How Much Is My Back Injury Worth?

Back injuries are common after a car accident. Whether they are mild or life-altering, a back injury can change your life forever. Insurance companies try to downplay a back injury, especially if the harm does not show up on an X-ray, which is often the case with back injuries.

If you have a back injury after a car accident, contact a spinal cord injury attorney in your area. A local personal injury attorney will help protect your legal rights after an accident and ensure that you can focus solely on getting better. They will take care of the legal side of things for you.

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Types of Back Injuries

Back injuries may take various forms. Common back injuries include herniated discs, sprains and strains, and fractured vertebra. An injury may damage the soft tissue of the back, or the impact of a car accident may cause the back to break, leading to a potentially permanent injury.

Herniated Discs

A herniated disc is an injury to the discs between the vertebrae that trauma to the area causes. Herniated discs usually lead to nerve damage to other areas of the body, including numbness or tingling in the legs or arms and muscle weakness throughout the body. Your doctor may recommend rest, physical therapy, medication, or epidural injections to treat a herniated disc.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are the most common type of back injury. These injuries do not show up on X-rays or other diagnostic tests. Trauma to an area of the body can cause sprains that cause the joint to move out of line. Strains are caused by pulling a muscle in your back or some other sudden movement. Symptoms of strain and sprain injuries include muscle spasms, difficulty bending over, and difficulty standing up straight or walking far distances.

Fractured Vertebra

A fractured vertebra is a compression injury. This type of injury happens after the vertebrae suffer trauma that cracks the vertebrae. A fractured vertebra may cause hunched posture and acute or chronic pain. Caregivers usually treat these kinds of injuries with medication, physical therapy, rest, use of a back brace, and in some instances, surgery.

The above injuries represent both hard and soft tissue injuries. Since both hard and soft tissue injuries can include long-term and intensive care, these injuries may significantly increase your back injury settlement.

Soft tissue injuries refer to harm to the soft tissue of the body. Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are usually not severe, but they may include both short-term and long-term injuries. Soft tissue injury treatments may include massage or physical therapy.

A hard injury usually refers to a more serious injury like a broken bone, a spinal cord injury, or paralysis. Hard injuries typically take a longer time to treat and may require a prolonged period of rehabilitation. If you suffer a severe back injury, your personal injury settlement may increase in value. No matter the type of injury that your back has sustained, you need an attorney to represent your interests. If you have suffered a back injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.

Factors That Affect the Value of a Back Injury Claim

Back injuries, like other personal injury claims, are unique. No lawyer can predict how much a back injury claim is worth before investigating.

However, these factors may increase the value of a back injury settlement:

Liability

Every personal injury plaintiff must prove that the person or business they allege caused their injuries is responsible for their harm. Liability means that a defendant in a civil lawsuit is legally responsible for paying for the injuries the plaintiff suffered. Proving liability in a personal injury case requires an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Severity of Injury

Typically, the more severe an injury, the higher the settlement value. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may require either short-term or long-term care. The more extensive medical care you require, the more your accident claim is worth.

Examples of care that you may receive for a back injury include:

  • Injection therapy
  • Medication
  • Massage
  • Dry needling
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise and movement
  • Acupuncture
  • Topical treatment like a local anesthetic

You may suffer from a decrease or loss of quality of life after a back injury. This may increase the value of your back injury claim. Despite your injuries, you will need an attorney to help you prove them. An attorney can assist you in developing how you describe how you got your injuries; an attorney may employ witnesses to prove elements of your claim, and a personal injury lawyer can help with attaining expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.

If you suffered a back injury, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area.

Damages the Accident Victim Sustained

A back injury can lead to an accident victim’s life changing forever. How long your injury takes to heal or how long it affects your life increases your settlement amount.

Some injuries only require short-term care, but other injuries require long-term care. Injuries that require short-term care may not lead to lucrative settlement amounts. Examples of back injuries that may only require short-term care include soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains. Treatment of sprains and strains is not usually invasive.

