If you have sustained a back injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be owed compensation for your damages. You might have no idea what an average settlement for a back injury sustained in a car accident looks like, but it is important that you know your legal rights.
Back injury settlements in Florida can range from extremely high amounts to more modest settlements and will be based on the circumstances that lead to your individual injury as well as the severity of it. To ensure that you are awarded a fair and full compensation settlement, speak to an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
At The Law Place, our car accident lawyers have over seventy-five years of combined experience. They can use their skills to help you to achieve the best possible results in your case and provide you with valuable support and advice.
Car Accidents and Back Injuries
Car accidents, especially serious ones, can leave victims with a number of different damages and injuries, including injuries to the neck or back. In many cases, back pain caused by soft tissue injuries is extremely debilitating, and victims are often required to undergo significant amounts of treatment. A serious back injury sustained in a car accident can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Common car accident injuries include spinal cord injuries, whiplash, herniated discs, and soft tissue injuries.
What Can Influence Back and Neck Injury Settlements?
If you are suffering from back pain following a car accident, you are not alone. Back injuries are very common in these types of accidents. However, it is not easy to give an idea of an average settlement for a car accident back or neck injury, as it will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. Minor back and neck injuries often warrant lower settlements, while major back and neck injuries typically result in larger settlements.
A fair settlement offer should pay for all of the victim’s accident-related expenses and compensate them for any ongoing pain, suffering, and inconvenience. For example, if you have sustained a significant injury to your back, such as a spinal cord injury, your medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of rehabilitation will add up quickly. Therefore, victims who sustain injuries that require more treatment and healing will be awarded higher settlements compared with victims who have sustained relatively minor injuries.
What Are the Most Common Injuries That Result in Back Pain?
Car accidents can result in a variety of back and neck injuries because the spine is made up of three regions:
- The cervical vertebrae (the neck).
- The thoracic vertebrae (the upper back).
- The lumbar vertebrae (the lower back).
These areas are constructed by muscles, tendons, vertebral discs, nerves, and ligaments. Some common examples of back or neck injury resulting from auto accidents include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is the most serious injury you can sustain in a car accident and can cause permanent damage and disability. When a collision occurs, your spinal cord could suffer bruising, lacerations, or other damages from the extreme force and pressure. A spinal cord injury can cause permanent nerve damage and even paralysis. Victims who sustain a spinal cord injury will require urgent medical attention, surgery, and long-term physical therapy.
Many auto accidents cause herniated discs. Spinal discs are the rubbery cushions that separate the vertebrae and protect your spine. A herniated disk is an injury that consists of the rubbery cushions or spinal discs that sit between the individual bones, breaking out and compressing the spinal cord nerves. This nerve compression is extremely painful for victims and can last several months or even years.
Whiplash is probably the most common auto accident-related injury. When a car accident occurs, the impact or blow causes a victim’s head to move back and forth in a sudden jolt. This sudden force stretches and damages the muscles and tendons in the neck.
Minor whiplash can heal within a few days. However, in order to ensure that your minor whiplash injury does not worsen, you will need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible following your accident. This could be at your local urgent care facility or even the hospital emergency room. A healthcare provider can then examine you and administer any necessary medical treatment or devices that you may need (e.g., a cervical collar).
Soft Tissue Injuries
Spains, strains, and tearing of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the back are known as soft tissue injuries. These injuries can result in extreme pain, stiffness, tenderness, and muscle spasms. While these symptoms tend to subside after a few weeks or months, they can last for a much longer period of time.
The extreme force caused by a collision may result in a fracture of the spine. The most common type of fracture is a compression fracture, which is caused by significant pressure and stress on the spine. Fractures can even affect the spinal cord and surrounding nerves and cause permanent damage. For this reason, they require urgent medical attention and treatment.
What Are Some of the Main Symptoms of Back Pain?
Symptoms of neck and back pain will vary depending on the seriousness of the injury. Some examples include the following:
- Short-term memory loss.
- Pain and stiffness in the upper back, neck, and shoulders.
- Burning pains in the shoulder.
- Burning pains in the neck.
- Trouble concentrating
- Depression and anxiety.
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel control.
- Chronic lifelong pain.
- Inability to control movement/body spasms.
- Loss of sensory function, such as the ability to feel heat and cold.
