The Average Settlement for Car Accident Back and Neck Injury
Spinal cord and soft tissue injuries are the most common types of injuries sustained in motor vehicle-related accidents. These types of neck and back injuries are also very costly to victims.
In fact, damage to any part of the back or spinal canal is particularly devastating, as it causes physical impairments, psychological trauma, financial debt, and can result in permanent injury.
These reasons and more are why victims must be awarded full and fair compensation. Not sure what qualifies as full and fair compensation? Here is an overview of the average settlement amount for back and neck injuries and how an experienced personal injury attorney can assist in obtaining the maximum award.
Common Signs of Back and Neck Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are not always detectable like bone breaks or lacerations. In fact, the signs and symptoms of car accident back and neck injuries can vary depending on severity.
Regardless, it is important that anyone involved in a car crash seek immediate medical treatment. Injuries may appear minor but have the potential to become life-threatening. Here are common symptoms of neck and back injuries:
- Chronic pain in the neck or back area
- Cracking or grinding sound when moving
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Limited motor functions
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
- Ongoing fatigue
- Overall weakness
- Regular headaches or migraines
- Trouble sleeping
What Can Be Compensated in a Car Accident Back and Neck Injury Case?
When determining a fair personal injury settlement, multiple factors are taken into account. Categorized into economic damages (monetary loss) and non-economic damages (non-monetary loss), the following can be compensated in a personal injury case:
- Disability: Temporary and permanent injury can be compensated if ongoing rehabilitation, in-home assistance, or other medical treatment for long-term care is needed.
- Lost wages: This includes income that was not earned while healing from back injuries and neck injuries. Wage capacity is also taken into account if a victim is physically unable to return to work or if injuries force the victim to work for less pay in a new profession.
- Medical expenses: Any current and estimated medical care related to the neck and back injury, such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, and physical therapy fall under medical costs that can be compensated.
- Property damage: The motor vehicle and other personal belongings that were destroyed can be reimbursed, covering the cost of repairs or replacements.
- Punitive damages: Granted to victims, these forms of damage are specifically awarded to punish the guilty party for gross negligence, like drinking and driving.
Many presume that medical care and other economic losses are the only areas of compensation for back and neck injuries. However, the physical and emotional distress that victims also undergo can be compensated, in the form of “pain and suffering.”
“Pain and Suffering” in a Neck and Back Injury Settlement
In a car accident case, the legal term, “pain and suffering,” refers to the physical and emotional agony a victim is suffering from.
The impact of pain and suffering on victims’ mental well-being, physical health, and personal lives are vital components in determining a motor vehicle accident settlement. Examples include:
- Emotional distress: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, anger, and fear
- Lost quality of life: inability to work, partake in hobbies, or participate in activities that were once enjoyable
- Physical health problems: regular back discomfort, neck pain, or other ongoing ailments caused by a serious injury
Factors That Affect the Worth of a Back and Neck Injury Settlement
Compensation to injured victims will vary depending on case specifics. Because every car accident is unique, the settlement will also be unique and based on the sustained losses.
An experienced car accident lawyer carefully reviews these case details to assess the value of each personal injury claim. Factors that affect the average settlement amount of back or neck injuries are:
- A victim being partially at fault
- Accumulated lost wages
- Government vehicles being involved
- Number of parties involved
- Physical therapy being needed to rehab spinal cord injuries
- Rideshare company, like Uber or Lyft, being involved
- Severity of the neck and back injury
- State traffic laws
- Total amount of medical bills
Evidence for Proving Neck and Back Injury Damages
In order to recover a fair settlement, it must be proven that a back or neck injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident. Evidence that can be compiled following the car accident that indicates severe injuries were sustained includes:
- Cost of medical care from bills, receipts, and invoices
- Medical records that document the types of neck and back injuries suffered
- Documentation that medical treatment was administered
- Testimonies from expert witnesses, like doctors and medical specialists
In addition to presenting evidence for car accident damages, it must also be proven that the other driver’s negligence caused the car accident. This type of evidence can be collected from the accident scene and consists of:
- Eyewitness testimonies
- A police report that includes the date and time of the event, injuries sustained, and statements from all involved parties
- Photographs from the accident scene, including images of injuries, vehicle damage, street signs, road conditions, etc.
