Factors that Affect the Settlement Value of a Spinal Injury from a Wreck
Every case is different, so we cannot give one number to represent the amount of recoverable damages in a personal injury claim, including losses from a spinal cord injury you sustain in a car accident. Here are some of the many factors that will be part of the calculation of your claim:
The Location of Your Spinal Injury
A spinal injury can affect all neurological function at the level of the damage and everything below that level in your back. Another way of looking at this fact is that if you hurt your lower back with a lumbar spinal injury, it can affect your legs but not your arms. But if you suffer a thoracic spinal injury everything below your neck, including your arms and legs, can suffer damage.
The Type of Spinal Injury You Suffered
A back sprain or strain will receive less compensation than a complete spinal cord injury with resulting paralysis. You can usually expect to achieve a successful recovery of all function within a matter of weeks with some types of back injuries, while others can change your life forever.
The Severity of Your Injury
Back injuries you can sustain in a car accident range from mild to moderate to severe to catastrophic. The more serious your injury, the higher your compensation is likely to be. Within the different types of injuries, there are ranges of severity. For example, you can have an incomplete (some function remains) or complete (complete paralysis) spinal cord injury. A person can become a paraplegic or a quadriplegic as a result.
Treatments You Had to Undergo for Your Spinal Injury
The cost, inconvenience, and discomfort of the procedures you had to have to treat your spinal injury will affect the amount of your settlement. If you are lucky enough to recover fully from a mild back injury with only bedrest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and a few weeks of physical therapy, your claim will settle for less money than someone who had to suffer through multiple surgeries for a more significant spinal injury.
How Successful the Procedures Were in Treating Your Neck or Back
Not all patients achieve the same level of function after completing treatment that they had before the spinal injury. Many people endure chronic pain for years or permanently after a back injury. The less that you are made “whole” by the medical treatments, the higher your settlement is likely to be.
Complications From the Treatments on Your Back or Neck
Steroid injections and surgeries have inherent risks, including infection, paralysis, and nerve degeneration. Prescription medications can lead to addiction. If you suffered complications from the treatments that were supposed to help you, we can add those problems to your total claim.
Continuing Issues and Impacts on Your Life From the Injury
Some people are never the same after a significant spinal injury. If you continue to have problems after completing the full plan of treatments, and your injuries affect your life going forward, your settlement can include these losses.
Lost Income Past and Future
We will include the wages you lost because of the accident, medical treatments, and recuperation into your settlement package. Also, if you will be unable to earn as much money in the future because of your spinal injury, you should get compensation for this loss.
The Cost of Ongoing Medical Care
One reason you should not accept a quick settlement with the insurance company is that you do not know early on how well you will heal from your injury and whether you will need ongoing medical care. The costs of ongoing medical care should be part of your settlement.
Long-term Care and Assistance
In cases of paralysis, patients often need daily assistance with things like eating, bathing, and mobility. Some people need to live in a long-term care facility to receive regular medical care. These costs will be factors in a settlement.
In addition to all the economic losses you can experience with a spinal injury, you should receive compensation for things like your pain and suffering, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your spouse might have a claim for loss of consortium.
The Behavior of the At-fault Driver
If the driver responsible for the crash was guilty of reprehensible acts, such as illegally leaving the scene of the accident or driving drunk, a jury is likely to punish him by awarding higher damages. The insurance companies know this, so if there are similar facts in your case, you might get more compensation than you otherwise would.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Injury Claim
As you can see from the many factors that go into the calculation of a settlement for a spinal injury from a car accident, you should not try to handle your claim without professional guidance.All you need to do is call the car accident team at Max Meyers Law, and we will investigate your case and negotiate with the insurance company for you. For a free consultation, call us at 425-399-7000.