A car accident is no walk in the park. Even though the incident itself may only last a few seconds, its effects could span months, or even years, into the future.
While there is nothing positive about a head, neck or back injury resulting from a car accident, there is a silver lining: you may be entitled to a settlement sum because of it.
What is the average settlement for a car accident back injury, neck injury or head injury? Continue reading to find out.
What Is the Average Settlement for Car Accident Neck and Back Injuries?
To provide an average car accident neck and back injury settlement amount that is accurate is not possible for a few reasons. Injuries can range from minor to severe, with some even causing substantial emotional distress.
That said, an average settlement for a car accident neck injury or back injury can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 or more. For example, if there is a head injury in addition to neck and back injuries, and the head injury permanently damaged the mental faculties of the driver involved, they potentially could expect an even higher settlement amount.
While your personal injury attorney can provide you with a more precise estimate range for your head, neck or back injury from a car accident settlement after speaking with you about the details of your case, we’ll provide you with a rundown of factors that potentially could affect your final settlement sum.
How Severe Is Your Injury?
Head, neck and back injuries span a wide spectrum, so the first factor that’s considered in determining a settlement sum is generally the severity of the injury — which sometimes can be determined by the location of the injury.
For example, if your car accident resulted in a spinal cord injury, it may require you to not only have emergency surgery, but to require prolonged and extreme medical care, which could garner you a drastically larger amount than the average back injury car accident settlement. Likewise, if your neck injury involved a herniated disc, your herniated disc car accident settlement could be upward of $100,000.
On the other side of the coin are soft tissue injuries, which usually can be resolved with rest, self-care and physical therapy. This is why the average settlement for a soft tissue injury from a car accident to the neck or back tends to be around $20,000 or less.
Will You Require Prolonged Medical Treatment?
While many injuries to the back and neck from a car accident can be resolved with the right treatment approach within a few months to a year, there are more severe injuries that could cause the affected driver to require medical treatment for years or possibly their lifetime. As an example, a driver with a spinal cord injury could have become paralyzed, causing them to require around-the-clock care in an assisted-living facility for the rest of their life.
If a person has suffered a traumatic head, neck or back injury from a car accident that cannot be resolved through ordinary medical protocols for injuries, such as physical therapy, then this will be reflected in the car accident neck and back injury settlement amount.
Is Your Injury Taking a Toll on Your Mental Health?
Car accidents can take a toll not just on your physical and financial wellbeing, but on your mental wellbeing as well. For example, many drivers who have been involved in car accidents have been known to experience symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Consider the example of someone whose neck and back injuries were so severe that they were bedridden for a year following their accident, causing them to not only be isolated from their family and friends, but also to have to resign from the job they loved. The pain and suffering they endured as a result of this accident is likely to earn them a higher settlement amount.
Did You Suffer Financially After the Accident?
If your injuries caused you to have to leave your job or otherwise caused a loss of wages that you would have earned had you not incurred neck or back injuries from a car accident, your settlement amount may account for these losses you suffered.
In the same vein, if your back and neck injuries are likely to have an impact on your future earning potential, this could potentially increase the amount of your settlement as well.
Suppose that you are a personal trainer for a living and get into a car accident that severely injures your back. Your physician tells you that you will need to avoid any activities that strain your back for at least a year. It’s possible your settlement amount would be higher because of this fact.
How Do I Know Whether I’m Eligible for a Head, Neck or Back Injury Car Accident Settlement?
If you are dealing with a neck or back injury from a car accident, keep in mind that settlement eligibility can only be determined after the insurance companies of the drivers have investigated the incident to conclude which driver was most at fault. Determining who is responsible for a traffic accident in Indiana can be complex. Indiana is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who is found to have caused the accident (or their auto insurance company) will be liable for any damages incurred by the other parties involved.
Indiana abides by a system known as comparative negligence. This system provides for a driver to only receive damages if they are no more than 50% at fault for the auto collision. Additionally, the settlement sum they receive will be reduced according to how much at fault they are. For example, if they are 30% at fault, their final settlement will be reduced by 30%.
