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 You may have many questions when you are involved in a car wreck, we are here to help! We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding car accident back injury claims.

What Kind of Back Pain Does a Car Accident Cause?

Car crashes can lead to a range of injuries in the back or which lead to back pain. Just a few of these include whiplash or other neck injuries, back strains and sprains, torn ligaments, spinal fractures, and spinal cord injuries.

The amount of pain will vary from person to person and by the type of injury, and may even be affected by the type of car accident.

What Are Common Injuries Caused by a Rear-End Crash?

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that affects the back and is caused by a rear-end collision. This is because rear-end car accidents cause the head to snap forward while the neck stays in place, resulting in a series of symptoms which may lead to pain for months.

Can a Car Accident Cause Long-Term Back Pain?

A car accident injury can lead to long-term back pain. Many factors will affect whether you experience back pain long term, including how severe your injury was, how severe the crash was, whether you got medical attention right away, and if you received the ongoing care you needed to recover.

Can I Only Get Compensation for Serious Back Injuries in a Car Accident?

You may be able to file a car accident claim for a range of injuries. Whether you receive a judgment or settlement can depend on your insurance policy, the state you live in or the state you file your claim in and how it considers personal injury claims and fault in car accidents, and other factors.

A minor injury may lead to a low settlement offer, however, you should not dismiss the idea of filing a claim before talking to a personal injury lawyer first for a free case evaluation.

Will a Car Accident Back Injury Case Be Worth Less If I Settle Before Surgery?

If your back injury requires surgery, it is best not to settle prior to the surgery. This is because your surgery costs could be taken into account for the final settlement value.

Because surgery costs might be the highest medical expenses you experience, and the full long-term effects of surgery or recovery are still unknown, it may be in your best interest to wait to accept a settlement offer. A lawyer can advise you on the best steps to take.

The amount of compensation you may be awarded in a car accident settlement for a broken back may vary depending on several factors, like the severity of your injury, whether you will make a full recovery, and the extent of your medical bills.

In general, the average settlement amount for a back injury may range from as low as $10,000 for lower back pain, to $100,000 for a broken back in a car accident, up to $250,000 or more for a back injury caused by a truck accident.

While you cannot guarantee a specific settlement payout, you may be able to receive maximum compensation if you secure competent legal representation. Working with an injury lawyer can help ensure you claim all damages possible in order to end up with a fair settlement.

Back injury compensation in a car accident

What Factors Affect How Compensation for Broken Back Injury Claims Is Determined?

Unfortunately, the chance of sustaining a spinal fracture, or broken back injury, in a car accident are quite high, according to a study of accident victims. Factors that may affect your broken back injury claim may include the severity of your injury and who was at fault, among others.

Severity of the Back Injury

While it’s not always the case, generally more severe injuries garner higher compensation amounts in personal injury cases. This is not because minor injuries don’t matter as much, but rather because people with severe injuries or catastrophic injuries (i.e. those injuries which will be life-changing) experience more damages.

Damages are all those costs you can claim for an injury. You may claim damages for tangible costs, like medical bills, or for costs you can’t put a value on, like pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can provide you with an estimate for your injury settlement, as well as help you identify which damages to claim.

The At-Fault Party

If you were at fault for your injury, your payout may be reduced. This is because many states reduce settlements for personal injury claims based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you broke your back in a car accident caused by the other driver, but you weren’t wearing your seat belt, you may be considered partly at fault for the accident and your damage award could be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault.

In a comparative fault state, you would be assigned a percentage of fault proportionate to your level of fault for your injuries. For the above example, you might be assigned 20% fault, meaning your judgment or settlement would be reduced by that amount.


How Much Is the Average Back Injury Settlement?

The average back injury settlement varies due to the type of back injury and other factors. A back injury settlement for lower back pain might be as low as $10,000, but for a broken back, the average settlement could begin at $100,000 and range up to $900,000 or more.

Keep in mind that many factors are taken into consideration when determining settlement amounts. The actual injury is only one factor. Medical bills can total hundreds of thousands of dollars due to surgery costs, whether you need x-rays or a CT scan, and more. All of these factors are considered when determining your payout.

