Average Settlement for a Car Accident Back Injury
There’s a lot to deal with in the aftermath of a car accident — especially one that has left you with a back injury. Between filing a claim with your insurance company, assessing the damage to your car, getting the medical care you need, and having to miss work, it’s nearly impossible not to stress about the financial aspects of your situation. All you want to know now is how much money your case is worth so you can plan accordingly.
My name is John Bruscato, and as an experienced personal injury attorney in Louisiana, I can tell you that there is no perfect formula for calculating the exact value of your case. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a realistic idea of what to expect (both legally and financially) as your back injury claim moves forward.
Average Back Injury Settlements
Because personal injury settlements vary so widely, it’s difficult to confidently proclaim a concrete, realistic average you should expect from your own car accident. That being said, we can at least shed some light on what personal injury victims have received in recent years.
Recently, a legal research group by the name of Martindale-Nolo Research surveyed personal injury victims to discover how much they received on average from their injury settlements. These were their findings:
- 16% received less than $3,000
- 37% received between $3,000 and $10,000
- 21% received between $10,001 and $25,000
- 10% received between $25,001 and $75,000
- 16% received more than $75,000
Although these numbers aren’t specific to victims who suffered back injuries, this data is still telling — especially if you couple it with the fact that Martindale-Nolo Research also discovered an average settlement of $23,600 for workers’ compensation claims involving back injuries.
Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Settlement
As you can see, personal injury settlements — back injury-related or otherwise — vary widely. In truth, they can range anywhere from the low hundreds to over a million dollars. How much you can collect depends on a number of factors, as well as how effectively you and your attorney can present the facts.
Now I know what you’re thinking: if a case can be worth upwards of a million dollars, that’s what you want yours to be worth. But that’s just not how it works. Take, for example, a man who was brutally attacked by a coworker and wound up with severe injuries to his neck and spinal cord, coupled with undeniable emotional trauma. Compare his story to, say, someone who was softly rear-ended by a distracted driver and ended up with a minor case of whiplash.
Yes — both victims deserve compensation since their injuries were caused by someone else, but the man in our first scenario definitely has more cause to hope for a big-time settlement.
Factors That Influence Your Settlement Amount
As you and your attorney begin to determine the value of your case, you’ll need to consider the same factors that Louisiana courts use when awarding settlement amounts. Among those factors are:
- Type of back injury. Because spinal cord injuries tend to be more severe than other types of back injuries, they usually yield higher payouts than, say, herniated discs, soft tissue injuries, or strains caused by whiplash.
- Severity of injuries. Insurance companies and (when involved) civil courts should award more if your accident resulted in (or is likely to result in) disfigurement, physical limitations, or disabilities.
- Circumstances of the wreck. In Louisiana, how much money you can claim directly correlates to how “at fault” you are versus the other driver. If, for instance, you’re found to be 10% responsible for the wreck while the other driver is 90% responsible, you can only claim up to 90% of what your claim is worth in total.
- Inability to work. If your injuries are preventing you from earning income, that is something that needs to be calculated into your settlement offer.
- Immediate & ongoing medical expenses. You can be retroactively paid for those initial hospital bills, as well as anticipated ongoing medical costs, like surgeries, physical therapy, and in-home care.
- Pain and suffering. Though difficult to measure, your pain are suffering should be acknowledged and compensated for during settlement negotiations.
- Emotional distress. Some car wrecks lead to emotional distress or even PTSD. You and your attorney should discuss whether this factor might strengthen your case from a negotiation standpoint.
- Loss of consortium. In some cases, an injury might negatively impact a victim’s personal relationship with their spouse or other family members. This can result in additional compensation.
As I’ve said, there’s no perfect formula for calculating the payout you’re likely to receive for your case. However, once you’ve set up a free consultation with me, we can analyze your case together to get you a more realistic idea of what to expect. Even better, I can advise you on how best to proceed with your case in order to maximize your settlement.