Many car accidents involve significant impacts. When a crash occurs, the impact force may cause an accident victim’s body—including their neck and back—to thrash forward and backward—or from side to side—very abruptly. This movement may cause the accident victim to suffer serious injuries, including soft tissue contusions, whiplash injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord damage.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, you must retain experienced legal counsel to represent you right away. Car accident victims who attempt to negotiate with the insurance company alone often take a severe risk. In most situations, insurance companies and their adjusters take advantage of these self-represented accident victims, believing that they lack the necessary negotiation and litigation skills to resolve their personal injury cases effectively. As a result, many adjusters will lowball the settlement numbers they offer these accident victims and refuse to compensate them appropriately.
Hiring a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you in your personal injury case is one of the most important steps you can take. In addition to investigating your car accident and determining who caused it, your lawyer can assist with understanding the average settlement for a car accident and back injury and dealing with the insurance company at every stage of your case.
Moreover, if the insurance company will not offer you the compensation you need, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and bring your case to an efficient resolution through litigation. Your Edmonton car accident lawyer will have your best interests at heart and will do everything they can to maximize the damages you receive for your car accident injuries.
Typical Neck and Back Injuries That Car Accident Victims Suffer
One of the most common injuries that car accident victims suffer is a soft tissue neck or back injury. Soft tissue contusions are injuries that do not involve fractures or broken bones. However, they are still severe injuries—and they may cause the accident victim to suffer intense pain.
In the car accident context, soft tissue neck and back injuries—like whiplash—usually result from the abrupt back-and-forth movement of the accident victim’s head and neck at the time of impact. Soft tissue back sprains and strains may also result from this abrupt movement.
When a car accident victim suffers a soft tissue neck or back injury, they may need to undergo regular medical treatment and attend physical therapy appointments. In some cases, these injuries may cause the accident victim to suffer permanent pain and discomfort.
At other times, the impact force may cause an accident victim to strike something in their vehicle, like the headrest, window, or steering wheel, with a significant degree of force. Forcible collisions may cause fractures and broken bones in the accident victim’s neck or back. Slipped discs are also common in car accidents that involve a forceful impact. When an accident victim suffers one of these injuries, they may need to undergo a medical procedure, such as surgery, along with lengthy physical therapy.
Finally, some car accidents are so forceful that they physically eject an accident victim from the driver or passenger’s side door. When that happens, the victim may suffer a spinal cord or paralysis injury. Spinal cord injuries usually result from damage to nerves or nerve endings. For example, the impact force—or impact with the ground—may sever a nerve, causing a permanent spinal cord injury, such as full or partial paralysis.
A full paralysis injury prevents an accident victim from using their hands, arms, legs, and feet. They may also lose feeling and sensation in those affected areas. A partial paralysis injury, on the other hand, only involves a part of the accident victim’s body. A car crash victim who suffers partial paralysis may have the use of their arms and hands, but they may be unable to use their legs or feet.
Regardless of the specific symptoms you experience immediately after your car accident, you should undergo emergency medical treatment right away. This is because many injury symptoms, including those resulting from soft tissue injuries, are not apparent immediately. It may take days, weeks, or even months before these injury symptoms become fully apparent.
When you follow up at an emergency facility, the medical provider on duty can take the necessary imaging studies, including CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs, and physically examine you. Once the results come in, the provider can render an accurate medical diagnosis and provide you with the emergency treatment you need. Moreover, if you will likely require follow-up medical treatment, your doctor can make the necessary recommendations for you.
Seeking emergency medical care—and following through on a medical provider’s recommendations—may also benefit your personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you fail to take these steps, the insurance company adjuster handling your claim may believe that your injuries were not severe or that you did not make your medical treatment a top priority after your car accident.
While you focus on making a full recovery, your lawyer can start handling the legal aspects of your case, including drafting a settlement demand letter and assembling a settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster’s review. After your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit the necessary documents and begin negotiating a favourable settlement with the adjuster handling your claim.
Types of Car Accidents that Lead to Neck and Back Injuries
When drivers operate their vehicles negligently, they increase their chances of causing a severe crash.
