Get More Than the Average Settlement: Broken Neck Car Accident in Texas
Back and neck injuries are one of the most common types of injuries sustained by victims of a car accident in Dallas, Texas. These injuries often range from simple sprains that require medical attention and bed rest, to severe injuries that may result in surgery and prolonged physical therapy.
The law in Texas entitles the victim of a car accident to seek compensation and any recoverable damages from the at-fault party. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, victims can walk away with a sizeable back or neck injury settlement that covers lost wages, the cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering, and much more.
However, winning a back and neck injury settlement is not a simple thing to do. There are often many factors that determine how much the victim will eventually be awarded for their back and neck injuries. Often, knowing what the average settlement amount victims can expect is a good starting point.
This is why it is important to approach experienced personal injury attorneys immediately after a car accident. In Texas, the top-rated law firm when it comes to neck or back injury settlements is Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. Car accident victims can call the law firm and schedule a free consultation.
The Average Settlement Amount for a Neck or Back Injury in Texas
Car accidents happen daily in Texas. Many of these end up causing serious back or neck injuries that require extensive medical treatment.
To compensate the victims, Texas courts often award settlements payable by the at-fault party or their insurance company.
Over the years, many different amounts of settlement offers have been made based on the specific circumstances of the car accident and the severity of the neck injuries sustained.
However, to date, no back or neck injury settlement in Texas has ever exceeded the $2.1 million awarded to a victim involved in a car accident with a commercial truck.
Victims in Texas can usually expect to receive around $503,648 for a back or neck injury settlement. The median settlement for a neck or back injury is much lower, sitting at around $350,000.
Of course, many factors will be considered to determine the amount that can be expected for each neck or back injury settlement.
A good auto accident lawyer in Dallas will determine the merits of each claim and advise their client on how best to approach the personal injury lawsuit to win maximum compensation for their neck, back, or spinal cord injuries.
Key Factors Affecting Your Neck Injury Settlement
Why does one neck or back injury settlement receive millions of dollars in compensation, while another only gets hundreds of thousands when both are car accident claims in the same state?
This is a question that victims need to tackle during their free case evaluation with a competent car accident attorney.
Generally speaking, car accident settlements are determined on a case-by-case basis, and the following factors are the most important considerations:
Severity of Neck Injuries
The more severe the injuries that the victim suffers, the more they can expect to be awarded after a neck injury settlement.
Severe neck, back, and spinal cord injuries require a lot of money to treat and will cause a lot of suffering to the victim, which will persuade the courts to award them a higher settlement.
When back and neck injuries require an extensive amount of recovery time, either in the hospital or at home, this will be a huge blow to the victim's earning capacity. This situation is compounded in cases where the victim is the main provider for their family.
Luckily, calculating the amount of money needed to compensate for lost wages is not a difficult thing for a good lawyer. This is one of the easiest damages to win in personal injury claims, as long as the victim can provide clear employment records.
Cost of Medical Treatment
Depending on the severity of the neck and back injuries, medical expenses usually account for the biggest chunk of the costs the victims are burdened with. A good lawyer needs to be able to account for all the medical expenses that the victims had to pay.
Neck and back injuries vary depending on their severity, and as such, there is no telling just how much the total medical bills will be.
A neck injury can, for example, require minor medical treatment, costing around $300, or it can require surgery that can end up costing more than $500,000.
Ongoing Physical Therapy
The nature of a neck injury is such that the victim may require extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation for a long time after the car accident.
These injuries affect such a delicate part of the body that victims can find themselves having to re-learn many of the basic skills we take for granted, such as talking or walking.
The first year of physical therapy often requires the most amount of treatment, and can easily cost more than a million dollars for serious injuries. Subsequent years will likely cost less as the patient gets better. However, the impact on their quality of life will be significant, so the neck injury settlement needs to reflect this.
Level of Pain and Suffering
How much did the victim suffer during the car accident, and continue to suffer in their daily life? This is not an easy question to answer and is one that is likely to be challenged by the defense in court. It is difficult for anyone to say how much pain and suffering someone else experienced.
However, a good lawyer will know how to prove this in court. With the help of medical reports, pictures, witness statements, and the victim's account, a lawyer can demonstrate the level of anxiety, pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder that the victim had to endure.
In the end, it will be up to the judge to determine how much to award the victim for their pain and suffering.
What the Insurance Company Says
The role of the insurance company in personal injury claims should never be underestimated. Depending on the causes of the car accident and the nature of the neck injury, the insurance company can choose to make a fair settlement offer without a fight or may choose to go to court and fight the case.
There is also the issue of the insurance policy limitations on the at-fault party's policy. If this cannot exceed a certain amount in compensation, it may complicate the personal injury claim even further.
When an insurance company decides to fight tooth and nail to avoid paying victims the compensation they deserve, nothing short of a very good lawyer will do.
Victim's Liability (Comparative Negligence)
In Texas, there is a 51% comparative negligence law that applies to personal injury cases. This means that the victim's liability in causing the accident plays a crucial role in determining whether they walk away with the damages they deserve or not. If the courts deem the victim to be partially at fault for the accident, the damages they receive will be reduced.
Crucially, if the victim is deemed to have been more than 51% responsible for the car accident, they cannot receive any compensation from the defendant.
This is often a sticky point in a neck and back injury settlement claim and is something only an experienced attorney will know how to navigate.
Getting awarded punitive damages in a neck injury claim in Texas is not common, nor is it easy. Usually, the standard required to prove punitive damages requires very convincing evidence that shows that the actions of the at-fault party require further punishment.
Punitive damages are often awarded in cases where it can be shown that the defendant caused harm to the victims through acts of gross negligence, malice, or fraud.
