Back injuries cover a wide range of conditions and complications. The average settlement for a back injury depends on a range of factors including the severity of the injury, the amount of available insurance, and the circumstances of your accident.
If you sustained a back injury in a car wreck caused by another motorist, you should be eligible to claim for your loss but these cases are seldom straightforward. Working out the average settlement for a back injury is not always helpful. One of the most common back injuries is whiplash. This typically attracts considerable smaller payouts than a spinal fracture or a facet joint or herniated disk injury. The prevalence of whiplash injuries pushes down the average.
However, people who damage their back in car wrecks seldom do it in isolation. A lawsuit often reflects interrelated injuries such as headaches, brain damage, internal organ damage, and emotional trauma suffered as a result of a car crash.
What Factors Affect the Average Settlement for a Back Injury?
A study published a few years ago by Metro Verdicts Monthly suggested the median settlement for a back fracture sustained in a car crash in Maryland is just over $43,000. Other studies suggest about one in 10 settlements or verdicts in spinal disk injury cases exceed $1 million.
The Extent of Your Injuries
The extent of the victim’s injuries is one of the most important factors in any lawsuit. The law of tort is intended to make the victim whole again for what he or she has lost. As a rule of thumb, the more extreme the injuries, the greater the losses.
Extreme injuries after a Maryland car wreck are often permanent injuries. The life of the victim is never the same again. It stands to reason that the injured motorist should be compensated for the loss of the standard of living he or she enjoyed before the accident.
Fault for the Car Wreck
Fault is of the utmost importance in Maryland. This is not a comparative negligence state in which you can still claim compensation if you were 30 percent to blame for an accident. You must be blameless to make a recovery in Maryland. The actions and attitude of the at-fault driver affect the settlement for a back injury. If you were hit by a drunk driver, a speeding driver, or a driver who was texting on his cellphone in the vital seconds before the impact, you will likely have a stronger case than if blame is disputed. In a clear-cut case of reckless or drunken driving, a jury is more likely to be sympathetic to the victim. Most car accident lawsuits don’t end up before a jury but it’s a factor in the considerations of the insurance company. If the victim could have done more to avoid sustaining a serious back injury, the insurance company typically fights the case harder.
Pre-Existing Back Conditions
Insurance companies often seize on preexisting conditions to dispute your case or at least to reduce their offers. A staggering 80 percent of Americans suffer from back problems at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. A sedentary lifestyle can cause deterioration of the spine and lower back pain.
Many people who are involved in car accidents already had back problems before their crash. This is particularly the case with older people. Always tell your doctor or the E.R. physician about pre-existing conditions when you are treated after a car collision.
Your pre-existing condition will not prevent a successful claim if you suffer a new problem or it’s exacerbated by the wreck. The at-fault driver can still be held liable for any aggravation of a pre-existing condition from a Baltimore car wreck. Medical providers can struggle to estimate the degree an injury was aggravated by a new event like a car accident. On occasions, we can call on experts to help make this determination during a case. Always be honest with your doctor and lawyer about preexisting conditions. The insurance company will pull your medical records and failure to disclose a past condition will likely harm your case.
Amount of Insurance Available
The amount of insurance available in an insurance clam also determines the settlement for a back injury in Maryland. State law requires drivers to have a minimum of $30,000 per person or $60,000 per accident.
Insurance companies like GEICO offer uninsured bodily injury coverage of at least $30,000 per person and property damage cover of at least $15,000.
If you end up hit and injured by a driver with minimal insurance, these thresholds are soon reached. You may not get enough money to cover the cost of significant back and spinal injuries that can hit six figures in the first year.
A new insurance stacking law enacted in 2018 can help bridge the gap by using underinsured motorist coverage to make up the shortfall. It’s a complicated formula. Talk to your Maryland car crash lawyer about the details.
The Attitude of the Insurance Company
We know from experience that insurance adjusters are capricious. They are given a range to settle a case but some have more leeway than others. Some insurance companies dispute every claim you make about a car accident while others are more reasonable. Usually, insurance companies will fight serious back injuries more vigorously. They know spinal cord injuries and paralysis can result in $1 million-plus verdicts and settlements. However, typically the average settlement for a back injury reached with an insurance company is lower than the amount reached if a lawyer gets involved. Insurance companies will take you more seriously if you hire an attorney.
Is there a Personal Injury Calculator in Maryland?
There is no such thing as a personal injury calculator in Maryland. However, our Baltimore car crash injury team can work out your lost wages, the cost of damage to your car, and benefits and the amount of your past medical bills. We can estimate the cost of your future medical bills based on the seriousness of your condition and the assessments of medical experts. We can also put a figure on pain and suffering which is known as non-economic losses.
Can a Minor Car Accident Cause a Serious Back Injury?
Yes. The spine is highly sensitive and complex. Injuries in a rear-end crash at a low speed can damage vertebrae or cause a herniated or slipped disk. Although the most severe back injuries usually occur in high impact cashes in Maryland at considerable speeds, the back is notoriously unpredictable. The human body was not meant to travel at high speeds. Although seat belts make car travel safer, the spine is vulnerable to any impact.
Talk to a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer About Back Injuries
At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our experienced car wreck accident team helps victims of car crashes in Maryland day in, day out. We are acutely aware of the uphill struggle people with back injuries face and the physical and mental pain. We will fight for your rights, all the way to the courtroom if need be. Please contact us today for a free consultation.