Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | February 12, 2021
If you have been hurt in a car accident, you are probably concerned about how you will recover from the financial costs associated with your injury. But how can an injury victim get what they’re owed?
This can be an important, yet tricky question to answer, especially if you have sustained a neck or back injury. Although neck and back injuries are quite common after a car accident, they are some of the most expensive in terms of rehab and recovery.
Here, we examine some of the most common examples of back and neck injuries that occur from traffic collisions. We will also discuss the factors that tend to influence the value of these claims.
Typical Neck and Back Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
The enormous force that is created by a car accident can be quite damaging to those involved. The neck and back can be especially vulnerable to harm. Because your spine runs the length of your torso, from the base of your neck to your hip bones, the force of a crash can affect the spine in a number of ways.
Any injury that involves the spine is potentially dangerous. When a spinal injury occurs, immediate medical attention should be sought.
Common examples back and neck injuries from a car accident include:
Sprains and Strains
Back and neck injuries that involve sprains or strains are typically minor. Sprains happen when ligaments — which are the connective tissues that run between bones — are overextended or torn.
Strains are injuries that result from trauma to your muscle tissue or tendons, rather than to your ligaments. One common type of neck strain from a car accident is whiplash. This condition arises when the victim’s back, neck, and head experience the impact from a crash at slightly different times. This results in the spine moving in a whipping motion.
As we mentioned above, most sprains and strains tend to be minor. Typical treatments for sprains and strains include pain relief medications and massage.
Bulging or Herniated Discs
The spinal column includes a number of vertebrae. Between these bones, there are rubbery discs that absorb normal amounts of shock and help to protect the spine. When you suffer an impact from a traffic accident, you may experience a bulging or herniated disc.
When a disc is simply bulging out of its usual place, you may not experience pain or even be aware of the damage. But when a disc has herniated, pain is likely. A herniated disc occurs when the fluid inside of the disc seeps out and puts pressure on the nerves that surround it. This can cause extreme pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Damage to the spinal cord is one of the most dangerous types of car accident injuries. A spinal cord injury is typically the result of an extreme impact on a person’s body.
Automobile collisions are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, according to research by the Mayo Clinic. These dangerous injuries can cause partial or complete paralysis, nerve damage, and more.
No matter what type of injury you have suffered in your car accident, you should speak with a qualified legal professional. A personal injury lawyer can help you to secure the financial recovery that you deserve.
Average Settlement Results for Back and Neck Injuries
There is no standardized amount that victims receive in back and neck injury settlements. All accidents and injuries are unique. Attorneys and insurance adjusters use a range of techniques to determine the value of a particular injury.
The surest way to get a sense of the amount that you can expect to receive from a settlement or verdict is to consult with an accomplished personal injury lawyer. They can discuss the various factors that will influence the value of your back or neck injury claim.
Factors that are often considered in a back or neck injury claim include:
The Nature and Severity of Injuries
Generally speaking, more severe injuries will be eligible for larger settlements or verdicts. For instance, spinal cord injuries will require more expensive and difficult treatments than a minor whiplash injury. Therefore, a larger settlement might be awarded. The long-term effects of your injuries will also influence the amount that you can hope to secure.
The Potential of Full Recovery
One of the most important variables in a personal injury case is how likely it is that you will be able to fully recover from your injuries. If you have suffered from an injury that will permanently prevent you from working or keep you from engaging in daily activities, you deserve compensation for those losses.
The Question of Legal Liability
Another factor that will influence the value of your claim is the amount of responsibility that the other party bears for causing your accident. If the other driver was distracted or speeding, this may result in a higher settlement award.
Georgia also had modified comparative fault rules with a 50% bar to recovery. This means that any degree of blame you’re assigned will affect how much money you can obtain. Your award will be adjusted downward to reflect your share of the blame. Once you’re equally or mostly to blame, you’ll forfeit the opportunity to recover any compensation at all.
While comparative fault might not affect the value of your claim, it will affect the amount of money you ultimately walk away with when your case is settled.
The primary goal of insurance providers is to pay you as little as possible for your claim. If the insurance company feels confident that you do not have enough convincing evidence to support your case, they may be uncooperative during negotiations. They may also engage in bad faith practices.
If negotiations fail, an insurance company may be fine with going to trial. Because of this, you should always collect any evidence that you can to support your version of events. Documents, pictures, medical records, and witness testimonies can all be useful tools to secure an appropriate settlement amount.
As we noted, there is no average settlement amount for neck and back injury claims. While these factors will be used to determine the value of your case, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can to find out what your case might be worth.