How much your back injury is worth in a lawsuit depends on many aspects of your situation. Generally, the more serious your injury, the more compensation you could recover. Someone with a paralyzing back injury typically recovers more than someone with a twinge.
A personal injury lawyer could help you determine how much compensation to seek in your case. They have likely handled many similar cases and understand how to identify your damages. Also, they will know the kinds of evidence needed to prove you incurred damages, along with their values.
Recoverable Damages in a Back Injury Lawsuit
After a back injury, you could experience both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to your monetary losses. Non-economic damages include the non-monetary losses you incurred. Through a claim or lawsuit, you can recover:
Past, Present, and Future Medical Bills
Examples of compensable medical expenses in your back injury lawsuit include:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Ongoing doctors’ visits
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
- Ambulance transportation services
To determine how much compensation to seek for your healthcare expenses, you should consult with your attorney. In turn, they may consult with your healthcare team to learn about your anticipated treatments and their values. This way, they can fight for the full cost of your damages when going toe-to-toe with the at-fault party or their insurer.
Loss of Income
Lost income includes any earnings, like salary and tips, you lost as a result of your injuries. If you couldn’t work because your back injury prevented you from doing so, you could seek compensation for these damages.
To verify these expenses, your attorney needs to gather evidence. By having an abundance of proof, the other party will have a hard time denying liability.
To verify your job-related damages, your lawyer may use:
- Previous pay stubs
- W-2s from years past
- Other business records that indicate a loss of income
- Your testimony on how much income you lost because of your injury
- Information from your employer
Your back injury could leave you out of work on and off for the rest of your life. It’s important to remember that when filing a claim. You don’t want to miss out on recovering compensation for anything you deserve.
Modifications to Your Home or Vehicle
After suffering a back injury, you might need a wheelchair to get around. In that instance, you may need to make your home or vehicle handicap accessible. These modifications could make it easier for you to get around and still maintain your independence.
Home or vehicle modifications you may need to make after a back injury include:
- Building a ramp up to the front door of the home in the place of steps
- Making the doors and walkways wider so a wheelchair can fit through
- Lowering countertops so you can reach items
- Installing a lift into a vehicle so you can easily get in and out
You could also have to purchase an entirely new vehicle that can accommodate your wheelchair. If you have a small sports car or sedan, you could struggle to fit yourself and your wheelchair in the vehicle. By purchasing a larger car, you could easily travel from point A to point B.
Any Out-of-Pocket Expenses
While awaiting a settlement or court award, your injury-related expenses may keep rolling in. You can’t just put off these bills and obligations for later; you need to pay for some things now, which may compel you to spend money out of pocket.
Your case could cover pay for:
- Temporary transportation arrangements
- Help around the house
- Assistive devices, such as grabbers
- Travel expenses to and from doctors’ appointments
Your lawyer could use the receipts from these services and items to learn more about what you deserve.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
A back injury could significantly impair your ability to enjoy life. If your injuries prevent you from participating in activities or sports you love, you could seek compensation for these hardships. For example, if you used to enjoy kayaking, and now you cannot, you could include this in your claim.
Like other non-economic damages, your attorney could determine how much compensation to seek. They can also provide the necessary evidence to prove you sustained this damage. The types of supporting evidence vary based on your circumstances.
Pain and Suffering
Back injuries can cause extensive physical pain that could also affect your mental health. You could suffer anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic distress disorder after your injury. Yet, the law allows you to seek pain and suffering, a non-economic damage that accounts for the accident’s effect on your life.
When you hire a personal injury attorney, they can seek compensation for pain and suffering. Like with other recoverable damages in your case, how much you can recover depends on your situation and case’s evidence.
What to Know About Filing a Back Injury Lawsuit
If this is your first time filing a civil lawsuit, you could have many questions about what comes next for your situation. Here are some basic things you should know about litigating a back injury case:
Most Cases Get Resolved Through Insurance Settlements
Only a small percentage of back injury cases go to court and end with a verdict. That’s because many of these cases are resolved through negotiations with insurance providers. This means you might not have to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Still, it’s important to keep your options open, especially if you fear problems with the liable insurance company. An attorney can assess your situation, build a case, and explain whether filing a lawsuit could benefit you.
Your State Limits How Long You Have to File a Lawsuit
Every state imposes a filing deadline on civil lawsuits. How long you have to file depends on where you live. Some states only grant one-year filing periods, while others are much longer. Act within this period if you hope to recover damages through a lawsuit. Once your case’s statute of limitations expires, you could lose the opportunity to seek damages.
