Jason Stephens | July 2, 2020 | Personal Injury
Each injury case is different. You should not base the recovery for your neck and back injuries on the recovery in another case. However, some common factors influence the average settlement in all neck and back injury cases.
Neck and Back Injuries Common In Car Accidents
Back and neck injuries are some of the most common types of injuries sustained in car accidents. The injuries may involve soft tissue damage to the ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Some injuries may involve fractured or broken vertebrae in the neck or back.
Common neck and back injuries caused by car accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Herniated discs
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured vertebrae
- Spinal stenosis
- Ruptured discs, and
- Broken back or neck.
Recovery from neck and back injuries could take months or years, depending on the severity of the injury. Some individuals sustain permanent impairments and disabilities, which have life-altering consequences that impact the settlement of an injury claim.
How Do Insurance Companies Evaluate the Value of a Neck or Back Claim?
Your car accident settlement depends on several factors. The insurance company for the other driver uses factors to determine what it believes is a fair settlement. In most cases, the insurance company’s first offer to settle is well below the actual value of the claim.
Factors that impact the amount of the settlement of your neck and back injury claim include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
The average settlement for catastrophic injuries is well above the average settlement of a minor case of whiplash. The reason is that more severe injuries involve higher medical costs, more in lost wages, and potential lifelong disability. Those factors increase the value of an injury claim, which pushes up the value of any settlement offered by the insurance company.
If your physician states that you will continue to experience pain, limited mobility, or other impairment, your claim increases in value. Victims can receive compensation for future damages if they sustain a disability because of the car accident.
Degree of Liability for the Accident
If the other driver is 100 percent at fault for the car accident, you are entitled to 100 percent of the value of your injury claim. However, Texas comparative fault laws hold a victim liable for damages that the victim caused.
In other words, if you are partially to blame for the cause of your car accident, the value of your injury claims decreases. Therefore, the insurance company lowers the amount it is will to pay to settle your claim.
The Availability of Insurance Coverage
Your injury claim could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but if the at-fault driver carries minimum car insurance, your settlement could be limited to just a few thousand dollars. Car insurance limits in Texas are relatively low compared to the value of many neck and back injury claims.
However, if you have underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy, you could recover additional compensation for your neck and back injury claim from your insurance provider. If the insurance coverage that the at-fault driver is insufficient to pay your accident claim in full, your insurance company picks up the claim and pays additional compensation based on your coverage terms.
Your conduct after the car accident can impact the amount of your settlement for a neck and back injury. For example, if you apologized at the accident scene or said you were sorry for the crash, the insurance may lower the claim based on comparative fault allegations.
If you failed to follow your doctor’s treatment plan or you delayed medical care, the insurance company may lower the settlement amount. Likewise, if you posted information to social media that contradicts your claims of injury, that could hurt your chance of full compensation.
Because the steps you take after a car accident can have a significant impact on the money you receive for settlement, it can be helpful to work with a car accident lawyer who can help you avoid mistakes that decrease the amount of the settlement offer.
What Compensation Can I Receive for Neck and Back Injuries?
Neck and back injuries from a car accident vary in degree. Therefore, settlements vary. You must look at the facts and circumstances of your case.
If your injuries result in a permanent impairment and you cannot return to work, your settlement amount may increase. Likewise, if you need months of painful, intense therapy to recover from a neck or back injury, the value of your claim increases. On the other hand, if you recovered quickly and entirely from your injuries or you share in the responsibility for the crash, your settlement amount will likely be lower.
If the insurance company offers a settlement amount that is much lower than you anticipated, the best way to know if you are being treated fairly is to talk with a car accident lawyer. An attorney evaluates the claim, reviews the factors in your case, and determines a settlement that is fair based on the facts of your case.