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"Life is Life": An Overview Of Louisiana's Homicide Laws

In Louisiana, “Life” means “life” for those convicted of murder. Actually, the penalties can get much worse. Certain killings allow for the death penalty.  Those convicted of second degree murder will work on a plantation style farm until they die. It is just the manner of their death that needs to be determined. This post is an over view of the various degrees of homicide in Louisiana. I am fortunate to work with many skilled attorneys brave enough to accept the challenge of having someone’s life in their hands and am honored to say that we have risen “to the occasion” on behalf of many of our clients and their families in their time of need.

There is no offense more serious than a homicide or murder charge. In the Baton Rouge, Louisiana the legislature has codified a global definition of criminal homicide. Depending upon the state of mind or the intent of the actor, an individual may be convicted of of a murder based upon an intentional killing or an unintentional killing of another human being. In Louisiana, homicides are defined as Murder, Manslaughter, or negligent homicide.

Negligent homicide refers to the accidental death of another human being due to extreme negligence or recklessness.

Vehicular homicide is an off shoot of negligent homicide but was enacted to punish fatalities caused by drunk driving, The penalties can go as high as 40 years. And, recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that vehicular homicides are crimes of violence as a matter of law despite the fact it is not listed in the enumerated violent offense found in the criminal law statutes.

In Louisiana, involuntary and voluntary manslaughter are thrown into one statute and share the same penalty of up to 40 years regardless of the grade of offense. Voluntary manslaughter is often referred to as "heat of passion" manslaughter since, by definition, the offender's actions would constitute murder but the killing was done in a sudden heat of passion normally associated with observing some other traumatic event perpetrated by the homicide's victim. Involuntary manslaughter is often referred to as "misdemeanor" manslaughter since it is an unintended killing resulting from the defendant's intentional commission of some other crime- even a misdemeanor offense.

Second Degree Murder is simply the intentional killing of another. It is punishable by life in jail. In Louisiana, "life" means "life" so someone convicted of second degree murder can expect to serve the rest of his natural life in jail and die while imprisoned.

First Degree Murder refers to the intentional killing of another, though there are some other circumstances surrounding the killing that must take place for the homicide to constitute first degree murder. The three most common examples are homicides that occur during the commission of a violent crime; the killing of two or more people; and the murder of a police officer in the line of duty. A person convicted will either face life in prison without parole or receive the death penalty.

Being faced with a homicide charge is a serious and frightening situation with significant consequences. For this reason, it is important to contact a qualified criminal defense trial attorney who has handled a significant amount of criminal jury trial including those for murder.

If youíve been charged with murder, it ís essential to find a defense attorney who ís committed to your case. You need someone who will protect your rights while offering the respect you deserve during this difficult time. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Andre Robert Belanger and the other criminal defense attorneys at Manasseh, Gill, Knipe & Belanger work tirelessly to provide clients with legal options and representation when theyíre murder charges.

Using Ballistics To Defend Your Case

You Can Use The Science Of Ballistics To Defend Your Gun Crime

Ballistics is the area of Forensic Science that deals with firearms. It provides information for how firearms are used, why they are used and why they are used frequently in the practice of murder. Ballistics is important for identifying the kind of weapon used in a crime and having this critical information can help investigators in their search for the perpetrator of the crime.  Thus, the field of ballistics plays an important function in the investigation of a crime, as well as later in court proceedings.

Examining the bullet, the nature of the wound, and any residue around the wound can help to determine what type of gun was used.  Because of the method that is used to make gunpowder, these markers can help determine if a gun was modified and how close the shooter may have been to the victim.  Plus, each gun has certain grooves in its barrel, and these can leave marks on the bullet as it is released.  This is one identifier that can help investigators determine the make and model of the gun used.  Furthermore, any shell casings left at the scene can identify the weapon used. All of these pieces of information together can help identify the gun used with a higher level of certainty than one measure alone.

The field of ballistics can play a large role in a criminal case.  It can connect the gun to the shooter, and it can express what gun was used.  Even more important is that the use of ballistics can be a way of tying multiple cases to one gun and one perpetrator, which can help solve cases involving serial murders or crimes done by the same person or persons.

