It's not the injury or the MRI film that determines the value of a personal injury claim. It's the financial and intangible effects on the victim's life that a jury would consider to arrive at a verdict. There is no chart that assigns settlement or jury verdict values for a disc bulge or a broken arm, etc.
For any car wreck case, the injured person can recover for "hard" damages such as medical bills, damage to the car, and lost wages. The person can also recover for "soft" damages such as mental pain and physical suffering, permanent and temporary disability, and future medical bills. They are called "soft" damages not because they are any less real, but because they are more difficult to put a value on. For a bulging disc, it depends on the amout of the pain, the amount of medical bills that have been charged, and if the pain or condition can be resolved by surgery or conservative treatments. You also have to discount the amount of recovery based on how easy or dificult it would be to prove that the other person was at fault in the accident and the injured person did not share in that fault. You also have to consider how easy or difficult it is to prove thatt he bulging disc was caused by the accident. A lot of that would depend on what prior complaints you made about back pain and if there is any evidence that a defense attorney or insurance company could argue that your disc pre-existed the mva and therefore they don't have to pay for it. Other factors would include who the insurance company is (some refuse even reasonable settlements) and what county you file in (Robeson Co. generally returns higher verdicts than Nash Co. for example).
As you can see there are a lot of factors in what you can recover and I encourage you to speak with an attorney.
As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I cannot give you specific advice as to North Carolina state law. However, generally, there is no way that a competent attorney could give you an estimate of the value of your claim based on the information that you have provided.
There are a large number of factors which go into evaluating the potential value of any case. They are too numerous to mention here. You may wish to review some of the Legal Guides which I have published on Avvo.com which deal with some of the issues you are contending with. One of the Guides deals with the various elements of damages to which you might be entitled.
I respectfully recommend that you consult with a personal injury attorney in the state where your accident occurred. An experienced attorney should be able to give you a range of potential value for your case, once he understands your medical picture, work history, earnings history, social history, the liability picture and other factors.
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