Over the years, car accident fatality and injury rates have held steady with insignificant increases and decreases. In 2022, there were an estimated 42,795 fatalities resulting from motor vehicle traffic crashes, a slight decrease from the previous year’s 42,939 fatalities, as recorded by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The rate of injury has also been relatively unchanged over the years.
Unfortunately, one of the most common types of injuries a victim can face after a car accident is a neck or back injury. While neck and back injuries can range from mild to severe, the recovery process can be arduous, and victims are often left with lifelong discomfort or even pain. In severe cases, a neck or back injury can result in partial or full paralysis. These types of injuries can forever change a person’s life after a car accident.
At the law office of Bernstein & Maryanoff, we understand the complexity of car accident cases that result in neck and back injuries. Our team of experienced injury attorneys will fight diligently to help you recover restitution after your car accident.
NO FEES UNLESS WE WIN
Protecting Your Rights Since 1983
Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation and learn more about your rights and options after a car accident in Miami.
Common back and neck injuries from car accidents
Even the most minor type of car accident can cause severe pain from a back or neck injury. Fender benders, impacts on the rear of the vehicle, direct hits, and t-bone accidents can all lead to back and neck injuries.
Neck and back injuries are some of the more common and, unfortunately, more severe types of injuries a driver or passenger can sustain after a car accident. Minor injuries include superficial cuts, strains, and sprains, while more major injuries include fractures, dislocations, and even spinal cord injuries. It’s estimated every year, there are 869,000 traffic crash-related cervical spine injuries seen in U.S. hospitals. The following are some of the more common neck and head injuries that result from car accidents:
Cuts and lacerations
Superficial cuts and lacerations on the skin area of your neck or back can cause pain and discomfort and may require stitches or additional treatment. More severe cuts may injure the tendons and ligaments in your neck or back. While this type of injury can be painful and uncomfortable, victims are often expected to make a full recovery with the proper treatment.
In severe accidents, the impact could cause a vertebra (the individual bones of the spine) to slip out of alignment or even dislocate entirely. The pain associated with such an injury can range from mild to severe, largely depending on where the injury occurred. Dislocated vertebrae could compress nerves throughout your spinal cord. The compression often leads to pain radiating up and down your neck, head, or shoulders.
Slipped or herniated disc
Your cervical spine is made of intervertebral discs. These discs are filled with a jelly-like substance of mainly water and type II collagen. The function of these discs is to absorb any shock to your vertebrae and protect your overall spinal column.
In the event of a severe impact, the discs may slip out of place, herniate or bulge, or even rupture. When this happens, compression on your nerves can cause pain to shoot up and down your neck, head, and shoulders. You may also feel pain or numbness from a pinched or squeezed nerve in your arms. Generally, this type of injury is often associated with side impacts like t-bone accidents.
Neck sprain or strain
A neck sprain or strain will also result in mild to severe discomfort up and down your neck and shoulder. A sudden over-exertion of your neck muscles, tendons, joints, and tissue can cause a neck sprain. This is often the case when a victim suffers whiplash after the impact. In severe cases, a tear in the soft tissue can result in severe pain, especially when you try lifting or moving your neck around.
In a severe injury, the bones in your neck could be broken or cracked. This type of injury is severe because it could cause further damage to your spinal cord nerves. A spinal cord injury could then result in paralysis and even death in severe cases.
A cervical spinal cord injury (an injury in the neck region) could result in permanent, complete, or partial loss of sensory and mobile function. The severity of this accident can also be classified as a catastrophic injury. Under Florida statutes 960.03, a catastrophic injury is a legal term used to describe a variety of severe injuries, one of which includes a spinal cord injury involving severe paralysis of an arm, a leg, or the trunk.
Back muscle spasms
A back sprain or strain could lead to pain in the middle or lower part of your back. These muscle spasms can occur from overextended back muscles or ligaments that suffered a tear after an impact from a car accident.
Who is responsible for a car accident in Florida?
Florida is one of a handful of states that adhere to “no-fault” auto laws. This means it does not matter who was at fault after an auto accident; every driver or passenger’s insurance will kick in to cover their injuries and losses.
Florida law requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP coverage). This insurance covers any medical losses a victim sustains after a car accident. Victims will turn to their own PIP coverage after an accident.
Back and neck injuries after a car accident tend to be severe and often require a number of medical treatments, hospital visits, and ongoing care for a full recovery. Because of this, PIP insurance might not always offer full coverage for injuries a victim sustains.
In other instances, a victim injured because of another driver’s negligence may want to pursue legal action against the driver or other liable parties via a personal injury lawsuit.
In both cases, an insurance company or another liable party will generally offer a settlement amount to a victim.
What is the average settlement for a car accident back and neck injury?