Ballistics is an important forensic science. Through studying what weapon was used and in what manner, investigators can solve crimes faster.  Plus, the use of ballistics can be monumental as evidence for when the case is being prosecuted in court.

How To Recover For Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft Tissue Injuries

When you suffer soft tissue injuries as a result of an accident it can be difficult to prove through medical documentation alone unlike a break to a bone, however it can still affect day to day life in the short or long term. Getting a fair settlement for your soft tissue injuries is extremely important however challenging it may be. We can help you to prove how the injury has affected your life to ensure you get what you deserve to help pay for medical treatment, loss of earnings and other related expenditures.

Although soft tissue injuries can factor in many different kinds of injury lawsuits, the most common is whiplash as a result of a car accident. It’s not always easy to get proof of this type of injury which is why it can be suggested that there is exaggeration by the plaintiff to try to get a bigger compensation claim. This is why it is so important that documentation is made thoroughly to support an insurance claim and/or lawsuit.

How the insurance company views soft injury claims

Because the majority of soft tissue injury claims are made as a result of a car accidentthe injured person or responsible person will need to pay for the injuries depending on the state. If you are from a ‘no fault’ state then it is the plaintiff that is responsible for paying for treatment and compensation. This means that the plaintiff is unable to sue unless they also have more serious injuries that can be proven and are documented to be as a result of the accident. For this reason it is extremely important to have as much medical documentation proving the injury as possible.

There is usually a set amount that insurers will pay for each injury should the admit liability. It is usual practice to offer a settlement which the claimant can then accept or refuse. If it is refused then it will be taken to court. If the amount they win as a result of the court case works out to be less than the original settlement offer the insurance company might also be able to claim back their legal costs. This is where getting too greedy could end up costing you the majority if not all of your claim.

How it can be problematic to prove soft tissue injuries

Unlike breaking a leg or other injuries that require immediate medical attention and diagnostics soft tissue injuries are not always easy to prove. You may have bruises and cuts, but this will not be deemed as proof of the soft injury. They cannot be proved by use of medical diagnostic tools such as CT scans and X-rays, but this by no means is proof that the injury has not and will not affect the plaintiff’s day to day life in the short or long term.

The media has advertised people entering court with medical aids such as canes and neck braces that alone have helped them to win the case, and then gone off to remove the aids once leaving the building. The ease of being able to use aids for sympathy is highly exaggerated and will be questioned but all the same being able to physically see an injury is more likely to prove your claim is real.

Without hard proof the insurance companies are able to argue that the plaintiff is exaggerating their injuries, which is why medical treatment should be sought immediately after the incident. This will enable trained medical professionals to examine and make notes of the injuries sustained. Without medical proof there is no hard evidence and by the time the court case comes around it is your word over theirs. Medical records make for stronger evidence in court than word of mouth and if you do require medical aids they will be proof that they were prescribed not bought or borrowed for the purpose of sympathy in court.

How to receive compensation for soft injury claims

As mentioned earlier in this article the best chance that a plaintiff has of winning a claim is by providing hard evidence through medical documentation. This will also describe the symptoms and an estimated time of which they expect the plaintiff to suffer. It will prove the amount of time the doctor has advised them to be off work and of any medical aids that have been provided. In addition to this any return check-ups will also be noted and will stand as testament. In most cases the insurance company will want to avoid a court case so by showing proof you will be more likely to be offered a settlement out of court which is usually a faster process. For plaintiffs living in a state that is ‘no fault’ the worry of winning a trial is not important but proof of the injuries will still be so that you can cover expenses accrued as a result of the accident.

Expert witnesses may be required to testify should there be a high damages claim. This expert witness will need to say how they feel the injuries were caused in their professional opinion. Providing medical evidence will help to get the claim settled faster and give you a higher chance of winning. Without medical records and a visit to a medical professional it is likely the case will drag on and that the settlement will be a lot less than you are expecting.

Insurance companies usually have a settlement amount in mind but in cases where a company is not involved the defendant will be paying from their own pocket and more than likely trying to avoid paying more so that they can pay legal fees too.

If an insurance company refuses payment on the claim it is up to the plaintiff to sue the insurance company or defendant instead. This is where medical records could make a difference between the plaintiff winning or losing the case.

If you have been involved in a wreck and you continue to suffer pain in your body, you need to consult a lawyer to further understand your rights and arrange for you to get the necessary treatment for your injury.