What Are the Most Common Head, Back and Neck Injuries in a Car Accident?
Head, neck and back injuries can be different from person to person, depending on the nature and severity of the car accident that occurred. Additionally, emotional trauma is a type of psychological injury that can result from a car accident that also is important in determining settlement amounts.
In the following subsections, we briefly discuss the most common types of back, neck and head injuries resulting from car accidents.
Back Injuries From Car Accidents
Back injuries can involve soft tissue, or they can be more severe and involve the spinal cord. If your injuries are severe, you will probably be aware of this fact, since you likely will be facing immobility, crippling pain and other intense symptoms as a result of them. You may have even required a hospital visit or admission immediately following the accident.
Less severe back injuries can consist of pulled muscles, sprains or fractures. But even if your back injuries are minor, it is a good idea to seek medical care as soon as they emerge to form the basis of your personal injury claim.
Neck Injuries From Car Accidents
Like back injuries, neck injuries from car accidents can range from minor to severe. Severe neck injuries can involve cervical spondylolisthesis (i.e., a dislocated vertebrae) or a herniated or slipped disc. These injuries generally make it difficult to turn your head and may require urgent medical attention.
The most common injury in car accidents is whiplash. While this injury won’t necessarily cause permanent damage, it can affect the mobility of your neck for years to come if not properly treated. Less severe neck injuries include strains, spasms and pinched nerves.
Head Injuries From Car Accidents
Head injuries from car accidents generally fall under one of two categories: traumatic brain injuries or concussions. While the former condition tends to be substantially more severe than the latter condition, both require prompt medical treatment to prevent further damage to the head and brain.
If you were unable to find the answers you were searching for in our article, be sure to check out our FAQs. They contain valuable information that can help you navigate your car accident case with ease.
What should I do after a car accident to receive the maximum settlement possible for my injuries?
It is always a good idea to be well-informed about what to do if you’re involved in a traffic incident. Even if the accident is minor, there is a protocol you should follow for being in a fender bender that could help ensure you secure the maximum benefit for the inconveniences and injuries you suffered.
It is essential that you call the police as soon as you’re able, in the event you or your passengers require urgent medical attention. If everyone is relatively unharmed and stable, you should take a few minutes to document the details of the incident and collect vital information from the scene. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, having a record of the incident will be helpful to both your personal injury attorney and insurance company.
It’s also ideal to seek medical attention within a week of your accident, as it will demonstrate to the insurance company that your injuries were caused by the car accident and not something else. Once you are provided with a treatment plan, try not to stray from it. Showing up at medical appointments consistently can help you secure a more favorable settlement.
Finally, consider hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim. At Hensley Legal, we not only will arrange medical appointments for you with trusted physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors, but we will handle all negotiations with the claims adjuster, allowing you to solely focus on your recovery.
What if I’m unhappy with the car accident neck and back injury settlement amount I’m being offered?
If you are suffering from neck and back pain after a car accident, the settlement offered should align with the impact the accident had on your body and quality of life. If you believe the amount offered fails to take these factors into account, you are under no obligation to sign a settlement agreement.
Declining a settlement offer could mean that your personal injury attorney will try to negotiate a better deal on your behalf, or it could mean that your case will need to be resolved by the court at trial.
How long do I have to file an auto insurance claim?
In Indiana, the deadline for filing an auto insurance claim is two years from the date of the accident. That, however, does not mean you should wait to file. The sooner you file, the more likely it is that you will get a good settlement offer.
What if I want to only be reimbursed for my initial medical expenses and damage to my car?
If you don’t have any injuries from your car accident, or the injuries you have are minor and are not impacting your daily life, then you may wish to speak to your personal injury attorney about whether it would be recommended for you to forgo the settlement process.
If the accident was the other driver’s fault, then you likely can seek reimbursement of your initial medical costs and damage to your vehicle from that driver’s auto insurance provider.
If you were at fault, then you may be able to seek reimbursement of your medical and vehicle costs from your auto insurance provider (if you have more than liability coverage). If you have only liability coverage, then you can try seeking reimbursement of your medical costs from your health insurance company, but you likely will have to pay for repairs to your vehicle out of your own pockets..