- Loss of normal bodily function.
- Difficulty breathing.
In many cases, a back injury has the ability to affect your life significantly, regardless of its severity. Most injuries will result in some degree of pain and discomfort and affect your ability to perform simple daily tasks, such as dressing and driving to work.
This is why if you have sustained any type of injury in an auto accident in Florida, you should consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Can Back Pain Develop After a Car Accident?
A road traffic accident, like a rear-ended accident, for example, can cause a victim’s head to jolt back and forth abruptly. This sudden movement puts the neck and spinal cord under immense strain. However, the pain that this can cause is not often felt at the time of the collision. In fact, according to the Journal of Neurology, delayed onset pain is a real and very common condition experienced by car accident victims.
Pain brought on by trauma in an auto accident sometimes develops after an extended interval. There are even cases of delayed pain occurring months or even years after a spinal cord or neck injury. In other cases, pain may gradually worsen over time. It is thought that pain that develops some time after a crash is related to evolving sensory changes, which slowly progress over time.
This is why it is so important to be checked over by a medical professional after a crash, even if you are not experiencing much pain immediately after the event. Without a medical examination, it is extremely difficult to claim compensation from an insurance company. Call The Law Place today, and we can discuss this with you during a free consultation.
How Is Liability Established in a Back Pain Settlement Case?
In a personal injury case, the court will require substantial proof that the other driver was responsible for the crash and that this directly caused your injuries. The more evidence you have of the at-fault party’s negligence, the higher your car accident settlement offer will be. A skilled lawyer will investigate your case thoroughly to prove that another driver was negligent. They will also present evidence that directly links your injuries to the at-fault driver’s actions.
How Do I Prove My Neck and Back Injury Damages?
It is not easy to prove that a victim is suffering (or will suffer long-term) from a back or neck injury – especially an injury like whiplash. These injuries are difficult to prove because they are not always easy to observe on imaging studies or picked up using diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and MRIs.
As a result, insurance companies will typically argue that:
- The accident victim in question is experiencing degenerative changes to the back and neck due to their age.
- Their pain and other symptoms are pre-existing.
- They are exaggerating the severity of their symptoms and are not in as much pain as they claim to be.
An experienced personal injury attorney will work to establish your eligibility for damages for injuries caused by a car accident. They will argue that:
- The other driver violated their legal duty of care (for example, by violating a traffic law), and this directly caused the auto accident.
- That the other driver’s negligence and carelessness was the primary cause of the accident.
- That you sustained physical injuries (including back and neck injuries), and that the accident was a direct cause of these injuries.
It is important to remember that your personal injury attorney will need to establish a causal connection between the accident and your injuries, but the accident does not need to be the only cause. The accident only needs to be one of many potential causes of your injuries. Sometimes victims have a minor back injury that is made worse by an accident and are still owed compensation in this case.
For more information about how a personal injury attorney from our law firm would establish liability in your case, call us for a free consultation.
Is It Always Necessary to See a Doctor for Neck and Back Injuries?
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident, you should always see a doctor. Some people don’t feel any pain at the time of the collision, but as mentioned, you may not experience pain from injuries like whiplash or soft tissue injuries until hours or days after an accident. Always be proactive and seek a medical check as soon as possible. Back pain that is left untreated can cause chronic pain and disability in the future.
Your primary care physician (PCP) might not be the best person to see after a crash. They might have good experience with internal health conditions, but they probably won’t have the training and experience needed to diagnose and treat common car crash injuries like whiplash. If you can, consult with a specialist who is an expert in treating the joints, spine, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
During your medical exam, a doctor will:
- Discuss the details of the accident with you, how it happened.
- Ask you where you are experiencing pain.
- Ask you when your symptoms began.
- Conduct a physical examination to assess your pain, swelling, tenderness, your muscle strength, and your range of motion.
- If necessary, arrange for imaging exams like an X-ray, MRI, and CT scan to look for internal bleeding, swelling, fractures, ruptured discs, and any other damage.
After they have performed a thorough evaluation, your doctor will offer a diagnosis and provide you with a treatment plan.
How Will a Lawyer Establish the Severity of My Back Pain?
An experienced personal injury lawyer will work to prove the severity of a neck and back injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident. To do this, they will use their skills to obtain and submit any relevant evidence. Typically, the more evidence you have to support your claim for damages, the greater your chances of being awarded a fair back injury settlement.
