Motor vehicle accidents in New York can easily turn the lives of their victims upside down. This is especially true when the injuries suffered are severe. Examples include spinal cord injuries that lead to complications such as paralysis, whether that be temporary, permanent, partial, or total. Below is a high-level overview of neck and back injury characteristics and their corresponding settlements.
What Are Some of the Typical Back and Neck Injuries Sustained in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Lumbar Spine Injury
Most Americans will have low back pain at some point during their adult lives even without car accidents being accounted for. When the force of a car crash is considered, it's easy for the tissues in the lower back to become compromised. The effects of these injuries range from moderate to severe, with surgery being needed in some cases.
Spinal stenosis is yet another possibility that can arise from a car accident. This kind of injury sees the channel housing the spinal cord being narrowed, which means that vertebrae will get forced outward and pinch the nerves inside the said channel. Difficulty lifting objects of any weight, tingling sensations in the arms or fingers, and even neck stiffness may occur because of this kind of injury.
Thoracic Spine Injury
The thoracic spine is also called the middle spine, which means it lies between the lumbar and cervical spine. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of thoracic spinal cord injuries, with sports injuries and falls also making up a large part of the total. Such a phenomenon may lead to permanent nerve damage.
One of the most common injuries associated with vehicle collisions is whiplash, where the victim's neck will be involuntarily flung back and forth because of the force, accompanied by the sudden stop of a car crash. This will most often happen when there are rear-end collisions. The range of effects could be anything from a minor muscle strain to even death.
Facet Joint Injury
A facet joint is a joint between each pair of vertebrae within which there is a thin layer of cartilage. This is how movement is controlled and expected sliding is allowed. If these did not exist, you would have a spine that breaks under certain kinds of stress such as that introduced in the context of a car accident.
When these joints are damaged, the affected person will experience immobility and a lot of pain. Car accidents are known to cause facet joint inflammation, cartilage tears, dislocation, and fractures.
The presence of discs allows cushioning of vertebrae and also prevents the jarring that they would do against each other otherwise. With the force of a car crash in the mix, discs can become knocked out of alignment or they can get compressed. In fact, they can even be broken open, which means that this kind of back or neck injury can put the spinal cord under tremendous pressure.
Standard Symptoms Associated with a Neck or Back Injury
Of course, depending on the specific injury being experienced, the list of accompanying symptoms can vary greatly. Be that as it may, different kinds of back injuries can feel very similar though they may require very different courses of care.
That's why it's so essential to actively seek medical treatment whenever there is such an injury at play. The doctor will do an examination that is meant to capture nerve damage, dislocations, slips, and fractures. Bear in mind though that while some symptoms of a spinal cord injury may present themselves immediately, some car accident victims find that theirs show up after some time.
Back injuries should always be treated. When they are not, they can get worse with time or complications may begin to develop. Some of the typical symptoms include:
Severe pain in the head, back, or neck
Loss in coordination
An immediate headache
A weakness sensation
Lack of bowel or bladder control
Loss of balance or the inability to walk
Twisted or awkward position
Numbness, tingling, or lack of sensation in extremities
Any form of paralysis anywhere in the body
What Factors Affect a Back/Neck Injury Settlement?
Once a car accident has happened, victims may find that their medical costs will start to rack up. These will include visits to medical professionals, hospital fees, surgical fees, costs for medicine, and more. This is often not a one-and-done kind of thing.
Instead, affected persons may find that there are regular bills that will start to pile up. This is especially true if the course of treatment is extended and starts to need physical therapy, for example. It stands to reason that keeping a record of all current and past medical expenses relating to accident injuries is an invaluable decision.
Pain and Suffering
While some costs such as the medical bills highlighted above can be quantified fairly easily provided that the documentation to do so is present, there are some effects on the injured person that may not be so easily assigned a figure.
Pain and suffering is an example as it is incredibly subjective. However, the maintenance of a recovery journal can go a long way in assisting. Allow an experienced personal injury attorney to assist in getting the required compensation for these kinds of non-economic losses. They can consult on the average settlement for soft tissue injury car accident NY as well.
Effects on Work
Once back injuries get to a certain level, they will affect just about any job that you can think of. Once earnings start to be affected, things get incredibly problematic, especially if the injured person is the one who primarily takes care of expenses for a family.
Sometimes, a victim must take time off just to recover from the injuries that were sustained. On another hand, it may be time off to attend medical appointments. Some people may simply be unable to return to whatever career they had previously.
Serious Injuries or Lack Thereof
Back injuries can be very problematic by default. However, there are different classes of severity. A settlement will consider what the severity and nature of injuries occurring from a car accident look like. While there can be different factors that can change this, the rule of thumb tends to be that someone with more serious injuries will receive a larger settlement than someone with minor injuries.
Be that as it may, the likelihood of recovery is also to be considered. Is this a permanent injury or is it a temporary one? If it is temporary, how long is it expected to affect the victim? Whenever permanent disability or chronic pain is introduced, these also typically lead to larger sums.
Is an Attorney Mandatory?
No law mandates that someone get a lawyer after a car accident. A victim could try to get the maximum amount from the personal injury protection element of the applicable insurance policy. However, this is a highly unlikely outcome considering that insurance companies are so good at getting out of paying the full amount they should or paying anything at all.
A Long Island auto accident law firm is acutely aware of the applicable legal precedents and the various tricks that insurance companies may try to use to their advantage and can respond appropriately.
What Do the Average Settlement Figures Look Like?
The average car accident settlement figure nationally is just over $800,000 with the median amount standing at just under $300,000. Nevertheless, these figures are not an indication of what any given compensation figure will be since each case is unique. That being said, cases can fall within these parameters.
Increasing the Chances of a Fair Settlement
Filing early prevents victims from running into the defense of, "if the injury were so severe, why wait so long to sue?" This can be a very harmful defense as it can minimize the amount of compensation that would be awarded otherwise. Additionally, the evidence-gathering process gets easier the earlier the filing takes place.
Sure, New York allows for a three-year statute of limitations, but this doesn't mean that someone should wait that long to get the compensation that they deserve.
Don't Wait to Seek Medical Attention
It's also not a good idea to wait to seek medical attention. Doing so can limit the available courses of treatment and minimize the chances of a proper recovery. Additionally, it's also a reason the defense can use to imply that the injuries suffered are not serious.
Provide a Statement to the Police
Police reports can make or break personal injury cases. Once an accident happens where there is property damage and injury, provide a statement to the officer called to the scene or visit the applicable station and provide one in the shortest possible order.
Call the Attorney Quickly
Don't wait to call the attorney. Making the call early will result in invaluable advice such as proper evidence gathering that is more likely to lead to a favorable outcome when filing the injury claim. They can also advise on a rotator cuff tear car accident settlement NY.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today with a Compassionate Personal Injury Attorney!
From lost wages to permanent disabilities to piling medical expenses and more, a Long Island car accident that results in a back injury can be unbelievably problematic. Thankfully, there's no need to navigate such situations alone.
Schedule a free consultation with a well-experienced attorney at The Law Office of Carl Maltese. Call to book your appointment today!