How Much is My Back Injury Worth in a Lawsuit?

July 2, 2024 |
How Much is My Back Injury Worth in a Lawsuit?
Woman suffering from waist, backache or hip pain on white background

Sustaining a back injury can significantly affect your life. You’ll likely experience pain and discomfort, and you may not partake in certain activities like you normally used to do, including work. Additionally, you might face financial hardships due to your back injury.

When a third party’s wrongdoing causes your back injury, you may have a valid compensation claim. But how much is your back injury worth? A skilled car accident attorney can accurately assess your claim and give you an idea of what to expect from a lawsuit settlement.

Need Legal Help? Let's talk

Types of Back Injuries

The back is made up of different parts, including muscles, tendons, nerves, and other tissues. Thespine is also an important part of the back, made up of multiple anatomical parts, including:

  • Cervical
  • Thoracic
  • Lumbar
  • Sacrum
  • Coccyx

Back injuries can involve the soft tissue of the back as well as the spine. Additionally, many back injuries affect spinal discs, which are rubber-like cushions between the bones of the spine.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are the most common kinds of back injuries. While these types of injuries can happen over time with repetitive movement, they can also happen during a stressful event, like an accident.

A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is pulled or twisted, while a sprain occurs when a trauma, like a fall or sudden motion, causes a joint to shift out of its normal position.

Signs of a sprain or strain in the back include:

  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • A popping sound or feeling at the time of the injury
  • Pain that worsens with certain motions
  • Trouble walking, bending, or standing up straight

With proper care, you can recover from a sprain or strain. However, following a treatment plan is important to avoid complications and aggravation of the injury.

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs happen frequently, affecting the intervertebral discs in the spine.

Spinal discs are often described as jelly donuts, with a tougher exterior and a soft interior. When the back suffers trauma, the jelly-like interior of the discs can tear through the disc's exterior. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including pain that runs down the arm or leg, muscle weakness, and numbness or tingling.

A herniated disc can happen along any part of the spine but often occurs in the lower back.

Fractures

spinal fracture occurs when you break any of the 33 bones in the spinal column. The injury is often referred to as a broken back.

There are several different types of fractures, including:

  • Compression fractures: Small breaks in the vertebrae caused by trauma. 
  • Chance fractures: Fractures when the vertebrae suddenly pull away from one another. 
  • Burst fractures: Fractures when your spine is suddenly compressed with pressure, often resulting in vertebrae breaking into several pieces. 

Recovery from a broken back can be lengthy and can require surgery for severe fractures.

Facet Joint Injuries

Facet joints sit between the bones of the spine, with nerve roots running through these joints and into various parts of the body. These joints allow you to move, twist, and bend your back without hurting your spine. Trauma can affect the facet joints, causing serious pain.

Spinal Cord Injury

In the most extreme cases, you may sustain an injury to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is one of the most important parts of the body, as it is in charge of numerous bodily functions, including muscle movement, sensory functions, and reflexes.

A spinal cord injury can permanently damage the spinal cord, causing life-altering consequences such as paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel control, and respiratory issues. Injuries to the spinal cord require immediate medical care and can be life-threatening if not treated right away.

Degenerative Spinal Disorders

Degenerative spinal disorders don’t happen immediately after an accident and injury to the spine. However, when you suffer a traumatic back injury, you’re more likely to suffer from a disc disorder. These disorders can arise in the months or even years following your injury.

Many spinal disorders exist, with some of the most common including:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Bone spurs

It is important to take care of your back after suffering an injury. Proper care can help prevent or delay many common disc disorders.

Causes of Back Injuries

Driver Standing Having Backpain After Driving Car.

Back injuries happen every day for numerous reasons. However, if another party causes your injury, you can have a viable legal claim to pursue compensation for your resulting losses.

Some of the most common, actionable causes of back injuries include:

  • Auto collisions, including car and truck accidents
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Premises liability accidents, including slip and falls
  • Workplace accidents

It’s important to examine the cause of your back injury, as this can provide answers regarding liability. A skilled injury attorney can investigate your accident to ensure you file a claim against the appropriate party.

Pursuing Compensation for a Back Injury After an Accident

When you suffer a back injury at the hands of another, you can pursue justice and compensation. How you seek financial recovery depends on the cause of the injury and the circumstances.

In some cases, like auto collisions and premises liability accidents, you may file an insurance claim. When you file an insurance claim, an adjuster investigates your accident and the severity of your injuries to determine whether they want to approve your claim and, if so, how much they believe it is worth.

Sometimes, an insurance claim is all you need to recover just compensation. However,  if the insurance company is unwilling to settle fairly or decides to deny an otherwise valid claim, you can file a lawsuit. Additionally, you might skip straight to filing a legal claim if your attorney believes it makes more sense than starting with an insurance claim.