3 Common Car Accident Cases

3 Most Common Car Accidents And The Attorneys You Need For Each Of Them

This is a wonderful and common sense article from Findlaw that broadly categorizes the 5 types of car accidents. I do not dispute viewing auto accidents in this manner and would suggest that doing so is also useful. Our commentary on the article will focus on three of those categories. You see, similar events will be associated with similar injuries and legal issues. This means that a lawyer with a proven success rate in one type of car accident case may be a better choice for handling your claim if your case falls within that lawyer's "niche".

Car Accident: Rear Ender

For example, the "Rear Ender" doesn't have to be a "car totaling" event and is often associated with "low impact collisions." This accident is simple one car failing to stop and bumping into the back of another. This can happen at yield intersections, highway on ramps or even on the roadway itself when someone falls to brake properly. These can be tricky cases because the client is claiming serious injuries but the car may not have any noticeable damage from the outside. Liability is often not the main legal issue in this case, rather it is the amount of damages to be awarded that is critical.  Having a lawyer with a successful track record litigating low impact collisions and soft tissue injuries would be important.  Now, let's look at the other categories of car accidents to see how a lawyer can help.

Car Accident: Single Shot

The "Single Shot" case is very problematic as there isn't always another driver to blame for the cause of the accident that you can look to for recovering the damages. Here, the driver looses control of his car and can end up in a ditch or impacting a tree. But, how did the accident happen?  If its driver's own negligence can anything be recovered?  Is there available medical and property damage riders on the driver's policy that can help pay medical and repair bills?  What if the accident was caused by a defect in the roadway?  In that case, you'll need a lawyer who is experienced in suing the state are arguing highway defects.  These can be challenging to litigate since so much planing and inspection go into modern roadway projects.  What happens if the accident was caused by a malfunction with the car itself that the driver could not over come such as brake failure or steering failure?  This may be a products defect case and, if so, you may need a lawyer seasoned in products liability and class action cases. Taking on Ford or Toyota isn't a job for your average lawyer.  You'll definitely need an attorney experienced with expensive and "high stakes" litigation.

Car Accident: T-Bone

The "T-Bone" is often the most serious kind of car accident. Here, you may have two cars traveling at full speed colliding with the force of impact bending metal and breaking bones.  Damages are often easily quantifiable: totaled value of the car, hospital bills, loss of work etc.  But, the amount of the award is often dependent upon who is at fault. Liability is the issue here. Did someone run a red light? Was someone speeding or driving recklessly?  A lawyer handling this case will need to be able to develop a case and attack an opponent's defense. The attorney will likely need accident reconstruction experts.


You can read the full article from findlay at the link below.

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How To Recognize A Bad Lawyer

Signs That Your Lawyer Is A Scam

The phrase Caveat Emptor applies to acquiring a lawyer to handle your case. Many people mistakenly treat "hiring a lawyer" like they are acquiring snack at Walmart: they price shop.  Price shopping is a bad strategy when it comes to finding your heart surgeon, sky diving instructor, and criminal defense attorneys. A lawyer's time is money so be wary of those who value their time cheaply.  That said, a higher price doesn't guarantee a quality attorney or that the "top lawyer" in town will achieve your desired out come.  This article discusses some common warning signs indicating a bad lawyer.   Watch out for the following:

  1. The Guaranteed Result: no lawyer can promise you an outcome. They are lawyers- not psychics. Guaranteed promises are unethical and should be reported to the bar.  If you want to see a fun trick, have the lawyer put into writing the guaranteed outcome and the price you will pay for it. Ask that a refund be provided if not successful. No lawyer will do this.  Its a warning sign.
  2. No Receipt: Today's law practice is a sophisticated business.  Simple hand shake or "will work this out later" is a problem. At its worst, you are setting yourself up for a "money pit" style of representation. At best, your lawyer is pocketing cash and is building his "off the books" practice. This is a crime. Run
  3. Constant Talk about "Connections": Any competent lawyer will know all the courthouse players. I.E. judges and prosecutors. So what. No one is going to do anything illegal or unethical for you because of who you hire. At best, your lawyer's familiarity with the system is good for estimating the tendencies of the prosecutor or judge for handling similar cases and the "custom" of the local courthouse with how things operate on a daily basis. Nothing more.