Some of the most crucial types of evidence in accident injury cases include the following:
Medical Expert Testimony
When it comes to proving that you are owed damages for a neck or back injury, having a medical expert on your side is crucial. You will be required to demonstrate that your injuries are linked to the crash, and a medical expert can act as an expert witness in court – and support this claim. A medical expert can be a doctor or another healthcare professional who examined you following the accident. This can significantly increase your chances of achieving a fair settlement offer.
Once your neck and back injuries have been treated, your attorney can obtain copies of your medical records, bills, and any other relevant documentation from the healthcare professional that treated you. As well as helping you prove the expenses associated with your treatment, these documents can also be used as evidence of your diagnosis, determine what future treatment may be needed, and the anticipated cost of this. You should keep copies of all of your medical documentation, any physical therapy records, and any other medical bills related to the accident.
Keep a Note of Your Medical Treatment and Injuries
It is a smart idea to keep detailed notes of all of your symptoms and medical treatment following a car accident. You should use a journal to write down your pain levels, your symptoms, and how this has affected your day-to-day life. This journal may prove to be very important when it comes to expressing the severity, extent, and validity of your neck and back injuries in court. This is especially useful if you want to make a claim for pain and suffering damages.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
In addition to economic losses, a good personal injury lawyer will make a claim for any non-economic damages connected to your accident. Common examples of damages that you may be eligible to claim include:
- Medical bills – Payment for all related past, current, and future medical bills and any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the neck or back injury.
- Lost wages – Payment for any lost income if you missed work to seek medical treatment for your injuries.
- Loss of earning capacity – Payment for permanent or temporary loss of earning capacity or inability to work because of your back injury.
- Pain and suffering – Payment for all of the emotional/mental suffering and physical pain you have endured due to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Property damage – As well as injuries, you may have had to pay out for vehicle repairs or vehicle replacement. If someone was responsible for the accident, your settlement could account for this.
Any person who sustains a permanent neck or back injury or a disability in a car accident will expect a very substantial payout to account for their ongoing medical costs/ equipment, the permanent effect that their injury has had on their life, and their inability to perform everyday tasks.
How Much Is a Typical Neck and Back Injury Settlement?
As we have established, all neck and back injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents are different and range in severity. Therefore, the settlement value is determined on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, the more serious the injury, the higher the settlement offer from the at-fault person or an insurance company will be.
Something that we can say for sure is that the settlement value you have in mind for your injuries and the settlement value the insurance company has in mind is probably very different. You and your attorney will be fighting to achieve fair and full compensation for the neck and back injuries you sustained in your car accident.
The at-fault party’s insurance company, however, will do everything possible to limit your settlement payout as much as they can. Remember, insurance companies are multi-billion-dollar businesses that do not make money by paying out for injury claims. They make their money by collecting premiums from their customers and do everything they can to keep their money within the business. The insurance company will use their own experienced legal team to pick apart your case, find any pre-existing medical conditions, and limit the value of your settlement as much as possible.
Therefore, we will need to conduct an in-depth review of your individual case to give you a better idea of a settlement amount that you could expect. Contact us today for a free case review.
Can an Attorney Increase My Back Pain Car Accident Settlement?
In an ideal scenario, your personal injury case will be settled out of court. Insurance companies and everyone else involved will want to avoid a court case because they are lengthy, unpredictable, and costly for everyone. Therefore, it is in the best interests of all parties involved to negotiate a settlement out of court.
In most cases, individuals who hire a lawyer will receive a higher settlement payout. This is even after the attorney’s fees and costs have been subtracted. Because a qualified lawyer understands the structure and process of a personal injury claim, they are far better equipped to secure the maximum settlement offer through negotiations.
To find out more about how an attorney can increase your accident settlement, call The Law Place for a free consultation.
Call The Law Place for a Free Consultation
The experienced attorneys at our law firm have dedicated themselves to supporting car accident victims for over seventy-five years. We have secured millions of dollars of compensation on behalf of our clients.
Our lawyers know how insurance companies work, and they will not quit until they have secured the compensation that you deserve for the harm you have suffered due to the negligence of someone else. So let us fight for justice on your behalf.
What are you waiting for? Contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are ready to get started on your case.