However, if this can be proved, punitive damages can increase the settlement for a neck or back injury by up to twice the amount offered for economic and non-economic damages.
The Car Accident Attorney's Ability to Negotiate
Finally, the entire case, including the total neck injury settlement awarded to the victim, will rest on the attorney's ability to argue convincingly on behalf of their client.
When larger settlement offers are being negotiated, the personal injury case can quickly become a dogfight between the victims and the insurance companies.
In such cases, the lawyer's ability to negotiate will often take center stage. This is why victims need to put their trust in a law firm with a good track record of winning huge neck injury settlements, such as Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys.
Common Neck Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Understanding the types of back and neck injuries that are common in car accidents is the first step to determining how much compensation a victim is entitled to. The following are five common neck and back injuries that every car accident attorney needs to know:
A neck fracture is one of the most serious injuries that a victim can suffer during a car accident as it has the potential to cause serious damage to the spinal cord, which could easily lead to permanent injury, such as paralysis.
When a neck fracture is suspected, the victim needs to be kept as immobile as possible until an X-ray can be done to determine the severity of the injury sustained.
Similar to a neck fracture, fractured vertebrae are another very serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. Depending on how badly the vertebrae have been damaged, and whether the injury extends to the spinal cord, victims may require spinal surgery, extensive physical therapy, or a brace to help them learn to walk again.
Facet Joint Injury
Facet joints are responsible for maintaining the mobility and stability of the neck and head. After a car accident, these joints can easily become irritated or inflamed, which may end up affecting the victim's mobility.
Also called a herniated disc, a slipped disk occurs when a high-level impact, such as that which occurs during a car accident, causes disks in the spine to slip out of place. These spine dislocations cause a variety of symptoms, such as numbness in the neck, tingling sensations, weakness, and pain.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Any type of strain, sprain, or tearing of the tendons, muscles, and ligaments of the neck is called a soft tissue injury. The symptoms of this type of injury include pain, tenderness, and stiffness of the neck.
The Most Common Back or Neck Injury: Whiplash Injury
One of the most common injuries sustained in a car accident is a whiplash injury. Whenever a patient is admitted to the hospital after a car crash, the first things a doctor will look for, after traumatic brain injuries, is whiplash injuries.
Diagnosis of a Whiplash Injury
The unfortunate thing is that whiplash injuries can be difficult to diagnose. Traditional tools, such as MRI scans and X-rays are of little help to a doctor trying to determine whether a patient has suffered neck whiplash. However, after a car accident, especially one that involves being hit from behind, it is always the safer option to assume some type of whiplash injury and seek medical treatment.
Low-Speed Whiplash Injury
What most people do not realize is that whiplash injuries can occur even in low-speed car accidents. The majority of whiplash injuries reported occur when vehicles are traveling at less than 15 mph, with injuries from speeds as low as 5 mph also being reported.
What does this mean for car accident victims? No matter how slow the car was going, after a car accident, the first step is always to seek medical attention, regardless of whether or not the victim feels fine.
Treatment and Recovery Period for Whiplash Injuries
In around 50% of cases of whiplash, victims achieve full recovery in a matter of weeks. Physical therapy is the most common form of treatment for whiplash. Chiropractic procedures are also quite common.
However, for the other half of victims who suffer whiplash injuries, the road to recovery can be a very long one. It is common for victims to develop life-long symptoms that can have a very huge impact on their quality of life.
Patients who exhibit signs of these lifelong "whiplash-associated disorders" need to be compensated accordingly. The high costs of medical expenses mean that these victims are likely to receive far more than the average settlement amount for Texas neck or back injury victims.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries Can Be Permanent
Car crash victims need to realize that neck and spinal cord injuries can be permanent, with paralysis being the biggest issue. Usually, symptoms that persist for more than two years, with or without any paralysis, can be medically classified as being part of a permanent injury.
Considering the poor quality of life that whiplash injury victims will likely have to injure, their attorneys must emphasize this when arguing for non-economic losses. The party at fault for the motor vehicle accident needs to be held accountable for the level of suffering they have caused.
Establishing the Severity of Neck Injuries Sustained
When trying to establish the severity of the neck or back injuries sustained by the victim in a bid to win maximum compensation, a good car accident attorney has three weapons in their arsenal, namely:
Accurate Medical Records
Nothing is more convincing to a judge that the written words of a qualified medical doctor. A victim armed with accurate medical records is likely to receive fair compensation for their medical expenses without having to fight hard for it. This is why a good lawyer will always seek medical records from the hospital before filing a lawsuit.
Medical Treatment Journal
When it comes to showing the court just how much the victim suffered during the entire ordeal, having a medical treatment journal can be a great asset. This is also a great tool when trying to prove the emotional impact that the car accident had on the victim, which is something medical records do not always show unless a psychiatric evaluation was done.
Expert Medical Testimony
Having an expert medical professional explain the nature of a victim's injuries to an insurance adjuster, or as a witness in court, can help prove that the level of suffering the victim went through requires a lot more than the average settlement amount offered for neck and back injuries. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can share the average brain injury settlement value Texas.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help With a Neck Injury Settlement
The complexities of filing a personal injury claim in Dallas, Texas, require a very experienced attorney to help victims navigate the lawsuit process and receive fair compensation. A good personal injury attorney will assist with:
Determining the average settlement amount a victim may expect
Negotiating with insurance companies
Filing the personal injury lawsuit
Fighting for the victim's rights in court
Winning maximum damages
Victims of a car accident who suspect that they may have suffered neck or back injuries need to call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys and ask for a free initial case evaluation. Going toe-to-toe with insurance companies in Texas is not easy, and they will need a law firm that is ready to go to war for them.