Back and spine personal injury claims may not get a lot of headlines, but they can be among the most painful and debilitating injuries. Living and working generally with a severe back or spine injury can be challenging, whether the back injury occurred in a car accident, slip and fall, or workplace accident.
If you suffered a severe back or spine injury in an accident in Illinois, the at-fault party has to pay for your economic and non-economic damages. Learn about back injury settlements in this article, and then our back injury lawyer in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law can review your case.
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Back injuries after accidents are common and take many forms. Common back injuries you could experience after an accident include the following:
Soft tissue injuries, including whiplash, might not sound significant, but the pain and disability can be intense. Soft tissue back injuries refer to damage to the back’s tendons, muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissue. These injuries can happen during a fall, a violent auto or truck collision, and any incident where stress strains, sprains, and pulls soft tissue in the upper middle or lower back.
A common issue with soft tissue back injuries is they can be challenging to see on X-rays or MRIs, so insurance companies may not take it as seriously as other back injuries. Your personal injury attorney will work closely with your doctor to obtain evidence proving the severity of your soft tissue back injury.
A herniated or ruptured disc can happen in many accidents where a high level of force compresses a spinal disc, leading to the disc slipping out of place, cracking, or rupturing. The herniated disc is not painful; the problem arises when the damaged disc presses on nearby nerves. In that case, the injury can cause severe pain and disability. If the herniated disc does not receive prompt treatment, the injury can lead to additional complications, including numbness or even nerve damage affecting the extremities.
A fracture can happen to one or more vertebrae in an accident. One of the most common injuries is a compression fracture, when the force of the injury crushes the bones together, causing a stress fracture. Surgery may be needed to fix more severe vertebrae fractures.
In the most severe back injuries, there may be spinal cord damage. A spinal cord injury can occur when the cord is bruised, lacerated, or even cut in the accident. Damage to the spinal cord can affect the nerves, damage motor function, and lead to partial or total paralysis.
As we age, the wear and tear of the years can cause back discs to deteriorate. While you may or may not experience pain and symptoms, a traumatic injury, such as a slip and fall or car accident, can cause degeneration to create painful symptoms, such as back pain and tingling in the hands and feet.
There are many possible secondary complications associated with severe back injuries. Most involve damage to the spinal cord, which can cause complications with respiration, the bowels, the urinary tract, and the cardiovascular system. You also could experience muscle problems, sexual performance difficulties, and anxiety and depression related to your condition.
Also, clinical studies show a frequent link between back injuries and head trauma. Someone with a severe back injury is more likely to have a traumatic brain injury (TBI)).
It is estimated that 1/3 of accident victims with spinal cord or cervical spine injuries have moderate or severe head injuries.
Most moderate to severe back injuries in Illinois are related to auto accidents. While seat belt restraints help limit specific serious injuries, the neck and back are still subject to tremendous accident forces that can create serious injuries.
In frontal-impact car accidents, the head and body are thrown violently forward and can accelerate at various speeds, damaging the cervical spine. Herniation and spinal disc tears in the neck often happen, including the C5 and C6 vertebrae. Severe spinal cord injuries can occur in the neck and upper back in frontal crashes when the seatbelt stops much of the motion of the torso, but the head still moves forward.
A high-speed car crash can also cause a spinal fracture in the lumbar or thoracic spine when the spine bends against the seatbelt. This is called a Chance fracture, where the spine is crushed together, and the back of the spine fractures, potentially damaging the spinal cord.
In a rear-end crash, the vehicle shoots forward, pushing the motorist’s lower body into the seat. The torso goes back and up until it is stopped by the lap belt, which can damage your thoracic discs and vertebrae. Then, the neck snaps back, leading to severe whiplash and possibly damaging neck vertebrae, ligaments, discs, and even the spinal cord. The lap gelt can also damage the lumbar spine region
A side-impact car accident usually causes more severe injuries to those on the side of the impact. In a side-impact crash, the seatbelt will restrain the lower body, but the torso, neck, and head can whip to the side, leading to neck, back, and head injuries.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, the thoracic and cervical spine are the most commonly injured back area. The body may bend naturally in the midsection during impact, potentially leading to a severe or even fatal spinal cord injury.
Online data suggests that up to 95% of personal injury lawsuits are resolved with a settlement and do not go to trial. If you have a back injury from an accident, you may wonder what the size of your settlement could be. Back injury settlement amounts can vary tremendously based on the severity and type of injury. For example, straining your back and being unable to work for a month will usually lead to a lower settlement than rupturing or herniating a disc and being out of work for months. Other factors that will influence the size of the settlement are:
Some research indicates that minor back injury settlements can range between $25,000 and $50,000. However, the settlement could be into the many millions.
Auto accidents are one of the most common reasons for back injuries. A Bureau of Justice Statistics study found that car accident personal injury claims often settle within 14 months. The national average for car accident settlements is $834,000, and the median is $285,000. However, it is essential to remember that every back injury personal injury case is different, and the amount of your settlement depends on many individual case factors.
If you have a spinal cord injury from the accident, this situation is much more severe, and you could receive a much higher settlement. A spinal cord injury victim will likely have annual care costs exceeding $100,000, and the initial treatments in the first year can exceed $1 million. If another party caused the accident that damaged your spinal cord, your personal injury attorney in Schaumburg will fight for as much compensation as possible.
Even a relatively minor back injury can severely impact your quality of life and ability to earn a living. Hurting your back can affect how you move and engage in many basic life activities, such as getting out of bed, getting dressed, walking, exercising, bending over, bathing, and much more. Even cooking meals can bring immense physical challenges with a severe back injury.
No matter how much pain you have, it is common for the liable party’s insurance company to soft-peddle your injury and give less than you deserve for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost earnings. Without sufficient compensation, you could have a lifetime of debt and financial difficulty because you cannot earn a proper living with a back injury.
A back injury lawyer in Schaumburg knows every insurance adjuster trick and will fight for every dime of compensation so you can recover as much as possible. The attorney will investigate the accident thoroughly and prove that the other person was responsible, and also will thoroughly document your injuries with the help of your doctor. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement after your lawyer’s best efforts, they can take the case to trial.
Did you suffer a back injury in a recent Illinois accident because of someone’s negligence? You could be entitled to compensation to help you recover physically and financially, and our back injury lawyer in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law could be of assistance, so call today for a consultation at (847) 434-3555.
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