What Are Common Neck and Back Injuries?
Severe neck and back injuries may be defined as those that result in constant discomfort and that can result in long-term disabilities. An individual may achieve maximum medical improvement, known as MMI, and still not completely recover from their injuries.
Serious neck and back injuries include the following:
- Serious herniated discs
- Broken spinal cord, and other spinal cord injuries
- Broken neck
- Broken or slipped vertebrae
- Internal bleeding
- Severe concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Severe whiplash and soft tissue injuries
- Pinched nerves
- Chronic neck and back pain
The above injuries cause incredible pain to victims following a car crash, and they can be problems years following the accident. Indeed, enduring a severe car crash injury can change an individual’s life and even leave them paralyzed. These serious injuries happen mostly to individuals who endured one of the following:
- High-speed rear-end crash
- Truck accident
- Head-on crash
What Is the Typical Personal Injury Claim Settlement?
The average car accident settlement amount in California is $25,000 for soft tissue injuries. If there is a broken bone or spinal injury, the settlement amount may be up to $500,000. The plaintiff receives less than $25,000 or less because most personal claims are soft tissue. There is no proper standard or average settlement amount because many factors go into a settlement, e.g., insurance policy limit, type of collision, and soft tissue.
Is It Possible to Estimate a Settlement Amount for a Car Accident?
There is no one method for calculating the settlement amount of a car accident injury claim. Most insurers use a common formula to value the settlement amount: (Special damages x multiplier reflecting general damages) + lost wages = settlement amount. It is common for insurance companies and personal injury attorneys to predict a settlement amount for car accident victims. Typically, they do so according to the following method:
- Totaling up the economic losses
- Multiplying the value by between one and ten to gauge the non-economic losses
- Adding these two values together
An individual’s economic damages include the following:
- Medical expenses, including the costs for:
- CT scans
- Medical devices
- Property damage
- Expenses for future medical treatment
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
These costs are usually simple to calculate and express in dollars. They are often represented in bills for car repair expenses, medical care, and in doctor’s records or workdays missed. After economic damages have been totaled, personal injury lawyers use what is known as a multiplier. The multiplier is determined based on injuries’ severity. If an injury is minor, the amount could be 1. If an injury is severe, it can reach 10.
Neck and back injuries are usually more severe in nature. In car accidents with this type of injury, the multiplier may go upwards of 5, which leads to a bigger settlement.
Then, the multiplier is used to calculate non-economic losses in a personal injury case. Non-economic damages are losses than an individual has endured but that are hard to quantify. These include the following:
- Mental suffering
- Physical pain
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress, especially in the event of disfigurement
- Loss of life’s enjoyments
- Reduction in quality of life
An individual’s economic and non-economic losses are then combined. This creates an estimate of the monetary amount that an individual deserves to properly settle a car accident case.
However, the projected settlement amount will be diminished if there is reason to believe the victim had some responsibility for the crash.
That said, an individual’s car accident attorney and the at-fault driver’s insurer will argue both kinds of damages, as well as the proper multiplier to use. In general, victims who hire an experienced lawyer are more likely to achieve an above-average settlement than those who try to do it on their own.