Do Not Under Estimate Whiplash Injuries After A Car Wreck

Most accidents are not these horrific events that shut down interstates and leave families shattered by the deaths of loved ones. Instead, they are your typical "fender benders." At the outset, they don't look severe. The damage to the dar may be a small dent or some scuff marks if anything at all. The impact scares you. You get a jolt of adrenaline. Maybe even anger that subsides when you realize your car isn't totaled. You feel relieved and tell the other driver you are "fine." You you very well may think that way since you are relived your car isn't destroyed.  But, this is precisely where many auto accident cases take a turn for the worst. Here is what you don't yet realize:

You can suffer significant injury from a low impact collision. The muscles and tendons in your body have just absorbed the shock of a powerful impact. Car's have a tremendous amount of mass and every mile power hour yields a significant increase in the amount of force or power applied to you. Worse yet, your body positioning could cause the force to be exerted against your body in an abnormal position. Imagine looking over your shoulder to see about oncoming traffic as you exit the interstate and are required to yield as you enter the connecting highway.  These injuries are called "soft tissue" injuries. It may take a day or two for the bruising to set in. At this point you realize you are in pain and that you need help.

Now, here is the problem. You've told some one you are "fine." Now you expect the other driver to pay for medical bills that could be significant. His insurance adjuster will use your comments coupled with the minor damage to claim you are lying and, worse yet, if your "newly discovered injury" occurs at the same time you seek legal counsel, the defense lawyer will claim you are a fraud at trial.

This is why you shouldn't say you are "fine". Tell the police where you felt the shock of impact and where you recall your body pressing against interior compartment of your car and advise you'll go see your doctor. This way you can best preserve your opportunity to file a claim and minimize attacks on your credibility.

Mass Incarceration

Mass Incarceration 

In late October and early November of 2015, the United States is set to release nearly 6,000 inmates who had been incarcerated for non-violent offenses. This is the largest release of its kind in US history. About 3,400 inmates were confined in places like halfway houses, while another 1,700 are not US citizens and will possibly face deportation. Non-violent offenders make up about half of the federal prison population.

This is just the first wave of what will be thousands who will be set free because of new rules from the US Sentencing Commission. Up to 46,000 of the country’s 100,000 drug offenders could qualify under the new laws. To understand this massive release is to understand the current state of the US prison system and the laws that got it to where it is today.

Below are some statistics on the US prison system from the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons. These statistics are from 2010.

US prisons in numbers

  • 208,000 people in federal prisons
  • 48% of them for drug offenses
  • 37% of them are black
  • 34% of them are Hispanic
  • $80bn was the cost of incarceration in the US in 2010


According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, 1 in every 100 Americans is incarcerated. In fact, according to a 2014 report from the Prison Legal News, “Federal prisons were 39% over capacity as of September 2011. Further, the report predicted that overcrowding would climb to more than 45% above the BOP’s maximum capacity by 2018.” The overcrowding of American prisons is causing many problems, including an overstressed and overworked prison workforce. According to the same study, “Nearly all BOP facilities had fewer correctional staff on board than needed, with a BOP-wide staffing shortage in excess of 3,200 … [and] there was also anecdotal evidence that understaffing was stressing the workforce.” This is just one of the many issues caused by overcrowding of prisons, or mass incarceration.

Among the many issues caused by mass incarceration, spending on prisons and infrastructure are the two main ones. Many prisons cannot maintain the proper infrastructure to support the growing prison population. This means that the prisons are not being well maintained, which can lead to older infrastructure such as plumbing or lighting issues, among others. Plus, you have an increasing number of inmates that are squeezing into tight quarters, which can lead to tension between inmates or health issues. This may seem trivial, but add up all the costs. As of the Fiscal Year of 1980, Congress allotted $330 million dollars for the prison system. As of the fiscal year in 2014, that amount has grown to roughly $6 billion dollars. This is money that could be spent on other issues such as nationwide highway and bridge infrastructure that is aging and the education system.

