Average Settlement for Car Accident Neck and Back Injury
There isn’t an average settlement for car accidents that result in neck and back injuries. How much you can recover is unique to your situation. The severity of your condition, your estimated recovery period, and other factors will play a role in your case’s value.
You don’t have to play a guessing game when it comes to determining what constitutes a fair settlement. Instead, you can entrust your case to a car accident lawyer. They can analyze your case, determine the liable parties, and seek what you deserve.
Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Neck and Back Injury Case
It’s difficult to predict settlement for neck and back injuries in a car accident without knowing the facts of the case. When you have an attorney evaluate your situation, you learn about the different types of recoverable damages. They’re generally split into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages have verifiable financial values. Non-economic damages are more subjective.
Recoverable damages in your case could comprise:
Neck and back injuries can range in severity, requiring extensive treatments. These injuries could include soft-tissue tearing, fractures, herniated discs, or spinal cord injuries. If you sustained a soft-tissue injury, your healing journey could conclude quicker than if you sustained a spinal cord injury.
In any case, you could still require treatment to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Compensable losses through a claim or lawsuit may include:
- Emergency medical services at the accident scene
- Transportation to the hospital
- Emergency room care once you arrive at the hospital
- Long hospitalizations after a surgical procedure (if applicable)
- Diagnostic testing to determine the level of injury you sustained
- Continuous medical care to treat your injuries
- Rehabilitative treatments to assist with strengthening your muscles and improving your level of independence
- Any medications you require to treat pain or improve your injuries
You could seek compensation for anything that falls under the umbrella of medical expenses.
If you cannot work for any amount of time after you sustained a neck or back injury, you could seek compensation for lost:
- Freelance jobs
Your lawyer may use your employment records to arrive at a fair value. They may also consult with professionals in your employment field to gain further insight.
The Cost of Repairing or Replacing Your Vehicle
The accident could have totaled or severely damaged your car. This could leave you in dire straits if you rely on that vehicle to get from point A to point B. Your claim could include compensation for the cost of any necessary repairs or replacement. You could also include the cost of using public transportation or rideshare services in your case’s value.
Other Monetary Expenses
A settlement can include more than your medical bills and lost income; it can account for anything you spent out of pocket.
You could seek reimbursement for:
- Travel expenses: To see a specific specialist, you might have to travel far away to receive the medical treatments you need. If you acquire hotel bills or large gas bills, you could include those losses in your claim. Keeping receipts of these purchases can prove you incurred these injury-related costs.
- Daily living expenses: If your neck or back injury has left you in a condition where you cannot take care of your daily needs, you could have to hire someone to help you. Hiring someone to help you perform daily activities, such as bathing, eating, or getting dressed, can cost a lot out of pocket. Keep a log of how often you require these services so you can seek compensation.
- Home and car modifications: If your injuries leave you wheelchair-bound, modifications to your home could be necessary. Modifications could include a wheelchair ramp, widening walkways, or putting a lift in your vehicle. Receipts of these costs are an easy way to prove you suffered these losses.
- Childcare costs. Suffering a neck or back injury could prevent you from supervising your children. If you had to arrange for daycare or hire a nanny, you could include those costs in your settlement’s value.
Having strong evidence can prove you deserve compensation for other out-of-pocket expenses.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage that reflects your condition’s effect on your life. Many states do not limit how much you can seek for pain and suffering, so there’s no telling how much you can recover. Your car accident lawyer will consider many things when evaluating what you rightfully deserve.
Your psychological hardships are just as important as your physical injuries. You could include compensation if the collision caused you to suffer:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anger issues
- Sleeping problems
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If your injuries affect your ability to socialize, exercise, or partake in basic activity, you could seek loss of enjoyment of life in your claim. Like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life is a non-economic damage, and it doesn’t have an inherent dollar value.
How much you can seek for this expense depends on:
- Your age when you sustained injuries
- Your estimated recovery period
- Your activity level before the accident
- Whether you can live independently
You Have a Limited Time to Pursue a Settlement After a Car Accident
Depending on where you live, you could have a very short time to file your lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you lose the right to file a lawsuit, you could lose the right to seek compensation at all. For instance, if you live in Arizona, you generally have two years to file a car accident lawsuit, per ARS § 12-542.
