How much can you get for back injury in a car accident?
The average car accident settlement amount for a back and neck injury sustained in an auto accident ranges from $100,000 to half a million dollars. The severity of the back injury impacts the specific value of the settlement, especially if the injury requires surgery or otherwise major medical care and rehabilitation.
Back and neck are among the most common injuries received in auto accidents. Every year, hospitals report almost 900,000 cervical spine injuries resulting from auto accidents. Such an injury has the potential to seriously affect an individual’s quality of life and may leave them with expensive medical bills and perhaps lifelong disability.
If an individual has suffered a back or neck injury in an auto accident, he or she should study what factors decide their car accident settlement. Among the factors that affect the settlement value of an auto accident neck injury are the severity of the injury and the coverage limitations of the at-fault driver’s insurance. Knowing these factors can help a victim negotiate car accident settlement with the insurance company.
Common Car Accident Settlement for Neck and Back Injury
- Minor Back and Neck Injury Approximately: $12,000-$55,000
- Moderate Back and Neck Injury Approximately: $55,000-$155,000
- Severe Back and Neck Injury Approximately: $155,000-$1,000,000+
Injury type and severity
When calculating a fair car accident settlement for back and neck injury, knowing the extent of damage done by an injury is important in figuring out past medical costs and future expenses, including for therapy, treatment, and assistance devices. These costs will affect the settlement amount. Minor injuries, such as tendon and muscle strains, require only rest, compression, and ice packs. More severe injuries, such as spinal cord damage, may demand long-term and expensive care. For instance, a back and neck injury to the spinal cord could cost anywhere from $33,000 to almost $700,000 in medical care. If an individual suspects that they have a spinal cord injury after an auto accident, they may require emergency surgery to extract fragments of bone and repair herniated discs. Such treatment is not cheap or pain-free and therefore is deserving of higher settlement amounts.
Long-term medical care
When an individual suffers a back and neck injury to the spinal cord injury, they may require physical therapy and rehabilitation to relearn independence and improve their quality of life. Rehab for a spinal cord injury can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $450,000.
After a back and neck injury, an individual may spend anywhere from $30,000 to over $1 million on medical expenses in the first year. Subsequent years may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $250,000. Leg braces, wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices may help with moving around. If an individual has suffered paralysis or tetraplegia, he or she may need special devices to type, write, or use the phone. Long term care is the greatest factor for a high car accident settlement amount.
Loss of earning capacity and lost wages
Car accident settlement also factors in the time spent in the hospital for a back and neck injury. On average, victims with a back and neck injury to the spinal cord injuries spend twelve days in the hospital. Younger people between 18 and 29 stayed an average of 14 days, while older people stayed an average of ten.
A car accident back and neck injury settlement should take into account their future earning capacity if the injuries they suffered impact their ability to work. The compensation should make up for the money an individual would have made over their life has they not been injured.
Pain and suffering
If a person loses their mobility, health, or independence as a result of back and neck injury sustained in a car accident, their mental health may suffer. An injury to the spinal cord can cause anxiety, depression, and PTSD. A study of spinal cord patients found that nearly half suffered from some form of mental health disorder. In general, they had a lower quality of life which affects a car accident settlement. A settlement might include non-economic damages for pain and suffering caused by a back injury.
Dealing with insurance
If an individual receives a back and neck injury in an auto accident, they have the right to ask for a car accident settlement from the other motorist if their injury meets one of the following requirements:
- Significant and permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent loss of a significant bodily function
- Permanent injury
California follows the comparative negligence rule, which means that if a victim played any part in the accident, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. The other driver’s insurer will argue that the victim was partially responsible for their back and neck injury and therefore undeserving of so large an amount.
Working with a car accident neck and back injury lawyer can help you get the highest dollar. An attorney can prove that the other driver is at fault for the damages, as well as demonstrate how the victim’s life has suffered as a result of the financial and emotional impact of the accident. The lawyer may also refer to witness testimony and medical records to negotiate a high settlement amount.
How do you determine the severity of a back injury?
An auto accident lawyer will use evidence to obtain the highest car accident settlement for a neck and back injury claim to the insurance company. Their goal will be to show that the other driver is liable for the back injury. A few pieces of evidence assist in determining the settlement amount.
An individual can work with their attorney to collect all neck and back injury medical bills and records to back up their car accident settlement money demand. These documents should detail the diagnosis of injuries and show that the person is getting treatment following the accident. This documentation might include the following:
- Hospital stays
- Medical imaging, including CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays
- Emergency room records
- Referrals to specialists
- Physical therapy
- Medical prescription records
- Assistive devices such as wheelchairs and leg braces
- Home modifications
These neck and back injury medical records might include doctors’ notes stating the psychological impact of the injuries on the victim’s everyday life. Perhaps they now have limited mobility and cannot play sports as before. Such notes can help prove pain and suffering.
Expert testimony from medical professionals
An individual may rely on their lawyer to draw from their network of expert in neck and back injury in the medical field to obtain the highest dollar for a car accident settlement. These experts’ testimony will show that the auto accident caused the neck and back injury, and it will also prove the severity of the injuries in question to the insurance adjuster. They can also speak to the treatment plan in place, including physical therapy, rehab, and any assistive devices.
Medical treatment journal
One way of proving the severity of a neck and back injury is to maintain a treatment journal after an auto accident. By writing about one’s pain and suffering due to a back injury, a person can more easily show the impact of the accident on their daily life. A journal also allows an individual to share their emotional suffering as a result of the accident – this can be used to earn non-economic damages as part of a settlement.
What to do for back pain after car accident
If an individual is experiencing neck and back injury pain after an auto accident, they should immediately see a doctor. The physician will perform a physical exam and offer a treatment plan. If the victim suffered a serious injury, such as spinal cord damage, he or she should consider speaking with a lawyer about a car accident settlement.
How much money can you get from a back injury?
A lawyer will consider medical expenses, such as surgery, prescriptions, physical therapy, house modifications, and hospital stays when calculating a car accident settlement amount for a neck and back injury.
How do you calculate damages?
To determine pain and suffering for a car accident settlement, a lawyer will use a multiplier that ranges from 1.5 to 5 times the total cost. The attorney may assign a monetary value for each day between the auto accident and the time of maximum medical improvement, or recovery from a neck and back injury.