Filing a Lawsuit Can Take Months to Resolve
Lawsuits aren’t processes you can complete in a day. They require weeks of preparation, back-and-forth communications, and other obligations. Filing a lawsuit doesn’t guarantee that the insurance company will offer a fair settlement, either. It could actually empower its representatives to buckle down, further impeding the claims process.
You don’t want to slog through a lawsuit’s obligations alone. This is where hiring a lawyer could benefit you. They can manage your case’s details and push for a fair outcome, whether that means filing a lawsuit or continuing negotiations.
A Lawsuit Takes Your Case’s Outcome Out of Your Hands
You have a lot of power during negotiations. You can choose to accept an offer or keep negotiating. You don’t have as much power in a lawsuit. Your case’s outcome is at the discretion of a judge and jury, not your own. In some cases, the judge may uphold the insurer’s lowball offer.
This is yet another reason why you should consider partnering with an attorney. They can outline a course of action that could benefit your situation and advocate for what you deserve.
The Burden of Proof Is on You
As the plaintiff, the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is on you.
This means, to have a compelling argument, you must have supporting evidence, such as:
- The police report
- Security camera footage
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Accident reconstruction data
- Your damages’ receipts, bills, and invoices
With the information you have, you must establish that because another party breached their duty of care (or their obligation to act with caution), they caused the accident in which you suffered injuries. Proving negligence can get tricky without a lawyer’s help, however. You may consider hiring an attorney who can prove your case’s required elements at trial.
You Could Pursue Damages After Suffering One of These Accidents
Cedars-Sinai notes that assaults, contact sports, and traffic accidents cause most back injuries.
Other incidents that may result in back or spinal trauma include:
- Falls from heights: If you fall from a height, you could sustain a significant back injury. Whether you fell off a rickety ladder or platform, you could file a claim or lawsuit against the property owner.
- Slips: When you go onto someone else’s property, you expect to remain safe. If there are hazards, you could suffer a back injury. For instance, if you slip on water and hurt your back, you could file a claim against the property owner.
- Medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional does not uphold their field’s accepted standard of care. For instance, you could suffer a back injury if a surgeon nicks a nerve during a procedure. You could also suffer harm if you slip while left unattended.
- Pedestrian accidents: If you got hit by a motor vehicle by crossing a crosswalk or while on the sidewalk, you could sustain a serious back injury. Here, just like with traffic accidents between vehicles, you could file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Regardless of how you sustained your back injury, having an attorney manage your case can relieve your stress. They can advocate for you throughout all proceedings regarding your case.
About Back Injuries and Their Possible Effects on Your Case’s Value
The type and severity of your back injury determine how much your case is worth. As noted, the more serious your condition, the more you can demand from the liable party.
Your Injury Type Influences Your Case’s Value
Your settlement or court award should account for all of your back injury symptoms, including:
- Herniated or ruptured discs
- Incomplete or complete spinal cord injuries
- Fractured vertebrae
Medical documentation serves as the crux of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. By visiting a healthcare provider, you can get imaging scan results, the names of medications, and other information that could support your lawsuit. If you suffered a back injury, you should seek medical attention, even if you’re unsure about filing a claim.
Your Quality of Life Plays a Role in How Much You Can Recover
Your case doesn’t just account for monetary losses, like medical bills; it can also account for intangible hardships, like reduced quality of life.
You can seek compensation for this hardship if:
- You cannot live independently.
- You rely on wheelchairs and other assistive devices to move around.
- You cannot work in your preferred field of employment.
- You experience physical or cognitive difficulties.
- You cannot participate in activities you once enjoyed.
How much you can seek for reduced quality of life, like many things, depends on your situation. A lawyer can listen to your story and evaluate what could constitute a fair dollar value.
An Attorney Can Explain How Much Your Back Injury Is Worth in a Lawsuit
When you hire a personal injury attorney, they will know how to identify your damages and maximize the value of your case.
By retaining a lawyer, you get someone who can:
- Speak to the insurance company or other attorneys on your behalf
- Identify every damage you sustained
- Gather evidence of your losses, such as receipts and estimates
- Negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair deal
- Advise you on whether you should accept an out-of-court settlement
- File a lawsuit and fight for you in court
Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations where you can learn more about your next steps. By learning more about your case through a free consultation, you can get more insight into how much you can pursue through a back injury lawsuit.