Some average back injuries caused by car crashes and their average settlement ranges are as follows:

  • Back injury involving broken bones: This varies widely depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury, but could range from $10,000 up to $100,000 or more.
  • Whiplash injury: Whiplash is a condition that can affect both the neck and back. Minor whiplash injuries tend to garner settlements of about $15,000 to $20,000.
  • Back injury involving spinal fusion surgery: Average settlements for spinal fusion surgery are affected by insurance coverage, but may reach $200,000 or more.
  • Herniated disc: A herniated disc can result in case awards from $100,000 to $150,000 or upwards of twice that amount if the herniated discs are considered serious.
  • Pinched nerve: If the pinched nerve is considered a mild or moderate injury, the settlement amount may be as low as $15,000. If the pinched nerve is serious, the settlement could reach $100,000 or more.
  • Bulging disc: The average compensation for a bulging disc injury after a car accident is $30,000.
  • Back injury that requires lumbar discectomy: This surgery helps to fix discs in the lower back through a minimally invasive incision, and has garnered settlements as high as $1.6 million.
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains: This type of injury is not considered a serious injury, but can still result in a settlement of $10,000 or more.
  • Ligament injuries, such as torn ACL: The average settlement for an injury to the ligaments could reach upwards of $100,000.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Due to the spinal cord’s important role in the body, these can be some of the most severe injuries a person experiences, which is why they often result in some of the highest settlements. Yearly costs for the rest of your life may be considered for a spinal cord injury such as paralysis, meaning the average settlement can be in the millions.


How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Broken Back Caused by a Car Accident?

The amount of time it will take to recover from a broken back following a vehicle accident will largely depend on the severity of the injury, whether you have other injuries, and whether you received proper and swift medical treatment.

A broken back will likely always be considered a serious injury, but some people will experience worse side effects with this injury than others will. For a minor injury related to a broken back (spinal fracture), it may take six to 12 weeks to heal. Treatments may include a brace and physical therapy over time. Serious spinal fractures might require surgery and ongoing medical care.

The level of severity of the injury might be influenced by the type of motor vehicle accident you were in, such as a head-on collision or rear-end collision. Head-on collisions are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries, like spinal cord injuries, whereas rear-end collisions often lead to whiplash, neck injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (from slamming into the dash quickly due to the impact).

All of these factors will be taken into account for your accident claim — your length of recovery, the treatments you needed, medical expenses, and whether you will make a full recovery.


What Types of Compensation Can You Get in a Back Injury Settlement?

The types of compensation you may be able to claim for a back injury settlement are legally known as ‘damages.’ Damages for personal injury claims most often fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are all the damages which have a specific ascertainable monetary value due to an assigned cost, like medical expenses or lost wages. Non-economic damages are those which have no assigned value, such as the emotional pain you or your loved one suffered due to the injury, or the stress or inconvenience you suffered from the injury.

The judgment or settlement value for car accident claims is determined by taking these damages into account. For long-term injuries, courts may use a multiplier effect, or the total of all economic damages multiplied by a certain number.

Medical Costs Coverage

Perhaps the most common damages cited on injury claims are medical bills. This could include your current medical bills as well as projected future medical expenses, if your injury is permanent.

Wage Replacement

If you lost wages during the recovery period for your injury, they may be figured into the value of your case. Lost income damages apply not only to the wages you lost immediately following the accident, but also to any wages you will lose in future if the injury affected your ability to work. This type of damage is known as lost earning capacity.

Pain and Suffering

You may have suffered emotional strain due to the auto accident, such as the pain caused by an unexpected loss of a loved one or from limb loss. Non-economic damages attempt to legally atone for your struggles.

What Is the Process for Filing a Broken Back Injury Claim?

The easiest way to begin your car accident case is to get in touch with a trusted, experienced lawyer. A car accident lawyer will have the knowledge and background needed to file your claim, gather the evidence to support it, and help you seek fair compensation for your injuries.

They will know all the optimal ways to seek a higher judgment or settlement award that is reflective of the ways the car accident injury has impacted your life.

First, your lawyer will likely begin with a thorough case evaluation to pore over details from the accident. They may ask for certain documentation, such as your medical records, insurance policy, police reports, name of witnesses, photos from the scene of the accident, and others.

Once they have explored the details, they can begin building your case. Over time, the best car accident attorneys establish a strong attorney-client relationship, so you can rest easy in allowing them to handle your claim.

Should your case go to trial (most settle out of court), a top-rated injury lawyer will have ample trial experience and will not be intimidated by the insurance company. Instead, they will stop at nothing to help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.


Trust LegalFinders to Connect You With the Best Car Accident Attorney for Your Claim

If you or a family member needs help filing a personal injury claim for a broken back caused in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or other type of accident, we can help. At LegalFinders, we have connections to top law firms in the United States, and we are ready to put you in touch with the best lawyer for your case.

A personal injury attorney can help you identify the at-fault party for your case, go head-to-head with the insurance adjuster, and much more. Learn more today when you call us for your free consultation.


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Published: 30 August 2022


American Association of Neurological Surgeons — Herniated Discs

Cleveland Clinic — Pinched nerves

Cleveland Clinic — Spinal Fractures

Johns Hopkins Medicine — Minimally Invasive Lumbar Discectomy

Legal Information Institute —  Comparative negligence

Legal Information Institute — Personal injury

Mayo Clinic — Bulging disk vs. herniated disks: What’s the difference?

Mayo Clinic — Spinal fusion