How much money should you expect for your back injury settlement? People are uncomfortable asking that question, but it is -- and should be --- the primary question of anyone bringing an injury claim. Bringing a claim is not going to lessen your pain. All the civil justice system can offer you is money.Value Varies Wildly by Injury
The median plaintiff's verdict award for car and truck crash cases that involved back injuries is $212,500. But what about your case?
The value of back injury cases depends on the type of injury. At the top of the value chart is clearly spinal cord injuries. Assuming adequate insurance, these cases are typically assessed in the millions.
Next in line is disc injury cases. Herniated disc injury cases are usually valued at more than ruptured or bulging discusses but that is such a general rule that there are almost as many cases that fall in the exception as fall under the rule. Some herniated disc cases are million dollar cases and others are relatively minor injury cases that cause the victim little, if any, long-term trouble. The settlement value of these types of back injury cases hinge on:
(1) whether there is any prior damage to that part of the back,
(2) what the MRI/CT scan shows, and
(3) what the physical symptoms are of the back injury and how the victim's life is impacted by the injury.
At the bottom end of the scale for the amount you can expect in a back injury settlement is soft tissue back injuries that cannot be confirmed by any diagnostic testing. The value of these cases is going to depend on:
- the credibility of the plaintiff and the severity of the injury,
- whether there are pre-existing back injuries,
- how significant the impact was, and
- which insurance company is involved. (You can find analysis of virtually every individual insurance company here.)
Obviously, the credibility of the plaintiff is critical in a personal injury case. It is as trite as saying that the key to winning a basketball game is putting the ball in the basket. But this familiar trope it is particularly true in back injury cases. Why? First, juries come at back injuries with a healthy skepticism. It is the cliche motor vehicle accident injury. Moreover, with back injuries, the extent of the injuries often don't line up with the radiological findings. I have medical experts tell me that the patient back is an absolute wreck, but the patient is clinically doing quite well. Conversely, I've seen small disc herniations that I'm 100% convinced have caused an injury that causes pain to the victim 24 hours a day. So, if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached, the plaintiff needs to carry the ball at her deposition, and, if necessary, at trial.
Ultimately, as you can see, there are a lot of variables at play in valuing these cases. There is no calculator or formula to compute how much money you can expect in a settlement. But we can learn more about the range of settlements and the links below help you find the answers you are trying to find.
- Value of Back Injuries
- Sample Back Injury Settlements
- The Degenerative Disc Problem (and how to solve it)
More Case Value Information
The toughest back injury cases involve preexisting injuries. The most common battle is in herniated disc injury cases because many of us have compromised discs but may have no physical manifestations of injury. The insurance companies argument is that the plaintiff's back was already a mess at the time of the car accident because the MRI show injuries or degeneration that were likely before the accident occurred.
But favorable settlements and jury verdicts can be had in many cases with previous injuries. Ultimately, the law in Maryland is that your compensation should be the difference between your condition before the crash and your condition after, assuming the accident caused the change in the condition. Common sense is on our side here, too, right? If you did not have pain before the crash and you have pain after the accident, it is not too difficult to add two and two together.
So how do you win these cases? The key is having an attorney and doctors who can articulate the difference between your problems and treatment before the accident and your current condition. If the crash trauma did not cause a change in your condition, your chances of getting a favorable settlement are slim. If, on the other hand, there is an evident change in your injuries from before the wreck, the likelihood of a quality settlement is quite high.
That said, these are the types of cases insurance companies want to fight. Most of our cases settle before we ever file a lawsuit. Is this true with our back injury case with pre-existing injuries? No. We usually have to slug it out with them for at least a while to get fair value or better.Contact Us
We fight to get our clients who have suffered severe back injuries the value they deserve: either by settlement or at trial. Call us to discuss your case at 800-553-8082 or get a free on-line consultation.