The stress of a car accident, whether a fender bender or a life-altering event, usually lasts well beyond the initial incident. Dealing with the interruption of your day, grappling with insurance companies, and feelings of shock are only the beginning when the accident has also resulted in an injury. According to studies, there are over 80,000 car crashes that cause neck injuries every year, and the primary cause of neck injuries is car accidents.
If you’ve sustained a neck injury, to avoid some of the associated distress, it’s very important to seek medical treatment even if you don’t immediately detect pain. This is not only crucial to your health, it’s also important if you plan to pursue legal retribution because medical treatment can affect settlement amounts.
It’s also critical not to settle your case prematurely. The other party will likely attempt to work things out with you early on so they can cut their losses, and you run the risk of not getting what is owed to you. Make sure to contact an attorney who is well-versed in personal injury law. The caring and dedicated lawyers at Snedaker Law have years of experience ensuring their clients receive the award or settlement they deserve.
Although the right attorney will help you understand the nuances of your case and the possibilities for recovery, it’s a good idea to understand some basic concepts yourself. Being aware of the types of neck injuries and the ways they are valued will arm you with the knowledge to empower yourself despite the difficult situation you’re in.
Some common neck injuries caused by car accidents are whiplash, soft tissue damage, slipped or herniated discs, facet joint injuries, neck fractures, and cuts and lacerations. Some symptoms of these injuries are:
If these injuries are left untreated, you may suffer a multitude of long-term effects. Some of the consequences are misdiagnosis, chronic pain, headaches, and cognitive issues. In turn, these can lead to additional problems like difficulty sleeping, depression, and anxiety.
After beginning the process of seeking treatment to prevent the long-term effects of a neck injury, enlist an attorney to help you get the best settlement or award possible. Here are a few car accident injury case examples:
Upon first glance, it may not be obvious how these amounts were determined. This is because several factors go into case value calculation. The biggest considerations are the extent of the injury and how probable it is for a jury to find the other party at fault. The elements that go into this evaluation are 1) the nature of the injury, 2) medical treatment, 3) the damages estimation, and 4) the determination of fault.
As discussed above, the type of neck injury you can endure from a car accident varies from minor to serious. An injury is considered even more severe the longer lasting it is. In addition, “hard” injuries usually result in larger settlements or jury verdicts than “soft” injuries like whiplash.
Hard injuries are those that can be detected through medical examination, while soft injuries are characterized by a person’s discomfort. Examples of hard injuries are herniated discs, neck fractures, and lacerations. Though soft tissue injuries are harder to prove because of the difficulty documenting and substantiating them, there are still ways to get fair compensation.
Another issue is that pre-existing conditions will affect the determination of how serious your neck injury is, and this may impact your settlement. The other party may argue that because you had an injury that pre-dated the accident, there is no way to determine where the pre-existing condition ends and where the car accident injury begins. What’s more, they may contend that the accident did not cause your injury at all, and it was entirely due to your prior condition.
However, even if you have a pre-existing condition, you may still be entitled to recovery if the accident caused additional pain or if it aggravated your condition. Related to this is the “eggshell skull” rule, which mandates that if a prior weakened condition is due to aging, the injured party is still protected, and the damages are not reduced because of the injured party’s higher susceptibility.
The nature and cost of the medical treatment you require will also affect your settlement or award. For example, treatment administered by a physician will call for higher compensation than chiropractic treatment. Similarly, an injury requiring surgery will have more weight than treatment involving only a neck brace.
Calculating damages can be multilayered. Damages defined by medical bills and lost income are easy to quantify because they are fairly objective measures. But damages for “pain and suffering” are more difficult to calculate because they’re primarily subjective and based on educated guesses. Injuries affect each person differently, and even damages for “loss of quality of life” vary depending on what your pre-accident quality of life was.
Determination of Fault
The other factor considered is whether evidence of fault exists. If the available evidence shows that the other party is likely to be found liable at trial, then you’re likely to get a higher settlement. But if there is little evidence of the other party’s fault, the value of the case is reduced.
With the guidance of an attorney and this basic knowledge of the ways to address both your health and your legal and financial needs, you’ll be able to handle your car accident neck injury expertly, even in such an emotionally demanding situation.