It’s in your best interest to consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. With ample time, they can adhere to the state’s filing deadline and build a strong case. Prompt action also gives them the chance to locate time-sensitive evidence, such as traffic camera footage and eyewitness testimony.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Seek the Full Cost of Your Damages
When you hire a car accident attorney, they can manage your case’s many obligations, from gathering evidence to interviewing witnesses. They can also calculate your damage and fight for a fair outcome. An attorney can advocate for what you need by:
Identifying the Accident’s Cause
Through an investigation, your attorney can determine what caused the accident.
They may find that one or more of the following factors led to the collision:
- Risky driving: Law enforcement agencies across the country define risky driving as any behavior that could increase the likelihood of causing a car accident. Risky driving behaviors include excessive speeding, drowsy driving, drunk driving, and failing to wear a seatbelt.
- Distracted driving: Those same agencies would describe distracted driving as any activity that takes the driver’s attention from driving. The three types of distractions include cognitive, manual, and visual.
- Poor road conditions: The government must ensure that roads are safe for public use. Allowing potholes, uneven lanes, or other hazards to exist could make an agency liable for any resulting accidents.
- A vehicular malfunction. There have been hundreds of millions of cars recalled. However, sometimes, a recall doesn’t happen until multiple accidents happen. If faulty brakes or another malfunction led to the accident, you could have the groundwork of a product liability claim.
Building a Case Against the At-Fault Party
To hold another party liable for your injury-related losses, you generally must prove negligence. This requires showing that because the other party acted recklessly, you suffered neck and back injuries in a collision.
Proving negligence requires your lawyer to establish:
- Duty of care: The other driver owed you a legal duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner.
- Breach of duty: The driver breached their duty of care by driving in a way that endangered those around them.
- Causation: Because another motorist violated their duty of care, you were injured in a collision.
- Damages: You suffered damages because of the at-fault driver’s negligence. Damages can include many of the losses listed above, such as lost income and healthcare expenses.
Serving You on a Contingency-Fee Basis
You may worry about your finances after suffering a car accident. That’s why many car accident lawyers extend their help on a contingency-fee basis. These arrangements allow you to hire a lawyer without paying a dollar upfront or out of pocket. Many lawyers also offer free case reviews where you can discuss your situation and learn about the benefit of seeking legal assistance.
How Can I Get a Settlement After Suffering a Back or Neck Injury?
The best steps for your situation depend on, well, your situation. In general, however, you could bolster your case’s outcome by:
Documenting Your Losses
You deserve compensation for each way the accident has affected your life. To help your lawyer understand the range of your expenses, keep track of them.
You could do this by:
- Holding onto all injury-related receipts
- Referring all settlement offers to your lawyer
- Jotting down your out-of-pocket expenses in a journal
You may wonder how you can document non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Your lawyer may recommend keeping a pain journal where you document your day-to-day recovery period. They may also suggest taking photos of your injuries, so you can demonstrate the severity of your condition to the liable insurer.
Refusing to Give a Recorded Statement
Even if you have a solid case, the liable insurance company may ask for a recorded statement. This is not your chance to tell your side of the story. Instead, this is the representative’s chance to downplay your injuries. You don’t have to worry about giving a recorded statement when you entrust your case to a car accident lawyer. They can handle all communications with the insurer and advocate for the best possible outcome.
Limiting What You Post on Social Media
After suffering a serious accident, you may want to update your friends and family about your collision on social media. This is not in your best interest because the claims adjuster could see your posts and question your condition. You don’t want to give the other party any reason to downplay your situation and offer less compensation than you need.
Completing Your Recommended Treatment Plan
When you visit a care provider, they’ll recommend a course of treatment that aims to help you reach MMI. It’s in your best interest to adhere to this plan. Not only do you want to recover, but you don’t want to give the insurer a reason to deny your case. You want to show that you did everything possible to better your condition and deserve the compensation you’re requesting.
Consider Partnering With a Car Accident Lawyer
Going through the claims process without a car accident attorney could quickly prove tiring. When you hire an attorney, not only do you gain the support of someone with legal knowledge, but you also can gain confidence about your case’s outcome. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
As noted, you have a limited time to compel compensation from the at-fault party. With this information in mind, get legal help at your earliest convenience.