If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering what it takes to achieve a successful neck and back injury settlement. You are likely also wondering about how much you can anticipate receiving.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to these questions because injuries vary, and attorneys calculate settlements based on several factors.
Our goal is to help you better understand the process and what to expect. To get started today, please contact us.
California Neck and Back Injury Settlements
Unfortunately, even low-impact collisions can cause painful injuries to the back and neck. For example, whiplash can occur at speeds as slow as 2.5 miles per hour. Injuries can last a few days or can be completely debilitating and permanent.
Let’s look at some of the most common neck and back injuries:
- Soft tissue damage,
- Herniated or slipped disc,
- Sprained or strained muscles,
- Spinal stenosis or fractures, and
- Varying degrees of paralysis.
It is not uncommon for accident victims to initially believe they are injury free or that their pain is only minor. The adrenaline from the chaos and shock of the accident can mask immediate pain. Some injuries can go undetected for days or even months before their severity is made apparent.
It is important to your neck and back injury settlement that you see a doctor as soon as reasonably possible, even if you think that your injuries are not serious.
The longer you wait, the more likely the defense is to imply or insist that your injury is unrelated to the car accident. In other words, if two months go by before you see a doctor, and you suddenly claim to have serious neck injuries, the defense will almost certainly try to deflect responsibility.
They do this by alleging that a superseding incident must have occurred during the two-month time-lapse before you saw your doctor, and that the secondary incident—and not the original accident—caused your injury.
Also, by seeing a doctor right away, they may be able to proactively determine what to expect from the injuries and provide guidance on how to properly care for yourself.
If you fail to go to a prompt exam, you could end up making your injuries worse. If you do so, the defense can claim that they are not responsible for the costs associated with your worsened condition because you are responsible for it.
What Is Involved in Your Car Accident Neck and Back Injury Settlement Amount?
If you were in a vehicle accident that someone else’s negligence caused, you should not be financially responsible for the resulting damages. There are two general types of relief you may be entitled to receive.
The actual cost associated with your injuries is considered economic damages. These are direct expenses you would not have incurred if the car accident had not happened. Here are some examples of economic damages:
- Emergency medical expenses,
- Follow-up doctor bills,
- Physical therapy,
- Medical equipment,
- Transportation to medical appointments, and
- Loss of wages.
It is important to keep an accurate record of all invoices and payments in order to calculate a fair settlement value.
Though more difficult to calculate because they are less tangible and subjective, non-economic damages are important. These are not actual financial expenses.
Instead, these damages seek to provide compensation for the negative impact that the car accident has had on your life. These may include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Anxiety and depression,
- Post-traumatic stress,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Though economic damages may help ensure you do not have financial hardship because of your injuries, you should also be compensated for other ways the accident affected you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Your car accident attorney can help you calculate the value of your claim.
Average Settlement for Car Accident with Back and Neck Injury in California
Because each case is unique, there is no average settlement amount that is meaningful. The amount you receive is heavily dependent on the severity of your injuries and other factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries,
- The amount of damage to your vehicle or other property,
- Your ability to prove the cause of the accident,
- Your percentage of responsibility for the accident,
- Whether drugs or alcohol were involved,
- The amount of insurance involved, and
- How the damage impacts your quality of life.
Back and neck injury settlements look a little different for everyone. Your attorney can help you determine the best course of action to get the compensation you deserve.
Proving Fault in California
In California, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for your injuries as well as the damage to your vehicle. California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that you can still file a claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident.
Any damages you recover will be reduced by the percentage you are deemed at fault according to California Civil Code § 1431.2.
For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault, then you have the right to collect 70% of your damages. The insurance company will undoubtedly seek to place as much of the blame on you as possible to reduce their payout.
Should You Hire a California Attorney?
Without an attorney, many car accident victims take the first neck and back injury settlement the insurer offers. Usually, this is a lowball offer meant to make the case go away cheaply.
Knowing what your case is worth and having someone to fight for a fair amount will keep you from accepting pennies on the dollar.
It is important that you are not left with unpaid bills and lasting pain from an injury without fair compensation. Once you accept a settlement offer, you cannot request additional funds. So before accepting, speak with an attorney.
At Wells Call Injury Lawyers, our award-winning attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients in California.
We can conduct an independent investigation to understand the facts and collect the evidence to back up our compensation request. Let us negotiate on your behalf and even go to trial if the insurer won’t agree to a fair settlement.
We offer free initial consultations, and we do not charge our clients a fee unless we secure a settlement or award. Contact us today to schedule your case evaluation and learn more about how we can help.