There is no average settlement for any car accident injury because damages are tailored to each case depending on your costs and needs. Back and neck injuries can also range from temporary to permanent, minor to severe. Understanding what your settlement may look like requires understanding how your injury has impacted your life.
Medical Factors that Can Impact Your Settlement Amount
While a common consequence of car accidents, neck and back injuries affect each person differently. Your medical history, the events of the crash, and extenuating circumstances in your life can impact both your injury and the settlement you can receive as a result. Damages can be determined based on:
- Severity of injury
- Length of injury
- Pre-existing conditions
For example, rear-end collisions often cause whiplash, forcing victims to miss work while they recover. However, even this common injury can impact each person differently and cause variations in the settlement amount. Minor whiplash may resolve in a few days, while more serious cases may require chiropractic and massage therapy, as well as stronger prescription painkillers.
Moreover, someone who has suffered whiplash before may experience greater pain and a longer recovery time and face challenges in proving how the most recent incident aggravated the injury. Likewise, someone with a pre-existing neck or spine condition may receive different damages than someone with an otherwise healthy neck.
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Whiplash Can Make Your Damages Claim More Complicated
Through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, we can help you pursue damages that reflect your exact injury rather than a generic sum. Complicating the situation further is the fact that whiplash can encompass many of these injuries, such as sprains or tears, but is still its own injury. The Rochester Medical Center calls whiplash poorly understood, as it involves so many mechanisms in the neck.
Seeking medical treatment and legal help can establish a clearer picture of exactly what you suffered, which then allows us to seek compensation that matches that suffering.
You Need to Account for Long-Term Care as well as Your Current Injury
Similarly, back injuries can range from temporarily uncomfortable to permanently debilitating. Damages are meant to cover both current expenses and future costs and losses. Spinal cord injuries require stays in hospitals and care facilities, with the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) estimating 11 days of acute hospital care and 31 days in a rehabilitation center.
That is just the immediate expense, not including long-term care. Even soft tissue or disk injuries carry the risk of recurrence later—something damages can take into account.
As a result, comparing a minor neck strain to a fractured vertebra or a back sprain to a spinal cord injury is not helpful in understanding your possible settlement amount. Your injury reflects what happened specifically to you, and so should your damages.
Non-Economic Damages Can Impact Your Settlement Amount
Medical costs are considered economic losses — they are a specific amount of money you paid for bills related to the injury. Non-economic losses are also a part of your settlement and can vary as well, depending on your circumstances. Damages for these losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Changes to lifestyle
- Lost income
- Changes to your ability to work
- Loss of consortium (companionship)
The pain and suffering awarded to someone with a permanent spinal cord injury will be vastly different than those awarded to a whiplash victim. Likewise, our team can help determine how your neck or back injury will impact your work and independence. Part of this process may involve consulting medical specialists, actuaries, and other experts to fully understand what income you are likely to lose over your lifetime as a result of a permanent injury.
Don’t Forget Your Dependents in Your Claim
Family is not neglected in calculating a settlement. Dependents will be considered in your compensation, as their financial well-being is tied to your health. Likewise, settlements can offer damages for loss of consortium — changes to your intimate relationship with your spouse or your ability to interact with other family members.
Settling or Going to Trial
Your personal choice to settle with an insurance company or liable party out of court can also impact how much you receive. The settlement amount is frequently a reason cases proceed to trial, especially if the liable party’s offers are too low to accommodate your needs and losses. A higher settlement may be awarded by a judge or jury, but the ultimate amount is out of your control if you go to court.
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Our Attorneys Can Help Assign a Value to Your Case
We understand wanting to know the average settlement amount for neck or back injuries after a car accident, but the goal of compensation after an injury is not average—it’s personal and directly related to what you suffered. Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today at (337) 777-7777 to learn more through a free consultation.