An example of back injuries that may require long-term care includes a fractured vertebra. This injury may require surgery. The cost of the procedure, follow-up care, rehabilitative care, medication, and any other associated cost may increase your settlement value.

Your work life can be significantly affected by a back injury. During negotiations and trial, you will present evidence of how your back injury affected your professional life.

An insurance company may ask about your work life before the accident, particularly if you cannot do the same job now due to your injury. You can recover lost income and earning capacity in a personal injury lawsuit, so you need a record of your lost income since the accident.

In addition to the examples above, the mental and emotional trauma the accident caused is also compensable. Mental and emotional damage can be difficult to prove. You need an experienced accident attorney to calculate these intangible damages and get the money you deserve for them.

Other damages that can increase the value of your back injury settlement may include loss of consortium. If your injuries prevent you from having relations with your spouse, you may be entitled to damages for this loss.

Insurance Policy Limits

The value of your claim is related to the limits of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. Sometimes, the only money available to pay for an injury claim is the coverage available.

For example, some drivers have a policy limit of $50,000 per person per accident, making that the upper limit of your claim—unless somebody or someone else contributed to your injuries.

A personal injury attorney can name every potentially responsible defendant in your lawsuit.

Mental and Emotional Impact of the Injury

Mental and emotional trauma is compensable damage available in personal injury lawsuits. We typically refer to these types of damages as non-economic damages. An accident victim is entitled to non-economic damages if they suffer an intangible injury. Like any other harm, an accident victim must prove their mental and emotional trauma. Proving intangible damages may be difficult, so hiring an attorney to assist you is the right move. If you have suffered mental or emotional trauma after an injury, call a personal injury lawyer in your area.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

A personal injury lawyer’s job is to obtain the compensation you deserve after an accident.

A personal injury attorney can:

  • Negotiate with insurance companies and defense lawyers
  • Help you get access to necessary medical care, even if the doctor is not your primary physician
  • Represent you in court before a judge and jury
  • Negotiate a higher settlement amount on your behalf

Arguments Made by the Insurance Company

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. That means they are not going to pay a claim without a fight. Since some back injuries are not easy to prove, an insurance company will work overtime to ensure that the company does not accept liability for your harm.

Insurance companies will deny or insist the back injury preexisted your crash. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will try to tie your harm to your job, or that time you bent the wrong way when playing with the kids, or practically anything other than the accident.

If an insurance company fails to tie your back injury to something besides the accident, they will try to downplay the injury altogether. The insurance company may argue that your injury is not that bad, especially compared to more serious personal injuries. Do not fall for that tactic. Your injuries deserve compensation.

To protect yourself from insurance companies, hire a local personal injury attorney.

What if I Cannot Afford a Personal Injury Attorney?How Much is My Back Injury Worth?

Many accident victims do not pursue compensation after an accident because they fear they cannot afford legal fees. However, most personal injury attorneys across the country work on a contingency basis. A contingency fee arrangement is a payment structure where the client defers payment for the lawyer’s fees until both parties settle.

The terms of a contingency fee agreement must be in writing and signed by both the attorney and the client. If you have questions about your contingency agreement, be sure that you speak to the personal injury attorney you intend to hire to represent you to clarify all the questions you have.

Some terms of a contingency agreement include payment of litigation costs and the percentage the attorney will receive as payment for their services. Litigation costs are fees that occur during the lawsuit. They may include filing fees, postage costs, and expert witness testimony fees. The attorney’s firm may front the cost and collect it later, or the client can choose to pay the costs as the case continues.

The most important part of the agreement is how much the attorney will receive for their fee. Typically, personal injury attorneys take one-third of the total settlement amount. For example, if the settlement is $90,000, your attorney will receive $30,000 as their fee plus any litigation costs that they advanced.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

William Bowles
Bill Bowles, Personal Injury Attorney

If you have suffered a back injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. Your personal injury lawyer will protect your legal rights and ensure you get the compensation you need to recover fully. You do not have to go it alone after an accident.

August 28, 2022

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