Prison systems did not get this way overnight. They are a result of minimum mandatory laws, which means that criminals are required to serve certain minimum sentences by law for certain crimes. This holds especially true for drug offenses. The list of mandatory minimums for drug offenses is long. One example is if someone is found with 1kg of heroin and is manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute and no death or serious bodily injury incurred, the minimum sentence is 10 years in prison. These types of minimum sentences have crowded the system over time, and many of them came about in the 1980s during the so-called “War on Drugs.”

The War on Drugs played a large role in mandatory minimums. In fact, according to the website Drug Policy, “The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.” This is because of a hysteria that ensued in the 1980s during the Reagan administration. With the influx of cocaine to America in the 1980s combined with the AIDS epidemic, the administration sought a way to stop the drug epidemic and the rapid spread of AIDS via use of shared syringes. This launched famous programs such as “Just Say No” and “DARE.” This also led to the mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, which has now overcrowded the prison system. While the hysteria has calmed over the War on Drugs, and the cocaine and AIDS epidemic is now a thing of the past, the drug enforcement policies enacted have done their damage.

Mass incarceration seems to be at its tipping point. With the release of inmates and a plan for more, it seems that logic is finally swinging momentum away from these laws. Like any major government change, it may take time, and the damage is already done. However, this is a positive sign, and it is a step in the right direction to ending these policies and rolling back the clock on prison incarceration rates.

Trial Lawyer


Using A Motion To Quash To Win Your DWI

A motion to quash is a procedural mechanism in Louisiana that allows your attorney to have the charges thrown out of court. It is commonly used within the context of DWI prosecutions by preventing the state from proceeding against you as a second, third, or fourth for offender. In these instances, your attorney will be able to challenge and attack the state’s use of your prior DWI convictions for some procedural reason. The most common procedural reasons for defeating an older DWI conviction is the age of the conviction and a defective plea colloquy. More specifically, the state can only use DWI convictions- it can not use DWI arrests; also, the conviction can not be older than 10 years as general rule. Further, the court must advise offenders the right to trial, the right to an attorney and the right against self incrimination. A failure to do so prevents the guilty plea’s use in the future. Similarly, if the defendant is representing himself, the court must do a valid waiver of counsel. This requires the court to not only advise him his right to counsel, but to also make sure you have the educational background to understand the consequences of that decision.

Another common ground for a motion to quash is double jeopardy. The doctrine of double jeopardy says is that you cannot be prosecuted for a crime because you were already prosecuted for it.  A common example would be if you are being prosecuted as DWI second third or fourth offender in felony court but you entered a plea to a DWI first offense at your arraignment for the same arrest in City Court. This can happen as it takes time for the state to obtain certified convictions records. Sometimes, entering a quick plea is beneficial. When this occurs, the state is prohibited from prosecuting you for the higher level offense provided that there is an adjudication of the offense in another court.

In the event that one of on one of your underlying offenses is quashed then the state can still proceed and prosecute you for the lower level offense. The benefits of filing the motion to quash are obvious: the charge is reduced and the potential penalty is lessened. When cases are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, this has the effect of eliminating person’s exposure to significant time in jail.

Can You Be Prosecuted For A DWI If You Didn't Take Any "Tests"?

There is a common myth that your DWI arrest will be reduced to a lesser charge if you refuse to take the breath testor perform the field sobriety tests. This simply isn’t so. In many instances there is additional evidence that the police can rely upon to support a conviction even when you refuse these tests. For starters, the police will have the traffic infraction that they can rely upon for coming into contact with you. Here, they will argue that your manner of driving was so erratic that once could only conclude that you were impaired. Secondly it is very common for police officers to describe their interactions with you in a manner suggesting your impairment. For example, the police will claim they could smell the odor of alcohol on your breath;  your eyes are red or glassy; and that your speech was slurred. These observations are independent upon whether or not you took any of the field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer test. Thirdly, should the police officer  observe any open containers or drugs in your car that too will be documented and used as evidence to support a conviction even when you do not take any tests. Lastly, the typical DWI arrest require the police to engage the driver in their standardized questionnaire. Unfortunately, many individuals that have refused to take any of the DWI tests still answer these questions and, in doing so, admit drinking and specify the type and quantity of alcohol consumed. This is evidence that you are driving under the influence of alcohol.

