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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Degenerative Bone Diseases

Question: Diagnosed with Spondylolsis

 afoster - Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:19 am

Hello. I was in a 4 car (including mine) accident in October. I was banged around 3 different times, once hard enough to knock a drive shaft completely out of a truck. I went to the ER and after several tests, was diagnosed with Spondylolsis in a vertebrae in my lower back. When dealing with the insurance company of one of the vehicles that hit me, the insurance staff member informed me that since it was a degenerative disease that I had it prior to the accident. I was in the Air Force not even a year prior to the accident and was medically discharged for stress fractures in both knees, ankles, and feet. They did tests from my lower back down to see if they had to discharge me or if they could keep me. They found nothing wrong with my lower back and that is where the Spondylolsis is. The vertebrae was moved forward 3mm. I am 22 years old. None of my family members have ever had this and I don't have a history of back pain what-so-ever and have never had leg problems before going into the Air Force. My question is how big of a chance is it that this is a degenerative thing and not linked at all with my accident? They are only offering to pay for the medical bills, which is great! However, I now have back pain every day and have trouble standing and walking for long periods which only happened before my stress fractures healed. I was told by my ER doctor that it could give me problems during childbirth when I decide to have a child.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:10 pm

User avatar Hi afoster -

Your post brings up several issues that are common in insurance face-offs. First, in most states, even a pre-existing condition, if it is aggravated by trauma caused by the defendant, is an insurance liability for the defendant's carrier. It sounds like you have documented recent (Air Force) studies showing the diagnosis of spondylosis is recent if it is correct at all. While what you decribe is possibly the result of spondylosis, the forward thrust of the vertebra suggests common mechanism of trauma (were you struck from behind?). Usually pre-existing conditions are not held against the plaintif in a fault-determined accident.

Second, I would strongly recommend waving a copy of that Air Force medical exam in their faces. Do you have an attorney working with you on this? There are plenty of them out there in this field, and the contingency fee (often limited by the state and averaging around 20 per cent of the damages awarded) is usually worth it if the case is worth pursuing at all.

Finally, I would also strongly recommend a second opinion re:the spondylosis diagnosis. I suspect it isn't correct. This is a long-term denerative disease, not something that happens overnight. And if you were struck in the rear, then what you describe is, as I have said above, a classic injury. Check it out.

Please keep in touch with us here. I hope everything works out for you.
 cadcar34 - Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:48 pm

I have been diagnosed with spondylosis, post-air force (they never found it, despite countless xrays) by the VA. If you are out of the military now and had medical problems in the air force, even if you didn't get out with a disability, you should still go to your VA representative and begin your 'disability rating' process. You list the doctor that diagnosed you with the spondylosis and they will verify it with their own extensive testing. You will be compensated by the VA if the diagnosis is correct, because it is degenerative. It may take time, so be patient and diligent with your appointments because it is worth it in the end, and it's completely free, and if you don't live near a VA medical center, they will pay you for your travel. Get copies of all of your medical (and dental) records from the Air Force and any other dr. and go to or your local representative to begin your case processing. Best wishes, and feel better!

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