Car Accident Back Injury Settlements

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Car Accident Back Injury Settlements

Many factors determine insurance claim settlements and lawsuit payouts for back injuries caused by a car accident. The severity of injuries is a major component in payment amounts and often requires the help of a car accident lawyer to maximize compensation. We've handled a significant number of cases that involve disc injuries or spinal cord damage, and when you're talking about your ability to get adequate medical care and pay your bills, experience matters.  

Back injuries are a common issue after a car accident and can range from mild annoyance to severe, life-altering conditions that require surgery and long-term medical care. If you're concerned about your ability to get compensation for a car accident that's resulted in considerable damage to your back, Morgan and Morgan Law Firm might be able to make a meaningful difference in your financial and medical outlook. But first, let's take a look at the many factors that affect these kinds of legal matters.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • Why Can Back Injuries Be So Debilitating?

    The spinal cord and the brain work in tandem and make up the central nervous system. The spinal cord is encased in a column protected by ring-like bones called vertebrae. In between the individual vertebrae are discs filled with a gel-like substance that perform the function of shock absorbers. The spinal cord is a complex system of nerves that control messages that impact movement, sensory organs, and other bodily functions of which we're not usually conscious.

    When the spinal cord is damaged in any way, it can result in loss of mobility, feeling, and function. Severe spinal cord injuries don't necessarily mean the spinal cord has been severed. In fact, damage can occur while the spinal cord is still whole, but the victim still suffers from pain and loss of mobility. While other back injuries, such as ruptured discs and pinched nerves, usually aren't as consequential, these conditions can still cause pain, numbness, weakness, inconvenience, and aggravation.

  • What Kind of Back Injuries Are Usually Associated With Car Accidents?

    Neck and back injuries are common in car accidents. While a seatbelt may save your life, being restrained upon impact typically causes severe strain on the neck and can cause injuries to the spine. When extreme forces are at play, such as in a motor vehicle collision, serious and painful damage can occur, such as the following:

    Soft tissue injuries - Damage to soft tissues from a car accident can include tears to back muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and sprains and strains of the neck and back. These kinds of injuries can result in tenderness, stiffness, muscle spasms, and substantial pain.

    Herniated discs - Ruptured, slipped, or herniated discs are typical injuries that result from a car accident. The force of an impact can cause the discs of the spine to slip from their position, rupture, or crack, leading to intense pain.

    Fractured or dislocated vertebrae - Commonly caused by vehicle accidents, a broken back can lead to paralysis, especially if it's a major fracture. That's why it's crucial never to move if you suspect a spinal injury until a medical professional can stabilize the area.

    Spinal cord injuries - In the most serious instances, a spinal cord injury victim could die as a result. Injuries to the spinal cord could also be responsible for paralysis, loss of sensation, chronic pain, and other serious complications and life-changing issues. 

  • What kinds of car accidents are commonly associated with back injuries?

    Any type of car accident can cause a back injury, but the mechanics of the type of accident may be more heavily linked to certain kinds of back injuries. Here are a few examples:

    Head-on collision - Head-on or frontal impact accidents are often the most serious. In fact, this type of accident causes more fatalities than any other. In a head-on collision, the head and torso are violently tossed forward, but the head may move further because it's not restrained by a seatbelt. Tears, herniation of spinal discs, and spinal cord damage are common.

    Rear-end accidents - When the vehicle you're traveling in is struck from behind, the body is pushed backward and upwards, putting pressure on vertebrae and discs. At the same time, the head is jarred forward, which can result in whiplash and damage to discs, vertebrae, ligaments, and the spinal cord.

    Side-impact accidents - Generally, occupants that are on the side where the impact occurs are more seriously injured than those on the opposite side of the car. In this instance, the body moves side to side rather than backward or forward. Again, the seatbelt largely holds the occupant in place, but the head, neck, and torso are violently jostled about, which can cause substantial damage to the neck and back.   

    The area of impact and the speed at which you and the other party's vehicle are traveling all factor into back injuries. Higher speeds usually mean more severe injuries. Likewise, the type of vehicle that hits you can play a part. For example, commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers can cause substantially more significant injuries compared to standard passenger vehicles. Additionally, the type of vehicle you're in can have consequences. Some vehicles are more prone to roll over in the event of an accident, such as SUVs, because they are more top-heavy.

