Often, a person’s back and neck are never the same after a car accident. Some people experience issues for most of their lives, including problems standing or chronic pain. One of the biggest misconceptions about back and neck pain is that it is not as severe as many other injuries. But back and neck pain can be so severe that ongoing medical treatment, including possible surgery, will be necessary, similar to a catastrophic injury.
Many people – including insurance companies – underestimate neck and back injuries. Victims often face accusations of overblowing their injuries or even faking them altogether. The classic image of a deceptive witness in court wearing a neck brace led to many of these misconceptions.
In reality, neck and back injuries are costly in many ways. They lead to financial losses and ongoing pain and suffering. Due to their injuries, many victims must change their work, activities, and daily routines. If someone else was responsible for the accident, they should be responsible for compensating you for your losses. This often happens through an insurance settlement.
If you suffered neck or back injuries in a crash, you should immediately discuss your legal rights with a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can assess what your settlement should be worth.
Back and neck injuries are some of the more common injuries from car accidents due to the force of impact. When two cars crash, the collision creates a whipping motion that can seriously jolt a driver and passenger’s neck or back. This whipping motion can cause serious injury to the soft tissue of a person’s neck, upper back, and lower back. The resulting neck injuries are often called whiplash due to this whipping effect.
Some of the common symptoms of potential back injuries include:
Many people experience such intense pain and stiffness that it limits their mobility.
Just like back injuries, you can experience many effects of neck injuries following your accident. Some symptoms of serious neck injuries include an inability to turn your neck to the side or tenderness in your neck or the back of your skull. You may also experience:
Even if you were in a seemingly minor car accident, you can still easily experience injuries like neck sprains, pinched nerves, herniated discs, neck fractures, and muscle spasms.
Obtaining what you deserve for a neck or back injury is challenging in almost every case. Insurance companies assume these are not severe injuries, so they start very low when valuing claims. Because each person has a different experience, there is no average amount a neck or back injury victim might receive.
Your settlement amount does not depend on averages – it depends on many factors involving the effects of your injuries.
Chronic back and neck pain can last a few weeks to a few years or longer, even with treatment. When you experience chronic back or neck pain, it can affect your ability to move comfortably throughout your life. Simple tasks such as standing up or sitting down will cause you to feel pain for extended periods. Your ability to perform tasks at work or errands in your personal life will depend on the chronic back or neck pain you feel at the moment. Even spending precious moments with your children can feel the effects of the chronic back and neck pain you are experiencing.
When people think of permanent disabilities, catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries come to mind. Some people may not know that some back and neck injuries qualify as permanent disabilities. In fact, back and neck injuries are some of the most common injuries that cause people to apply for long-term disability benefits. Injuries that cause long-term disabilities can also demand higher settlements following car accidents.
One factor that contributes to disabilities is the duration of time that your back or neck injury causes you to experience pain. If you continue to experience the symptoms of a back or neck injury for weeks or months following an accident, your injury can be considered a long-term disability. You should always have documented medical evidence of the limitations you experience due to your back or neck injury.
Another factor is whether your back or neck injury affects your ability to return to work. Suppose your back or neck injury prevents you from performing your job duties. In that case, it can contribute to classifying your injury as a long-term disability. You can lose current income and future earning ability, which can add up to a significant sum. Your attorney can employ experts to testify that you can no longer work and the income you will likely miss over your lifetime.
Insurance companies regularly lowball their offers on these injuries. Because insurance companies do not consider back or neck injuries to be serious, they will try to convince victims to accept car accident settlements that are much lower than they deserve.
Claimants need to prove to insurance companies that their injuries are severe and have many effects on their lives. Your car accident attorney can provide evidence of your financial and intangible losses to increase your settlement offer as much as possible.