It is important to keep in mind that the police are trained evidence collectors. As you can see, the police are building a drunk driving case against you the moment you were pulled over until the time you are booked into the jail. You may not have taken any tests but, unbeknownst to you, every action and question posed by the policeman is designed for you to incriminate yourself. The driver’s taking and failing the DWI tests is simply icing on the cake.  So, is there any hope in beating a drunk driving arrest? Yes.

The best defense available is relying upon the police officer’s video of your arrest if it exists. This is the closest way of making the judge or jury eye witnesses to your case. Many police dash camera’s begin recording once the police car’s lights and sirens are activated and some programs track back a minute or so beforehand allowing the view to see what the officer saw when he decided to make the traffic stop. Amazingly, the erratic driving isn’t has bad a reported by the officer and, in some instances, do not show a traffic violation at all. If the traffic stop can be challenged, the entire case can be dismissed for a lack of evidence. Also, the video allows the court to observe your actions as you approached the police officer. Did you need your car for balance? Were you swaying? Was your speech slurred? Could you engage the officer in an articulate conversation? In other words, use the video to contradict the police officer’s conclusions that you actions were consistent with someone who was drunk. Show the court that your actions were normal. In essence, use the video to win the credibility war between your profession of innocence and the cops’s conclusion of your guilt.

If the video is helpful and you refused to take any of the DWI tests, you place yourself into the best position to obtain either a charge reduction or an acquittal of your DWI arrest.

Understanding The Surgical Options For You Back Injury

Surgical Procedures For Back Injuries

Back pain is very common and can be debilitating; whether minor or major, it can stop you in your tracks and keep you from enjoying a fully functioning lifestyle. This includes lost work time and the inability to enjoy time with family and friends. Left untreated, it can cause other issues. The following are statistics from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) on back pain.

  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
  • One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.
  • Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.

Although back pain can stem from back injuries due to a wide range of reasons, they are also the most common injury in car accidents. According to a website about car accidents, “The impact of a car accident and the resulting torque on the bodies of drivers and passengers can cause back injuries such as a sprain, strain, fracture, disc injury, thoracic spine injury, lumbar radiculopathy, and lumbar spine injury.” These injuries are serious because the back is such a large muscle, and plays such a vital role in the movement and support of the body; likely resulting in surgical procedures when conventional treatments such as physical therapy, injections, or acupuncture don’t work.

The goal of back surgery is to relieve or eliminate pain caused by the injury and have many benefits and risks. Benefits include better mood, better physical fitness, less need for pain medication, ability to return to work, and increased productivity at work. Not all patients respond well to back surgery, and the risks include: reaction to anesthesia or other drugs, bleeding, infection, blood clots, heart attack, stroke, recurrent dis herniation, and nerve damage. Nerve damage can result in weakness, paralysis, pain, sexual dysfunction, or loss of bowel or bladder control. The various options for surgical procedures are:

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is one of the most common type of back surgery. The vertebrae are fused together, restricting movement between the bones and nerves, which reduces or eliminates pain.


In this procedure, surgeons remove parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back, which relieves pressure on the spinal nerves that may be causing pain or weakness.


During this procedure, a surgeon will cut away bone at the sides of the vertebrae to widen the space where nerve roots exit the spine. The enlarged space is intended to relieve pressure on the nerves, resulting in pain relief.


The cushion that separates vertebrae in the spine can be shifted when injured. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves and cause pain. In this procedure, the surgeon removes all or part of the discs with a large or small incision from the outside of the body. This procedure compliments other surgeries.

Disc Replacement

The surgeon replaces damaged spinal discs with an artificial one between the vertebrae. This procedure has gained popularity as an alternative to spinal fusion, and permits continued motion of the spine; resulting in shorter recovery time than spinal fusion.

Epidural Injections

Although not considered a surgery, this alternative treatment is a steroid injection to help reduce swelling and pain. Often times, this is enough to relive the pain from injury, however, it’s usually the initial treatment and if it doesn’t work, surgery or other interventions may be needed.

Back pain is a real consequence of injury or car accidents no matter the circumstances or who is at fault. Because the back is at the core of the body, surgery is often needed to treat the injury and relieve the pain. Some surgeries result in structural changes of the spine and many require a recovery period. Some may require additional physical therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and overall functionality; and in some cases, one surgery may not be enough. Because the back is so large, the variables and responses vary by person and injury severity, so it is always important to seek and follow doctor advice.