The Cost to Treat a Spinal Cord Injury and How It Affects the Average Settlement Amount
Serious car accidents that result in a spinal cord injury or another severe neck injury significantly impact car accident victims’ lives. For instance, a neck or back injury can put someone in medical debt due to costly medical expenses; however, those expenses can be compensated through a successful personal injury claim.
The accumulation of medical bills directly correlates with the average settlement victims have recovered in the past. As it stands, medical costs to treat car accident injuries range from approximately $300 to $600,000.
The Global Burden of Disease Study estimates that over one million people in the US are affected by a traumatic spinal cord injury, and the national cost to treat related injuries is $1.7 billion. More specifically, neck and back injuries can accumulate to:
- $19,00 to $400,000 for inpatient rehabilitation
- $32,000 to $1,100,000 during the first year after sustaining neck and back injuries
- $4,500 to $250,000 during the ensuing years
When personal injury claims are filed, claimants are given the opportunity to recover any out-of-pocket expenses that have already been paid out, as well as recover compensation for being hindered by the back and neck injury.
The Average Settlement for Car Accident Back and Neck Injury Cases
The average settlement amount that car accident victims may recover for soft tissue and tendon injuries typically starts at $10,000 and may increase if surgery is needed or if injuries prevent victims from working. State laws may also impact the value of a neck or back injury settlement.
According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, the median personal injury settlement for a spinal cord injury case is $100,000. However, the value of a case can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. Again, this is all dependent on sustained damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.).
Other sources have found that the average settlement amount for a spinal cord injury or related back injury ranges from $100,000 to $500,000. Ultimately, the more damages suffered, the higher the case value.
As a result, the insurance company will be adamant and determined to reduce a case’s value as much as possible. This is why it’s vital to take certain precautions after an accident and to seek strong legal representation from qualified personal injury lawyers for car accident cases.
What Should I Do After Suffering a Back and Neck Injury?
Following a car accident, always seek medical attention. Doing so can prevent a back or neck injury from progressing. Additionally, it improves case odds when a personal injury claim is eventually filed.
It’s also important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A car accident attorney assists victims understand their legal rights and can negotiate a fair neck and back injury settlement on their behalf. Additional steps to take are:
- Get immediate medical attention. The sooner you seek medical attention, the more your neck and back injury case will benefit. Keep copies of all of your medical records, indicating that a spinal cord injury was sustained and that treatment was sought to heal from such an injury.
- Report car accidents. The statute of limitations sets time limits on when lawsuits may be filed. Some states, like Colorado and Washington, permit a three-year maximum, while other states like Arizona and Nevada only allow a two-year limit to file. Once the time expires, legal action can no longer be taken.
- Document everything. Keep a journal of your injuries and symptoms, as well as any medical treatment or physical therapy underwent. Note how the neck pain or back injury has affected mobility. Also, take note of how these serious injuries have affected your mental well-being.
- Stay consistent. Ensure follow-ups are attended regularly, as missing appointments can affect the physical recovery of a spinal cord injury. Neglecting treatment can also reduce personal injury settlement amounts, as it may appear to insurance companies that serious injuries were not actually sustained.
- Hire a personal injury attorney. Experienced personal injury attorneys will help you understand your legal rights and options. Legal representation also keeps victims protected from the other party’s insurance company who may try to avoid paying a fair back or neck injury settlement.
Help From a Top Rated Car Accident Lawyer
Those who work with personal injury attorneys are twice as likely to recover a maximum neck or back injury settlement. A car accident attorney can review your case and provide an estimate of your case’s worth. But don’t settle for just any attorney; choosing the right attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
Alpha Accident Lawyers maintains a 99% success rate, and our legal team fights to get our clients the maximum compensation they deserve. To inquire about our legal services or to obtain a case estimate, please, schedule a free consultation today.