Neck injuries can be very dangerous. You may not notice the symptoms straight away, but even a minor neck injury can have a significant impact on your life.
If you experienced a neck injury in a car accident, you're probably wondering what settlement you can get.
Schmidt & Clark lawyers have been helping car accident victims for almost three decades. Today we’ll explain everything you should know about getting a neck injury settlement.
Summary of the Key Findings
- The most common injury a car accident victim experiences is whiplash. This is considered a minor injury, but more severe injuries can also happen.
- The amount of settlement you can get for a car crash depends on several factors.
- You have to prove cause for neck injury damages by submitting documents to the insurance company, such as medical and police reports.
Neck Injuries After the Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car incident, you should get immediate medical attention, even if you don’t feel any symptoms. Car accidents can cause various injuries, from minor whiplash to spinal cord damage.
The only way to establish the full extent of your injury is to get an MRI and a CT scan.
Whiplash injury is the most common car accident neck injury, and it usually happens in a rear-end collision. There’s a whipping motion as the car is hit, and the neck moves forward and backward.
“Whiplash is also known as Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD), and it’s caused by a sudden jolting of the neck and shoulders. It’s most often associated with rear-end car accidents.” Injury Claim Coach, Youtube Channel
Whiplash is known as soft tissue injury because as the head and neck move rapidly, the soft tissue in the neck is strained. Whiplash commonly affects the muscles in the upper back and neck, and there is no bone fracture.
Occasionally, whiplash symptoms aren't obvious right away, and they can take time to develop. You may feel fine after the vehicular incident but get a headache later on.
Whiplash Injuries Symptoms
The most common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Having problems sleeping
- Blurred vision
- Not being able to concentrate
- Ringing in the ears
- Stiffness in the upper back and neck
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
Also read: What is the Average Whiplash Injury Settlement Ammount?
2. Fractured Vertebrae
Fractured vertebrae are a common type of back and neck injuries. They usually occur when being involved in vehicular incidents, but they can also happen because of a fall or a sporting accident.
This neck and back injury includes a dislocation of one or more vertebrae, which happens because of a trauma. Fractured vertebrae can occur in the neck and mid and low back. Many of these spinal cord injuries don't require surgeries.
However, if a serious fracture happens, it should be treated promptly as it can lead to the development of long-term problems. If you're in a lot of pain after a car accident, there's a chance you've injured the vertebrae, and you should seek medical help right away.
If this type of neck and back injury isn't your fault, a personal injury attorney can help you file a claim and get broken neck compensation.
Fractured Vertebrae Symptoms
Common symptoms of fractured vertebrae in the neck include the following:
- Neck pain, varying in severity
- Numbness in legs and arms
- Paralysis of legs and arms
- Muscle weakness
Factors that Affect What Settlement You Can Get
There are a number of factors that determine the amount of your injury settlement.
1. Need for Future Medical Care
If you have a severe neck injury, the chances are you will need extensive medical care.
Serious injuries can require various medical treatments, such as physical therapy and numerous doctor visits.
Your medical expenses can include:
- MRIs, EMGs, and CT scans
- Neck braces
- Mobility devices
You should list all of these in your neck injury case. Another thing your lawyer should include is likely future treatments, surgeries, and complications that may occur.
2. Can You Go Back to Work
Another factor influencing the amount of settlement you may be entitled to is your ability to return to work after the injury. If your neck injury prevents you from working, you should include this in your claim as it can lead to getting a higher settlement.
On the other hand, if you can return to work quickly, this will usually lower your injury settlement.
If you can go back to work but struggle and can't perform on the same level as before the accident, this should be included in the settlement claim as a loss of wage-earning capacity.
For example, if you aren’t able to sit or stand for a long time, if you have headaches, or if the medications you have to use cause side effects. A lawyer should consider all of these, and if needed, consult with a vocational specialist to determine the long-term consequences of the auto accident.
3. What the Insurance Covers
An average settlement insurance companies are willing to pay depends on the insurance policy limit. Here’s an example: You’ve been in a car or truck accident where it’s clear who’s at fault.
You sustained soft tissue injuries, and you have evidence to prove it. Your total damages are estimated at $70,000, but the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limit is $50,000.
There’s a big chance you’ll only be able to get damages up to the maximum policy limit.
In this case, your lawyer can consider suing the defendant or looking into other insurance options, such as your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) .
4. Who is Liable for the Accident
The final important factor when deciding on an average settlement is who’s at fault. You have to prove the negligence and liability of the other driver. This is easy to establish in some car accidents, such as rear-end, drunk driving, and left-turn collision.
However, if you aren’t able to prove the other driver is at fault and don’t have any or sufficient evidence, the value of your claim will decrease. Even if you could get high damages, the defendant and the insurance company won’t be willing to settle, and they can decide to go to trial and take their chances there.
Also, the insurance company will try to bring the average settlement down by arguing that the accident is your fault. Some states have a comparative negligence system, which means that several parties share liability .
In this case, the neck injury settlement you’ll get is lowered by the percentage of fault that’s determined is yours.
Proving Neck Injury Damages
You have to provide documentation to the insurance company to prove your claim and get a fair settlement.
Some things that can help your neck injury claims include:
- The other driver didn’t follow traffic laws
- The other driver was negligent
- You suffered severe injuries because of the accident
- Show a testimony of a medical expert
- Provide all medical documentation and medical records of your injuries and treatments
- Show photos and videos of the accident scene and vehicles
- Show police report where it says the other driver was at-fault
- Take witness statements that corroborate your claims
- Check if traffic and video surveillance is available
Note: Proving negligence is only the start. You need an experienced car accident lawyer that can negotiate your neck injury claim with the insurance company and find ways to increase your car accident settlement.
Also read: How Long Does a Suit Take For a Car Accident?
Recoverable Damages for Neck Injuries
The average settlement for a neck injury varies, but it can go from around $10,000 for injuries from minor accidents to over one million dollars in some cases .
A neck injury settlement includes both economic and non-economic damages:
- Property damage
- Medical treatment expenses
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment due to lowered quality of life
What’s the Average Settlement for a Neck Injury?
The average car accident settlement for a neck injury depends on the type of injury and the required medical treatment.
Is Whiplash a Serious Injury?
Yes, whiplash can be a serious injury. You should get medical attention after the accident and keep an eye on the symptoms you experience.
Get a Fair Neck Injury Settlement with Our Law Firm
The amount of settlement you may be entitled to for the sustained injuries depends on the severity of your neck injury. The average settlement value significantly differs between a minor and major spinal cord injury.
When filing a claim, you need to prove that the accident occurred because of the other driver. You’ll need evidence that the at-fault driver violated traffic laws and medical records to show you suffered neck injuries. To help you get the proper injury settlement for all the pain and suffering, you need an experienced lawyer.
Schmidt & Clark lawyers have almost 30 years of experience in handling car accident cases and helping the car crash victims receive a fair injury settlement.
Contact us as soon as today for a free consultation, and we will help you get the compensation you deserve.