Most personal injury claims associated with a car accident are resolved through a settlement, with the average settlement amount ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. But what determines a settlement amount, and how do a defendant and a plaintiff reach a fair settlement agreement? Many different factors come into play during a back and neck injury settlement. Below are some of the more common factors that can determine the outcome of a settlement:
The severity of the injury
The severity of your injury is usually the guiding factor when determining a settlement amount. Generally, the more severe the neck or back injury is, the larger the settlement agreement may be. A defendant found to be negligent will be responsible for paying medical bills, treatment costs, and other losses a victim has suffered because of the accident.
Neck and back pain is one of the most widely reported health issues affecting Americans. The National Spine Health Foundation reports that an estimated 100 million Americans say they suffer from neck and back pain annually. Unfortunately, a defendant may use this argument against you when fighting against your injury claim.
A defendant may try to push a victim into a lower settlement if the possibility of a pre-existing neck or back condition can apply to your case. A defendant may try to argue that the injuries you are experiencing are partly because of your pre-existing condition to avoid liability for the injuries.
This is where the experience of a car accident attorney is invaluable. An attorney will work diligently to provide evidence that the car accident is what caused the injuries you are suffering.
Ability to prove injuries were the result of the car accident
In addition to fighting against claims of a pre-existing condition causing your neck and back injury, an experienced attorney will work to prove that your injuries were the result of the car accident itself. This is a legal notion referred to as “causation.”
It’s for this reason that seeking immediate medical attention after your car accident is important. You should allow the responding ambulance EMT professional to assess your injuries at the scene of your accident. If the EMT advises you to get additional medical care, you should do so. Finally, you should keep up to date with any and all doctor’s appointments.
Doing so not only allows you to get the medical help you need, but it can establish a paper trail that your injuries happened because of your car accident. This evidence can prove invaluable in linking your injuries to your car accident.
The extent of your damages
A car accident settlement will also largely rely on the extent of the damages you’ve suffered. Damages refer to the tangible and intangible losses you have suffered as a result of the accident. To bring forward a successful negligence claim, you’ll need to show that your injury resulted in damages.
What damages can be recovered in a back injury case?
Calculating your damages helps determine the overall settlement amount you may be entitled to. When calculating damages, the following can be considered as losses you can seek recovery for:
- Lost wages, both past and future income
- Cost of any medical bills or medical treatment
- Cost of medical devices and equipment
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
How can a car accident attorney help you?
Working with an experienced Miami car accident attorney allows you to have a legal representative on your side who will fight for your rights. If you’ve suffered from a neck or back injury after a car accident, an attorney can help you in the following ways:
Investigate your car accident
After an accident, a police officer will be dispatched to the scene and write up a police report of what happened. Unfortunately, this is often the extent of an investigation. Insurance companies may conduct their own investigations to determine settlement amounts as well.
When you work with a car accident attorney, you’ll have a team of investigators to examine your case thoroughly. They will obtain a copy of the accident report and recover critical evidence like surveillance footage and witness statements. In severe cases, an attorney may also call on the expertise of an accident reconstruction specialist.
Determine liable parties
The type of accident you had may result in additional liable parties beyond just the driver who caused the car accident. For example, accidents involving a semi-truck or a commercial vehicle may mean the company operator could be held liable. If your accident resulted from a roadway hazard, the municipality where your accident occurred could also be held liable.
Fight on your behalf
As you navigate an insurance or personal injury claim, the defendants will try to push back against your claim by offering a lowball settlement. When you work with an experienced car accident attorney, you’ll have an expert negotiator on your side who will fight diligently for the compensation you deserve.
Car accidents that result in neck and back injuries can also, unfortunately, result in mounting medical and treatment costs. Recover the compensation you’re entitled to when you work with an experienced car accident attorney.
Car accident settlements that Bernstein & Maryanoff have won
At Bernstein & Maryanoff, our office is committed to representing neck and back injury victims. We have helped countless victims just like you recover compensation to cover the cost of their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. We let our experience speak for itself; learn more about our recovered settlement amounts here.
We understand the complexities of car accident cases that result in severe injury, especially car accidents involving commercial vehicles like semi-trucks. We are committed to going after all liable parties, including drivers, truck operators, third-party contractors, and others who were negligent in their actions.
NO FEES UNLESS WE WIN
Protecting Your Rights Since 1983
If you have been injured in a car accident and suffered a neck or back injury, give Bernstein & Maryanoff a call today. Schedule your free case consultation and get the legal representation you deserve.
Back and Neck Pain: A Burden to Overcome. (2023).
Cervical Spinal Cord Injury: Symptoms and Prognosis. (2023).
Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2022. (2023).
FLA. STAT. statutes § 960.03.
Florida Insurance Requirements. (2023).
Freeman, M., et al. (2020). Estimating the number of traffic crash-related cervical spine injuries in the United States; An analysis and comparison of national crash and hospital data.
About the Author
Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.
Jack Bernstein is a hard-working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you’ve been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.