How Much Is a Back Injury Worth in an Accident?

How Much Is a Back Injury Worth in an Accident?

If you suffered a back injury in a car accident, you must consult with an attorney to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Back injuries can have serious and lasting consequences that may require extensive medical treatment and impact your ability to work or enjoy daily activities.

Back injuries are one of the more common effects of car accidents. If someone else was to blame for your car accident injuries, they will have a legal obligation to pay you for all of your damages.

First, you must hire a car accident lawyer to prove what caused your accident and fight for you to get every dollar you deserve. Insurance companies will do everything possible to deny you total compensation, and your lawyer will stand up for your legal rights.

Hiring a lawyer does not cost you anything out of your pocket. An attorney works on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid if you do not receive a settlement or jury award.

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Back Injuries from a Car Accident

How Much Is a Back Injury Worth in an Accident

The force of the accident can cause your body to move in unnatural ways, and this sudden and violent motion can lead to back injuries.

For example, if a vehicle strikes you in a rear-end accident, your head may violently snap forward while the rest of your body remains still. This movement can cause you to suffer whiplash, which can cause you lasting back problems.

Accidents can cause the following back injuries:

  • Fractures: Thirty-three vertebrae surround your spine. One or more of these bones can break from the trauma of an accident.
  • Sprains and strains: The sudden motion of the accident can cause the soft tissue to stretch, leaving you in pain until the injury heals.
  • Herniated discs: Discs containing a gel-like substance cushion your vertebrae. The trauma of the injury can cause the gel to protrude from the disc, pressing down on your spinal column. 
  • Spinal stenosis: The trauma to the spine in the accident can cause a narrowing of the spinal column.

Symptoms of Car Accident Back Injuries

Some back injuries may go away after a few weeks with rest and rehabilitation, while many other injuries require much more. You may even need one or more surgeries and still not return to normal.

Meanwhile, you may deal with symptoms such as:

  • Shooting and burning pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Trouble standing and walking
  • Stiffness 

You can feel these symptoms enough that your back injury takes away from your quality of life, keeping you from working and leaving you in continuous pain.

Back Injuries Can Take Away From Your Quality of Life

There is a reason why back injuries are one of the more severe aftereffects of a car accident. They may not endanger your life, but you may suffer physical pain and limitations for a long time.

Any type of back injury that you suffer in an accident can be highly debilitating. Back injuries rarely go away on their own in a short period. Instead, they continue to cause you pain daily, interfering with your life and impairing your daily existence. 

You may find that you cannot work or enjoy the activities you did before the injury. Meanwhile, you might feel anxiety and depression that accompany the physical pain.

Your Damages From a Car Accident Back Injury

The legal principle in any accident case is that the responsible party must compensate you for the full extent of your injuries.

They have an obligation to pay you for:

  • Economic damages, which represent your actual financial losses associated with the injury. These damages include the medical expenses necessary to treat your injury in the past and future and the lost income you may have earned from your job. Lost income covers the money you lost from time missed from work. It also covers the loss in your earnings capacity because you suffered an injury that cuts the amount of physical work you can perform. 
  • Non-economic damages, which represent the experience that goes along with your physical injuries. The most significant component of non-economic damages includes pain and suffering. You can also get paid for things like anxiety and depression, as well as the loss of enjoyment of the life that you had before the accident. 

Medical Bills Are Considerable from a Car Accident Back Injury

Medical Bills Are Considerable from a Car Accident Back Injury

Back injuries can cost you in many ways, including the expense of getting medical treatment.

The cost of back surgeries can range from $20,000 to $200,000; the first surgery may not work. You may need multiple surgeries even to have a chance of repairing your back injury. If you need any surgery that deals with your spine, you can expect the cost of the procedure to reach $100,000.

Back injuries can have high medical costs even if you do not need surgery. Your injuries may require an extensive course of rehabilitation and therapy, and each physical therapy session can cost hundreds of dollars.

In addition, you may need to miss time for work to attend all your medical appointments. The insurance company is watching to see whether you follow up on all your treatments, but getting all the medical help you need requires that you take time from work (if you can even work at all because of your injuries).

Lost Income From a Car Accident Back Injury

Then, your back injury can take away your ability to work. If your job involves physical labor, you may be completely unable to perform your job duties. Even if you work at a desk job, maybe you cannot sit comfortably to do your work, and the sheer pain from a back injury can distract you from focusing.