Can I file a claim for an accident without auto insurance coverage?
Having insurance coverage is not only a good idea, but it is required by the law if you are a licensed driver with a car. Here’s what happens when you get into a car accident without insurance coverage.
If you did not have auto insurance when the accident occurred, whether you can file a claim will depend on who was at fault. If you were at fault, you could find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation, because you not only wouldn’t be able to file an insurance claim, but you may be held responsible for compensating the other driver for any injuries they suffered, as well as damage to their vehicle.
Is it necessary to call the police for a car accident if damage and injuries were minimal?
The state of Indiana does not require the police to be called for all traffic accidents, but that does not mean you should not take this step. Here’s the main reason why you should call police to the scene if you’re in a car accident: they generally will create a police report for the incident.
Police reports are good to have, regardless of whether or not you plan to pursue an auto insurance claim or damages. If there is no record of the accident, you could be forced to cover the costs of medical treatment from your own pockets, even if you were not at fault.
What is the average settlement for a minor car accident?
While minor car accident settlements generally are in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, they can be more or less depending on the nature of your injuries (if you had any).
That said, don’t label a car accident as minor or dismiss it altogether until you have discussed the incident with a personal injury attorney.
What is the average pain and suffering settlement for a car accident?
There generally will not be a settlement for pain and suffering alone, because for there to be pain and suffering, you’d need to have an injury from the car accident that has affected your quality of life.
To determine the amount to provide for pain and suffering, the insurance company typically will analyze your medical costs and the effect your injuries have had on your general well being.
How do car accident physical therapy settlements work?
If you consistently are working with a physical therapist after getting into a car accident, and a log has been maintained of your visits and costs, this can vastly increase the amount of your settlement.
For example, if you have a neck injury from a car accident and visit with your physical therapist or chiropractor twice a week, then it likely will be apparent to the insurance provider that your injuries are severe enough for you to invest time and money into a consistent physical therapy protocol.
On the other hand, if you have a neck injury that you don’t do anything about, your settlement could be relatively low on account of the insurance company not having any proof to verify the severity of your injuries.
How often do auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits?
Most insurance policies come with limits for bodily injuries per person, bodily injuries per accident and property damage. It is highly uncommon for auto accident settlements to exceed these predetermined policy limits, which you generally can find on your insurance card.
If your injuries or property damage to your car exceed policy limits, the usual outcome will be for the insurance company to settle for the amount of the policy limit.
Are auto accident settlements taxable?
Settlements from auto accidents generally are not taxable in Indiana. This is because settlements are not regarded as income or financial gains; rather, they are regarded as reimbursements for financial losses suffered as a result of the car accident.
Why is my car accident settlement taking so long?
There are many reasons why car accident settlements take a long time..
Before any compensation can be provided, the police and insurance companies of the drivers involved will have to conduct an investigation. Sometimes, who is at fault is obvious; other times, it is more nuanced. Next, depending on the nature of the injuries incurred, you will need to consult with specialists and receive medical care. Only through the evaluation of such professionals can an accurate picture form in regard to the extent of your injuries.
Finally, while you may not be involved with this part of the process, your personal injury attorney is probably negotiating the best settlement deal possible for you behind the scenes. This is a back-and-forth process, so it can take time. Are you struggling financially while waiting for your settlement offer? There are remedies that may be available to you to help you make ends meet while you wait. Consider discussing these options with a financial adviser.
Want to learn more about the potential amount of your head, neck or back injury car accident settlement? We’re here to help.
A car accident can turn your life upside down, particularly if you sustained head, neck or back injuries as a result of it that are affecting your daily life.
Our skilled team of personal injury attorneys work on car accident cases daily, so we have the experience, knowledge and negotiation skills to secure the best possible settlement for your case. Even if you don’t retain our firm, don’t forgo retaining an attorney, as insurance companies are not your friend.
Learn more about the head, neck and back injury settlement you may be entitled to by calling our firm for a consultation. We are standing by 24/7 to answer your questions.