Calculating a personal injury case value for neck and back injuries requires a detailed analysis of the circumstances of your accident, the severity of your injuries, and the available insurance coverage. The most effective method to determine your case value is to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney.
Mitchell Proner has been recognized as one of the most talented and experienced trial advocates in the country. He has represented clients in over 30 jurisdictions across five continents and has won over $400 million for accident victims. If you’ve been injured in a car accident call us today for a free case evaluation at 202-986-3030.
What is the average car accident settlement for neck and back injuries?
There is no average settlement amount because every car accident case is unique. Some claims are worth $20,000, whereas others are worth millions.
A case value cannot be predicted based on a single factor. Even cases with similar types of injuries can have widely varying case values that receive settlement offers based on negotiations with insurance adjusters.
The key is to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience with car accident claims and fair settlements for car accident victims who have sustained serious injuries as well as for those with minor injuries.
Why do settlement values vary?
Motor vehicle accident cases are complex. The circumstances of the accident, the consequences and severity of the injuries, and the characteristics and behavior of the parties involved are unique factors that influence settlement amounts.
Your Neck and Back Injuries
Severe neck and back injuries result in high medical bills, long periods of disability, a large number of days missed at work, and significant pain and suffering. Injuries that result in permanent pain or disability contribute more to case value than less serious injuries.
Pain and Suffering
Even if your injuries are similar to someone else’s injuries, they may have a different impact on your life. For example, you may respond differently to treatment. This can impact short-term and long-term pain and suffering.
In addition, depending on your lifestyle before the accident, your injuries may limit your usual life activities in a way that drastically reduces your quality of life. For example, if you lived an active lifestyle before the accident, you may be less able to resume your usual life activities than someone whose activities were lower-key.
Your case value can be raised or lowered based on whether you seek medical treatment and complete your doctor’s treatment recommendations, including diagnostic CT scans and X-rays, physical therapy, and other treatment types.
If you do not seek medical care or complete your treatment plan, you won’t have medical records to document your medical costs.
The insurance company could use this against you and claim you were not severely injured or that your injuries did not cause you to miss work.
Your Lost Wages
Lost wages are an important part of your neck or back injury settlement, and the following will be considered in your lost wages calculation:
- Your earnings before your accident
- The number of workdays you have missed
- The length of time you will be unable to work
- Whether you will ever be able to return to work
- Whether you will be forced to return to the workforce in a lower-paying position
Lost wages will contribute the highest amount to your settlement value if you were a high-wage earner before your auto accident and are permanently unable to work afterward.
Additionally, your occupation can impact your case value. For example, if you are an office worker, you are more likely to be able to return to work with a disability than someone who works in maintenance, repair, engineering, and other physically demanding professions.
The Available Insurance Coverage
Compensation for most injuries following a car accident is typically limited to the available coverage under the insurance policy.
If your accident occurred in New York, a no-fault state, you must file a claim through your own no-fault insurance. This insurance only provides coverage for lost wages and medical expenses.
If your injuries are catastrophic or you live in an at-fault state, you can file a claim against the at-fault party’s liability insurance for economic and non-economic damages, but the insurance company is obligated to pay only up to the coverage limits.
In many states, the minimum coverage is just $25,000 per accident, far short of the medical expenses many injury victims incur. In rare cases, you may be able to collect directly from the insured individual, provided the individual has collectible assets or the means to pay.
If your accident involved a commercial truck, you may be able to file a claim against the trucking company. Trucking companies have higher insurance policy limits and may be able to pay the full cost of your damages.
The Contributing Causes of Your Accident
A contributing cause is a circumstance that helped cause your accident or worsen your injuries. Examples of contributing causes include:
- Road conditions
- Defective tires
- Defective airbags
- Faulty mechanical repairs
Your Role in the Accident
A settlement in any car crash depends largely on the at-fault driver. If you are partly to blame for the accident, your share of the liability can impact your payout.