You may deserve lost income even if you can continue working with your injury. 

First, you may need to take time off from work for your medical appointments. Back surgeries can involve a lengthy rehabilitation process, during which you cannot work at all.

Second, your reduced ability to work can keep you from getting raises or promotions. You can get paid for a reduced earnings capacity, even when you can still work.

Your Non-Economic Damages Can Also Be Considerable

Your Non-Economic Damages Can Also Be Considerable

While your economic losses can be considerable, non-economic losses can greatly increase the amount of your settlement. Insurance companies know full well how a severe back injury can harm you.

However, they go out of their way to deliberately minimize your injuries and their effects on you.

Much of your settlement should come in the form of pain and suffering.

Insurance companies try to calculate how much you can receive in pain and suffering damages through:

  • The multiplier method, where insurance companies will multiply your medical expenses by a certain number based on the severity of your injury. A multiplier is a very convenient shorthand for insurance companies to use, and the number they choose is never in your favor. This method of calculating your damages almost always takes you and your own experience out of the equation.
  • The per diem method, which assigns a specific dollar value to your pain and suffering for every day you endure the injury's consequences. Insurance companies often use this calculation when you have an injury that you may recover from in the shorter term. Since back injuries usually remain with you for a more extended period, they more often require the use of the multiplier method to calculate your damages.

Insurance Companies Will Always Doubt Your Reports of Your Health

One of the problems with back injuries is that they are subjective. You may have something show up on an objective test, such as an MRI, but you report your own symptoms.

Insurance companies will never rely on you as the source of your narrative, even though you are the one dealing with the pain and discomfort. They will always insist on so-called objective evidence, even though it may not exist.

Therefore, you need an attorney to help ensure that you tell your story. No matter how much the insurance company tries to take you out of the equation, the law does not allow it, and you must get compensated for what you are enduring. 

However, you must constantly prove your own damages to receive compensation. 

You face a continuous battle between you and the insurance company to ensure it realizes the severity of your back injury.

Of course, insurance companies likely know what you are going through when they see your medical records. Still, they have every financial incentive to downplay your ordeal because if they accept your story, it means that they have to pay you for the effects of your back injury.

You Can Always Negotiate With the Insurance Company

You do not have to accept the insurance company's settlement offer. Remember that agreement means that two parties must sign on the dotted line. You do not have to give your signature if the offer is not fair and reasonable.

If the insurance company is not offering you enough for your back injury, you can reject its offer and make it return to the drawing board. Insurance companies may raise their offer to you if you put pressure on them. The best way to do that is by hiring an experienced car accident lawyer who is there to fight for you.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help Your Case

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help Your Back Injury Case

A car accident attorney can help you by:

  • Reviewing your medical records and learning the full scope and extent of your injuries
  • Working with expert witnesses to quantify your damages (you must know how much your case is worth before you file a claim, so the insurance company does not catch you unaware of the value of your case)
  • Preparing the claim or lawsuit on your behalf, where you will need to back up and document your damages so you can get total compensation for them
  • Dealing with the insurance company throughout the claims process

Insurance companies often minimize the value of your claim, but an attorney will fight for your rights and ensure you get adequate compensation for your injuries

You Can Reject a Settlement Offer and Fight Back

Your attorney can say the most crucial word in your vocabulary for the claims process: No.

You have the right to reject any settlement offer that does not pay you for all the damages you have suffered, including your non-economic harms.

Insurance companies may drastically underestimate your pain and suffering damages. Thus, you need a lawyer to understand how much you deserve for your damages. Otherwise, you may settle your claim for pennies on the dollar.

Ultimately, you always have the right to file a lawsuit, regardless of what the insurance company does. The hope is that you can reach a settlement without needing a trial, but the jury can always decide your case.

Insurance companies often do not want that outcome because a jury trial can cost them more than they would have paid you in the claims negotiation process. They will have to pay for their own attorney who defends them, while your attorney does not charge you any money upfront while your case is pending.

Don't underestimate the importance of seeking legal representation for your back injury case. A trusted lawyer will provide the guidance and support you need throughout the legal process, giving you the best chance at a successful outcome.

Contact a personal injury law firm in Vero Beach to discuss your case and explore your options. Consultations are free, so take action today.