average settlement for car accident back and neck injury

Settlements Guide: Average Settlement For Car Accident Back And Neck Injury

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 7 minutes

Settlements Guide: Average Settlement For Car Accident Back And Neck Injury

We understand that injury victims are always on the lookout for helpful information — from identifying the average settlement for a car accident back and neck injury, to figuring out what an attorney can do to assist them through the legal process. To that end, we’ve gone ahead and gathered some useful information to help you understand your case better, and perhaps begin the path towards recovery and compensation.

Let’s take a closer look!

Why is settlement so common in car accident disputes?

The large majority of car accident disputes end in a settlement. In fact, according to most industry observers, more than 95 percent of injury-related disputes are resolved through a negotiated settlement. But why is it so common?

There are good strategic reasons for why settlements are so common. Perhaps most importantly, trial litigation is uncertain. Even if you have a “strong” case, there’s a chance that the court will not find in your favor. And even if they do give you the “win,” the court could still underestimate your damages and leave you with an unsatisfactory result.

Finally, litigation is exhausting, resource-intensive, and public. Most claimants don’t want to spend a year invested in the back-and-forth conflict of a lawsuit. Further, their case may be reported on publicly, which could hurt their reputation and leave them feeling vulnerable.

To avoid all these negatives, most parties agree to a settlement that fairly accounts for all the relevant case factors.

What is the average settlement for a car accident back and neck injury?

There is no publicly available data to explain the “average settlement for a car accident back and neck injury.” But even as a general rule, you shouldn’t expect to rely on averages to understand what sort of settlement you can receive for your case.

Every case is different, and the amount you can claim is different, too — as the losses that you suffer will be unique to your case. To better understand what sort of settlement offers you can expect, it’s worth speaking to an attorney who can evaluate the dynamics of your case in more detail.

Factors that can increase the settlement offers you receive

Don’t assume that your negotiated settlement will hover around the perceived average settlement for a car accident, back and neck injury. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, you can emphasize certain factors (and de-emphasize other factors) in order to maximize the value of your case, and strategically position yourself so that you receive better settlement offers.

The more “airtight” that your case is, the more likely the defendant (or insurer, or any other third-party) is to make a strong settlement offer. Thus, case factors that can increase the settlement offer include:

  • Legal liability of the defendant is certain
  • The injured plaintiff is not at-fault, and if so, only to a minor degree
  • There is substantial evidence supporting the damages claim
  • The plaintiff would “present sympathetically” to a jury
  • The defendant wants to avoid the negative publicity of a lawsuit
  • The defendant is not hostile, aggressive, or otherwise ready-for-a-legal-battle
  • And more

What is the most common back and neck injury in a car accident?

Whiplash is the most common back and neck injury experienced by the victims of a car accident — and reasonably so, given that the force of impact is very likely to cause a whiplash injury (which is based on sudden back-and-forth movement).

On a national level, there are more than two million new whiplash cases every single year. This is hardly surprising, as whiplash can occur even at low-speed. As low as 10 miles per hour, in fact!

Can a car accident cause back and neck pain years later?

Yes, it can. As with any accident, a car accident can lead to non-obvious injuries (or the start of degenerative physical conditions) that may not appear until much later — even years! In fact, this is not all that uncommon in the personal injury space.

That’s why it’s important to continue to see a physician regarding potential injuries resulting from your accident — they will keep an eye out for any further developments, thus giving you an opportunity to pursue your case when symptoms do appear later.

Calculating damages in a car accident dispute

Whether you’re trying to figure out the average settlement for car accident back and neck injury, or just trying to figure out what sort of settlement “you” can expect to receive, then you have to be able to calculate the damages.

Calculating damages is relatively straightforward, but it’s important to understand what damages “as a concept” represent. Essentially, damages measure the total recoverable losses that you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. In a lawsuit, you would be entitled to sue for compensation to obtain the claimed damages. This is seen as a form of economic justice.

There are many different losses that you can claim as damages. Of course, you have to actually have suffered a loss to claim it, so bear that in mind! These losses include, but are not limited to:

  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Property loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

So, for example, if you had to take a month off from work after your car accident due to your injuries, then you could claim that month of wage loss as part of your damages total (which would likely include several other claimable losses, such as medical expenses, property loss, pain and suffering, and more).

How is pain and suffering calculated?

Pain and suffering damages are a form of “subjective” damages in that it is based on opinion and personal experience of suffering during/after an accident — not on any objectively usable measurement.

For example, wage loss is an “objective” form of damages, as you can simply produce your pay stubs to prove how much you earn normally (and would have earned, had you not been injured). Tallying up your missed time would be a simple, agreed-upon calculation of wage loss damages.

That being said, pain and suffering claims are not wispy and vague, necessarily. Skilled attorneys use experts (such as physicians, massage therapists, chiropractors, rehabilitation professionals, etc.) to provide testimony regarding the amount of pain and suffering that you experienced. They may also use their expertise to “prove” the level of pain and suffering you experienced by comparing it to other clients they’ve had.

Don’t forget about the statute of limitations!

Every injury claim has an applicable “statute of limitations” deadline. For example, if you sustained a negligence-based injury in California, you’ll have two years from the date of injury to file.

If you don’t file the claim before the deadline passes, it will be considered abandoned and the courts will automatically dismiss it. That prevents you from seeking legal compensation. And from a settlement point-of-view, it will also undermine (if not completely eliminate) your ability to secure a negotiated settlement.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you may be feeling confused and overwhelmed about the process of seeking compensation — whether through a negotiated settlement or otherwise. An attorney can help guide you through this process and advocate on your behalf at every stage.

Contact us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 to speak to one of our agents. They’ll ask you a few questions, and in just 10 minutes, will get you connected to an experienced local car accident attorney in our network for a free consultation. During this initial consultation, you’ll have an opportunity to talk about your case and get advice on how best to move forward.

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