjuster needs to consider. Starting with an average of $4,000.00 for the combined injection sessions means that the adjuster must consider that amount as a bare minimum for the settlement itself.
There are some caveats, of course. Overtreating and seeking out more injections than are strictly necessary for your recovery will have the inverse effect and severely damage your claim’s legitimacy while also compromising your health. Therefore, opting to seek out the injections if you need them will not harm your case and will, instead, reinforce it.
Seeking out injections within the bounds of what is necessary for your recovery will make it easier to get a fair settlement. The more evidence of your medical treatment, the more difficult it is for the insurance adjusters to reject it as false. While this can make injections a more viable option for your claim, remember that you do not need to undergo injections to see your claim taken seriously specifically.
It is just one of many examples of extensive medical treatment that the adjuster cannot refute. You should listen to your doctors on what they recommend. With all this being said, you might be wondering just how effective the use of injections is from a legal standpoint.
Are There Precedents for Epidural Steroid Injections After Car Accidents?
Yes, injections are a more widespread treatment following car accidents than many people realize. Physical therapy and epidural steroids have been used in many personal injury claims and have set a precedent for settlement negotiations.
Bosley v. Wirts
One of the earlier cases of epidural steroid injections being used as a base for negotiations was in 2011 in the case Bosley v. Wirts. In this case, the plaintiff was rear-ended by the defendant and suffered spinal nerve damage.
Steroid injections were used as one of the initial treatments for his back injury and pain. When the case reached a verdict, he was awarded a $41,000.00 settlement by the court for his lower back injury pain and suffering.
Graciano v. Blue Sky Logistics, LLC
Another example is the more recent Graciano v. Blue Sky Logistics, LLC in 2019. In this instance, Graciano was driving a tractor when another driver, Michael Daniels, struck Graciano’s vehicle under the employ of Blue Sky Logistics, LLC. As a result, Graciano suffered injuries to his C6 and C7 discs and sought injections to treat the pain.
The injuries were severe, and Graciano was able to hire a personal injury lawyer and file a claim against Daniels’ employer. Unlike the previous lawsuit, a judge decided on this case since a business was responsible.
When the smoke cleared, Graciano was awarded $116,898.00 in compensatory damages for the defendant’s negligence.
Broderick Mouton v. United States
Government cases are always more challenging than ordinary citizen to citizen car accident collisions. Finally, another case that took place a mere two years ago in 2020 was the case of Broderick Mouton v. United States of America. In this case, the plaintiff was struck by a motor vehicle operated and owned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In Mouton’s case, he suffered a severe and painful soft-tissue cervical spine injury aggravated by a previous disc injury. At the same time, Mouton used injections to handle the immediate pain and testified that he would need surgery down the line. The FAA countered the claim, but the verdict awarded Mouton a $169,756.00 settlement at the end of the day.
Injections as a medical treatment are effective for both recovery and cementing your claim as serious. Several successful personal injury claims involved victims who sought the use of epidural steroid injections to tend to their pain.
So, if you are wondering if such treatments could cost you in terms of settlement or if they will backfire on your claim, know that they have a proven track record of successful legal benefits.
As always, we recommend that anyone in a car accident that was not their fault contact a car accident attorney and law firm for legal advice. Hiring an attorney is a winning strategy compared to negotiating with the insurance adjuster yourself.
Epidural Steroid Injections for Car Accident Claims
Epidural steroid injections are not a treatment to be casually considered as they involve compounds being injected into your body. While it can offer short-term relief and prove how badly you were injured, treating in excess is a huge mistake. It can harm you medically and hurt the financial recovery from your claim.
Since each injection is a highly costly procedure that can rack up a fair amount of debt if you overtreat and jeopardize your settlement. The reality is that each session will run you at least $1,000.00, and that can very quickly add up. So, treating your needs without going overboard is the best way to support your health and case.
However, even though you are not on the hook to pay your medical bill liens until after your case, being injured can still be financially draining.
No matter your current situation in life or the nature of your injuries, you still have to meet your daily financial obligations. Unfortunately, it’s becoming easier said than done with the cost of everything from food to gas going up.
This can be even more a challenge when dealing with the unexpectedness of a car accident claim. Fortunately, we at Express Legal Funding can help plaintiffs in personal injury and other types of civil lawsuit cases. We can help you start your financial recovery with our fast and lower-cost pre-settlement funding.
The big win for you is it means money now when you need it. Risk-free and no worrying about increasing debt. The lien is on your future injury settlement or trial award money. Not on you. That’s because, unlike loans, the funding is a non-recourse advance. So give us a call anytime for a free consultation to learn more and see if you can qualify to get the legal funding assistance you need.
About the Author
Aaron R. Winston is the Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding. As "The Legal Funding Expert," Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a top financial advisory firm, managing 400+ million USD in client wealth. Aaron Winston is recognized as an expert author and researcher across multiple SEO industries.
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