Spine Injuries from Car Accidents: Legal Options to Take
Posted on Fri Jan 22, 2021
Between 2015 and 2020, the United States saw nearly 18,000 spinal cord injuries each year, according to the University of Alabama’s National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. A staggering 38.6 percent of those injuries were the result of a car accident.
Countless Alabamians suffer a car accident spine injury every year. From problems with mobility to severe nerve pain, these injuries can have horrific effects on your life. The good news is that you have legal options. For more information, see below and reach out to Warren & Simpson today.
Common Types of Spinal Injuries from Car Accidents
Spinal cord injury accidents can cause various neck and back injuries with different effects. The following are some of the most common types of spinal injuries from car crashes:
- Spinal cord injuries: Any trauma to the spinal cord can cause numbness and partial or full paralysis. High-impact crashes, such as T-bone and head-on accidents, are common causes of spinal cord injuries.
- Lumbar spine injuries: This part of your spine is in your lower back. It contains the largest vertebrae and the muscles you need to stabilize your upper body. Spraining or straining your lumbar spine can lead to long-term numbness and pain. While these injuries can result from any sort of traffic crash, side-impact crashes are a common cause.
- Thoracic spine injuries: High-speed car accidents like head-on collisions can cause injuries to the upper (thoracic) spine. Straining or spraining the thoracic spine can cause permanent nerve damage and chronic back pain.
- Whiplash: This neck injury happens when the head is thrust back and forth rapidly, a common result of rear-end car accidents. Pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion are all common effects of whiplash.
- Spinal fracture: Spinal fractures are often referred to as a "broken back." According to a Journal of Neuroscience study, rollover car accidents are the most common cause of spinal fractures. Chance fractures are common in car accidents. This fracture leads to serious, long-term pain.
If you have suffered any type of car accident spine injury, you may have legal options for recovering the compensation you need and deserve. Ahead, we’ll look into the legal options available.
Legal Options After Suffering a Car Accident Spine Injury
A painful back injury after a car accident can leave you feeling like you have no options. Fortunately, thanks to Alabama law, you do have a few legal options after your crash.
Suing the Other Driver
If the driver who caused your car accident — and, by extension, your back injury — acted negligently, they may be forced to compensate you for every way in which this crash has harmed you. This option requires that you file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. And you must support this claim with evidence that the other driver was at fault and you were not.
Suing the Insurance Company
Many people who have been injured in auto accidents pursue compensation for their damages through their own auto insurance policy or the other driver. This can be a good option for getting your medical bills and property damage covered. But expect the insurer to fight hard to avoid compensating you.
Why Work with an Attorney After a Spinal Cord Injury Accident?
In both of the above legal options, you are likely to face reluctance, avoidance, dismissiveness and outright lies from the other side. Insurers have entire teams whose job is to take advantage of you by offering a low settlement or tricking you into admitting fault that is not yours. And at-fault drivers are likely to have attorneys of their own fighting for them.
This is not a time to take a chance. Back injuries often lead to years of medical bills and surgeries — not to mention lost time at work. You need full compensation. And that is what an experienced personal injury attorney can get for you. Your lawyer can fight for every dollar you are owed while maximizing the value of your claim.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident with Back Injury?
Because spine injuries can vary so widely, it is hard to say the exact average car accident spine injury settlement. One 2007 study found that spinal cord injuries could cost as much as $28,334 in medical bills alone per year. Because spine injuries can last for years, the medical bills quickly add up.
Then, you have to factor in other damages like property damage and lost income. The value of your vehicle will determine property damage costs. And your settlement should cover any wages you lost at work while recovering. For reference, the average length of stay after a spinal injury is 11 days in acute care and 31 days in rehab, according to the NSCISC.
Finally, your settlement should account for all of the non-financial damages you have suffered: pain and suffering, emotional distress, reduced quality of life and many others. The exact value of these can vary widely, but a qualified personal injury lawyer can push for the maximum amount for these and all of your other damages.
Tips on Maximizing Car Accident Settlement Amount
- Gather and preserve evidence.
To maximize your spinal cord injury accident settlement, you will need to have plenty of evidence that shows your injuries and who is at fault. Photos and videos of your injuries and the accident scene, witness statements and medical records are all good pieces of evidence to have.
- Do not talk to the insurance company.
The insurance company is not your friend after an accident. Even your own insurer will be looking for ways to twist your words so they do not have to give you the full compensation you deserve. Instead of speaking with them, you can direct the insurers to discuss all matters with your attorney.
- Contact a trusted attorney.
Sometimes, simply getting a top personal injury lawyer involved in your case is enough to get the other side to fight fairly. Beyond that, a lawyer can help you gather evidence, file your lawsuit and maximize your compensation.
Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Car Accident
Attorneys J. Barton Warren and Derek Simpson are both members of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Attorneys list. With a successful track record of winning more than 2,000 cases, the legal experts at Warren & Simpson are the trusted team for personal injury needs. We are ready to win for you, too. We will take on the tricky legal details while you focus on recovering from your car accident spine injury. And we won’t settle for anything less than the full compensation you deserve. Call Warren & Simpson at 256-539-7575 or contact us online to get started.