    In a rollover accident, the body is tossed around in different directions, and your head is more likely to hit the roof of the vehicle, all of which can cause neck and back damage.

  • How Are Back Injury Settlements Determined?

    Wondering how much you can expect from your back injury claim is a common question. However, it's one that is difficult to answer without knowing the specific facts surrounding the accident and the extent of your injuries. When you contact us for a free case evaluation, we'll be better equipped to determine what your case might be worth. When it comes time for a payout, the type of injuries, who is at fault for the accident, insurance policy limits, and where you live all impact the amount of a settlement offer you can expect. Chiefly, the type of injury sustained will determine the value of your claim. Here are some examples:

    Spinal cord injuries - Damage to the spinal cord is one of the most serious injuries, and thus, likely to be worth more because of the expenses involved in medical care and the impact on your quality of life. Insurance is another key factor because policy limits will likely determine the amount that is available. Generally, spinal cord injury settlements are the most substantial, and it's not unusual for our clients to receive million-dollar settlements.

    Disc injuries - A herniated disc injury is generally worth more than a ruptured or bulging disc because the latter two conditions are frequently resolved with physical therapy and prescription medications, whereas, a herniated disc may require surgery. Often, settlements are subject to whether there were any pre-existing back problems, what course of treatment is required (the need for surgery raises the amount), test results, and the level of pain and disruption the back injury causes in your day-to-day life. While surgical intervention increases settlement amounts, it's important to consider the real health dangers surgery introduces. Alternatively, the cost of surgery to alleviate debilitating back pain and loss of bodily function is something we would fight hard for the other party to cover.

    Injuries that do not require surgery - Soft-tissue and whiplash injuries that may require steroid injections, physical therapy, pain medication, and rest are generally at the bottom of the scale for settlements. Still, we understand that having to attend doctor's appointments, getting painful injections, and suffering from miserable back discomfort should warrant a reasonable settlement. However, insurance companies tend to put up a fight which may result in the need for a trial to win meaningful compensation.

    When it comes to injuries that are difficult to diagnose, even with medical testing, such as back pain, it may be an uphill battle to win the compensation you deserve. That's why working with a car accident lawyer with extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies is crucial. Pre-existing injuries are another issue that insurance adjusters love to fixate on since it downplays the extent of their policyholder's responsibility. Still, even if you have a pre-existing back problem, that doesn't absolve the policyholder of all liability for additional damage.

    These kinds of negotiations or civil lawsuits may require an expert medical witness to sufficiently explain the difference between your pre-crash and post-crash condition. That's where working with a large law firm, such as Morgan and Morgan, with a vast network of resources, including expert medical witnesses, can help you be successful. Just this last year, we've successfully resolved over 70,000 cases for our clients.

  • What Can I Include in Damages for a Car Accident Back Injury Claim?

    When you've suffered a back injury in a car accident, you may wonder what kind of damages you can expect to include. Here are examples of damages we routinely recommend our clients pursue:

    Economic Damages

    Lost wages - if your injuries prevent you from working for any amount of time
    Medical expenses - including ambulance fees, emergency room visits, hospital stays, doctor's appointments, medications, physical therapy, surgery, medical devices, etc.

    Non-economic Damages

    Pain and suffering - to compensate you for having to endure the discomfort and emotional distress of your injuries
    Loss of enjoyment of life - to compensate for the impact your injuries have made on your ability to enjoy living your life and also, to provide compensation for not being able to be involved in activities you once took pleasure in.

  • What Can I Expect During the Settlement Process?

    When the wrongful actions of another person cause you harm, you have a right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. This can be done through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, most claims are settled out of court. We will work with the other party's insurance company to negotiate the most for your settlement. Still, if we cannot come to an agreement, and we believe your case is worth more, the next step is to file a lawsuit. Generally, when an insurance company is notified of our intent to take matters to court, negotiations have a good chance of starting again. Even so, if we're not satisfied with the offer they come up with, we will advance with the lawsuit.

    If you agree on a settlement, that is the end of the legal journey, and you can expect a settlement check in about six weeks. It's essential to have the guidance of an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure you get paid for all of your current and future expenses linked to your back injury. Morgan and Morgan can provide you with the capable legal guidance you need.

    Contact us today for a free case evaluation to get started.

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