In New York, you can collect compensation even if you are 99 percent at fault. Under such circumstances, you would receive only one percent of your case value. This underscores the importance of retaining a car accident attorney who can minimize your share of fault and secure a higher settlement.
The Lawyer You Choose
Your case value is in the hands of the lawyer you choose. Lawyers with the following characteristics will maximize the value of your case:
- A successful track record
- Experience with your type of case
- Proven trial experience
- A strong reputation
- A commitment to service and respect for the attorney-client relationship
- A strong network of lawyers, experts, and consultants
This is the type of service Proner & Proner clients have come to expect from our law firm. Our attorneys get record results for our clients because we have the resources, skill, and talent to win cases at trial and recover the damages our clients deserve.
It starts with a free case evaluation during which we will answer any questions a potential client may have regarding our services and continues to the resolution of your case.
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How is case value calculated?
The two primary types of damages negotiated in car accident settlement discussions are economic damages and non-economic damages.
When you have been severely injured in an accident, you will likely miss several days at work while at the same time incurring medical expenses. In the most severe cases, you may permanently lose your ability to continue earning an income.
These are examples of verifiable monetary losses known as economic damages. While calculating economic damages involves totaling your medical bills and lost wages, it is more complex than running totals.
If your injuries will result in long-term or permanent disability, you will also need to consider ongoing lifetime medical costs and your lifetime lost earning capacity. You will need the assistance of the following:
- Lifecare planners to anticipate your lifetime medical needs
- Financial analysts to calculate your lifetime medical costs and lost earning capacity
- Economists to ensure future inflation is factored into your calculations
Non-economic damages are the pain and suffering that stem from your neck and back injuries. The method of calculating non-economic damages may vary based on your situation.
Some attorneys and insurance companies rate pain and suffering using multipliers. Severe pain and suffering is assigned a higher number, which is multiplied by your total economic damages.
Some attorneys prefer to use historical data from case history to determine the value of your case. In truth, there is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering because every client’s pain and suffering is unique.
Generally speaking, the more permanent, painful, and disabling your injuries, the more that non-economic damages will contribute to the value of your case.
New York does not limit non-economic damages.
Types of Back and Neck Injuries
Nearly all back and neck injuries are painful, but those that will heal without long-term pain or disability are considered minor. Minor back and neck injuries generally result in lower compensation than severe injuries.
Minor Back and Neck Injuries
Back and neck injuries that are generally considered minor include the following:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Strained ligaments and tendons
- Broken or cracked ribs
- Stiffness of the back, neck, or shoulders
- Severe bruising
Severe Back and Neck Injuries
Severe back and neck injuries are injuries that may cause permanent disability or chronic pain, such as:
- Compressed or broken vertebrae of the spine
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken neck
- Severe whiplash
- Pinched or herniated discs
Spinal cord injuries may lead to varying degrees of paralysis, including quadriplegia and paraplegia. Pinched or herniated discs can lead to chronic pain and a need for back surgery. Whiplash injuries can lead to traumatic brain injuries, which could result in permanent disabilities, including cognitive disabilities.
How Proner & Proner Can Help
In 1990, Mitchell Proner experienced several broken bones in his back as a result of a serious motorcycle accident when a taxi ran a red light and collided with him. While he was fortunate enough to recover and return to work, he understands the pain and trauma accident victims experience.
Mitchell Proner’s father, A. Stanley Proner, founded our firm in 1958 with a clients-first philosophy, and Mitchell continues his father’s legacy to this day:
Proner & Proner has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies, and these companies know that our talented attorneys are formidable in the courtroom and will see the case through to the end. As a result, we can often negotiate large settlements with the insurance company.
Our law firm accepts the following types of motor vehicle accident cases:
- Queens car accidents
- Manhattan car accidents
- Bronx car accidents
- Brooklyn car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
If you have sustained back and neck injuries due to someone else’s negligence, the attorneys at Proner & Proner will fight tirelessly to obtain an above-average car accident settlement to cover the cost of quality medical treatment for common injuries.
Contact us today for a free consultation.