Car accident victims with soft tissue injuries to their neck or back deserve full compensation for their losses. As stated earlier, chronic back and neck pain can be persistent and require victims to undergo ongoing medical treatment. Your back or neck pain might be so severe that it requires you to become dependent on specific medical devices, forces you to take time off from work, or causes you to experience significant pain and suffering. You need compensation for all of this.
These factors can lead to more significant settlement amounts for you. When you receive a low settlement offer, you do not have to accept it from the insurance company. You can negotiate for a more significant amount or file a lawsuit against the insurance company to receive compensation. Never accept a settlement offer without legal advice, as it is likely much less than your back or neck injury is worth.
When you seek compensation from the insurance company, the insurance company will resort to deceptive tactics to deny your claim. When it comes to back or neck injuries, insurance companies have the upper hand because it is often difficult to prove the nature of back or neck injuries. It will take specific medical results like CT scans or X-rays to prove the existence of a back or neck injury.
Another argument that insurance companies can make is that these soft tissue injuries result from the claimant’s age or a pre-existing condition. Because back and neck injuries are a common consequence of many conditions, it can be easy to point to other pre-existing conditions as the cause of these soft tissue injuries. Another common argument that insurance companies will make is that you exaggerate the nature of your back or neck injury. In reality, insurance companies have a negative view of back or neck injuries based on claims made under whiplash injuries.
Although you have the right to file a claim for your neck or back injury, many insurance companies are apprehensive about rewarding you with compensation for these types of injuries. They associate these injuries with minor conditions that get better after some physical therapy. Adjusters will never assume that your back or neck injury is severe with lasting effects.
While you are dealing with chronic pain and devastating life changes, the insurance adjuster will likely doubt your injuries. This can be a difficult situation for anyone. Victims already have enough on their plates – they do not need to worry about how they will convince adjusters of what they are going through.
You should remain focused on your medical treatment and physical recovery. You need someone to advocate for you to the insurance company and provide evidence of your injury’s severity. A lawyer can help in many important ways with your back or neck injury claim.
Insurance companies will try to speak with you, and they can use your statements to reduce your claim. Many people make an offhand comment to an adjuster, never imagining it will affect their settlement amount. An adjuster might ask how your day is going, and you might answer, “fine.” While you were being polite, they made a note that you were not feeling any pain that day. This can limit their opinion of your injuries and, therefore, the value of your settlement offer.
Your lawyer will handle all communications with insurance companies, so you do not risk saying something the insurance company might misconstrue.
Lawyers can help you properly assess the damages from your back and neck injury. Even though insurers assume these are minor injuries, these injuries can cause you to pay significant out-of-pocket expenses for medical services. You may have to pay for numerous surgeries, pain medications, and medical devices associated with your back or neck injury. Like with other serious injuries, you experience damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from your injuries. A skilled car accident lawyer can calculate these damages for you and determine the maximum estimate for each damage.
To receive a settlement at all, you must prove the other party’s liability for the accident. An experienced car accident attorney can use their resources to gather the best evidence possible to prove how the other party’s actions directly caused your injuries.
Some evidence that lawyers might gather include witness statements, video footage, testimony from accident investigators, and copies of your police report if the police came to the scene. They can present any arrest or criminal records stemming from the accident involving the liable party. This evidence can paint a picture of how the other party’s negligence was responsible for your back or neck injury.
You should not have to jump through hoops to receive compensation for your back and neck injury. The negligent party must compensate for any injury you sustained from a car accident.
Because insurance companies want to avoid paying out as many claims as possible, they will pick your claim apart piece by piece and convince you that your injuries are not as severe as you believe. By seeking the legal assistance of a lawyer, you can increase your chances of receiving the maximum compensation owed to you for your back or neck injury.
Despite what insurance companies want you to believe, your back or neck injury is just as serious and valid as other car accident injuries. When you have suffered harm, you deserve proper compensation for the pain that you endured. Speak to a qualified car accident attorney about the best way to receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. You have a limited time to file a claim, so speak to an attorney as soon as possible.