When you file a lawsuit, you ask for the court’s backing in your pursuit of monetary recovery. It is usually a more serious process than an insurance claim.

During the lawsuit process, your injury attorney gathers information and evidence to support your claims and strengthen your case. After both parties have the details they need, your personal injury lawyer can engage in settlement negotiations to get you a favorable case result.

Only a small number of injury lawsuits go to trial. A majority of these cases are settled outside the courtroom.

How Much is a Back Injury Worth in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

One of the most pressing questions injured victims ask is, “How much is my injury worth in a lawsuit?” The best answer to this question is “It depends.”

Every case is unique, as is every plaintiff. At the outset of your case, it's difficult to know how much your injury might be worth in a lawsuit. As such, there is no “average” back injury settlement because every case is so different.

Eventually, after much investigation and consideration, you will know how much your back injury claim is worth. Understanding the value of your claim is key to ensuring you get the most out of your lawsuit.

Damages Available in Back Injury Cases

As an injured plaintiff, you can receive certain compensatory damages for your injuries and losses. The damages you can obtain depend on the specifics of your case. Your damages help compensate you for your accident and injuries' economic and non-economic losses.

Economic Damages

Your economic damages are your monetary, tangible losses. Examples of economic damages include, but are not limited to:

  • Present and future medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, medications, and surgeries
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Property damage

Economic damages are typically easier to calculate, as there is plenty of readily available evidence to provide as proof.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are unlike economic damages because they represent intangible, non-monetary losses. Common examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability 

Not as much evidence is available for non-economic damages, as these damages are largely subjective. Therefore, always rely on your injury lawyer’s skill to prove these damages.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, you may also have the opportunity to pursue punitive damages for your lawsuit.

Punitive damages are unlike compensatory damages as they do not directly compensate plaintiffs for losses. Instead, punitive damages serve to punish defendants for their particularly wrongful actions. Punitive damages usually only apply in cases where a defendant’s actions were grossly negligent, intentional, or malicious.

Factors Influencing the Value of Your Back Injury Claim

Determining the monetary value of your back injury case requires thoroughly examining several factors that play a significant role in calculating damages. For your personal injury lawyer to figure out how much your case is worth, they must assess many details, including:

  • The severity of your back injury
  • Whether you sustained any other injuries in your accident
  • The total cost of your medical treatment
  • Whether you’ll require medical care for your back injury and other accident injuries in the future
  • How your accident and injuries have impacted your mental and emotional health
  • Whether your back injury has negatively affected your ability to work and earn a living

These and other critical factors can help your injury lawyer decide how much your claim is worth. Once you have this information, you can pursue just compensation for your case.

How to Positively Impact Your Lawsuit

What you do following a back injury can substantially affect your ability to obtain compensation and the value of your claim. After sustaining a back injury, the following steps can help build a strong case.

Seek Medical Care Right Away

First and foremost, after sustaining any injury, it’s essential to seek medical attention. No matter the cause of your injury, if you’re involved in an accident or negative incident, it’s best to get medical care, even if you don’t feel injured at the moment.

Back injuries can be tricky because some injuries don’t start to show signs the moment they happen. Still, waiting to get medical attention can cause complications and hinder your recovery. Therefore, a full examination can help provide necessary answers about your injuries and allow you to begin treatment immediately.

Follow Through with Medical Treatment

Not only is it important to get a doctor’s recommendation concerning your back injury, but it’s also vital to follow through with your medical treatment.

It’s not uncommon for injured victims to begin their treatment and fail to follow through, either because they begin to feel better or they don’t think they need it. If you have questions or concerns about your treatment, discuss them with your doctor. You should never just stop treatment, as this can not only affect your recovery but also harm your claim.

Failing to complete your medical treatment as recommended by your healthcare provider can communicate to the insurance company your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. When you take your treatment seriously, this reflects positively in your medical records.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim

Evidence in injury cases often includes:

  • Accident and police reports
  • Medical records and bills
  • Witness statements
  • Photos and videos
  • Surveillance footage

Certain evidence, like witness contact information, may be available right away, while you may need to wait for some to become available as your case progresses, like police reports. Your personal injury attorney can gather complicated evidence, such as security video footage from nearby businesses or police records.

Consult with an Injury Attorney

Judge gavel with Justice lawyers having team meeting at law firm in background.

Discussing your case with a local injury attorney can get your claim started. An attorney can answer your questions, ease your concerns, and determine the best way to proceed with your compensation claim.

Your injury attorney will play an integral role in your case. They will be your biggest ally in your legal battle as they fight diligently to get you the compensation you need.

Don’t Wait to File Your Back Injury Claim

When you suffer a back injury caused by another, don’t wait to take action, as time is limited. Rely on a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to determine how much your claim is worth and actively pursue the most favorable result based on the value of your case.

Need Legal Help? Let's talk