Some of the most common accidents that lead to neck and back injuries include rear-end crashes, head-on collisions, sideswipe accidents, and broadside collisions:
- Rear-end crashes, where the front of one vehicle strikes the back of another vehicle
- Head-on collisions, where the fronts of two vehicles collide with one another
- Sideswipe accidents, where vehicles travelling in the same direction strike one another
- Broadside collisions, where the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle travelling on an adjacent roadway
Any of these accidents may jar a driver or passenger’s body in the vehicle, causing them to suffer a painful muscular contusion, broken bone, or other serious neck/back injury.
If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents, you should contact an experienced car crash lawyer in your area right away. Your lawyer can examine the circumstances of your accident, answer your legal questions, and review your options for moving forward with a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
How do Car Accidents Happen?
Car crashes typically occur when drivers operate their vehicles negligently. In some instances, they may violate the rules of the road, while at other times, they engage in distracted or drunk driving. Finally, some car crashes result from aggressive tailgating and road rage.
Rules of the road are in place to keep drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe. However, when drivers frequently violate these road rules, they may cause an accident which leads to severe neck and back injuries. Common road rule violations that cause accidents include failing to yield the right-of-way at traffic intersections and highway merge lanes, aggressively weaving in and out of traffic, failing to use turn signals, and speeding.
Severe neck and back injuries may also result from car accidents where a driver becomes distracted. A distracted driver fails to watch the road and pay attention to their surroundings. Electronic devices in a vehicle, including a GPS device, cellular phone, or tablet, may prove distracting for drivers. This is especially true when drivers attempt to text while driving or make telephone calls without a hands-free Bluetooth device. Moreover, loud music playing in the vehicle, as well as rowdy passengers, may distract a driver from observing the road.
When a driver looks down or turns their head away from the road, even if just for a second or two, they may fail to notice an approaching vehicle and cause a severe accident, leading to neck and back injuries.
Likewise, some car crashes result from intoxicated driving. In most scenarios, a driver is intoxicated when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. Alberta imposes administrative penalties when the BAC is 0.05 percent or higher. Alcohol may cause a driver to lose focus and concentration, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash. Likewise, alcohol may cause a driver to experience physical symptoms, including blurred vision and increased anxiety.
Finally, road rage is another common cause of car accidents. A driver exhibits road rage when they overreact to a real or perceived situation that occurs while driving. For example, some drivers may not travel fast enough, causing other drivers to become angry. When this happens, the enraged driver might speed, tailgate, and engage in other reckless driving maneuvers. The result may be a severe accident that causes debilitating neck and back injuries for accident victims.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from driver error, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you prove the legal elements of your car accident claim and pursue the total amount of damages you need for your accident-related neck and back injuries.
Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Neck and Back Claims
Car accident victims may recover various damages depending upon the severity of their neck and back injuries—and the extent of their treatment. Since all car accident claims are different, certain accident victims may recover more significant damages than others.
While it is difficult to determine an “average” settlement for car accident neck and back injuries, settlement numbers can range from the low thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The total damages that accident victims may recover depend on:
- The extent of their neck and back injuries—including whether the injuries are permanent
- The length, breadth, and scope of their medical treatment
- Whether they had to miss work time due to their injuries
- The amount of work time they missed
- Whether they had to switch jobs and take a pay cut due to their injuries
- The extent of pain and suffering they experienced due to their injuries
- Whether they will likely experience neck and back symptoms in the future
Some of the most common damages that car crash victims can recover include compensation for:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Emotional anguish
- Mental distress
- Permanent disfigurement and disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
A car crash lawyer in your area can review the circumstances of your accident with you, as well as your specific neck and back injuries, and determine the types of damages you can recover in your case. Your lawyer will then work to maximize the insurance company’s total settlement offer.
If the insurance company does not compensate you fairly for your neck and back injuries, you have the option of filing a lawsuit, litigating your case in court, and taking it to a jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding for resolution.
Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
Car accidents may lead to severe and debilitating neck and back injuries. If you suffered one of these injuries in a car crash resulting from another driver’s negligence, always retain experienced legal representation in your case right away. This is because of the prevailing statute of limitations applicable to personal injury claims—including those that involve car accidents.
Car accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. If the car crash victim does not file a timely lawsuit in their case, they waive their right to receive monetary damages. If they attempt to file a lawsuit after the deadline, the court will prevent the lawsuit from going forward.
Generally speaking, the sooner you involve a car crash lawyer to represent you, the better off you and your case will be. Your lawyer can assist you with filing your claim, negotiating with the adjuster, and making informed settlement decisions in your case. Moreover, if the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously and compensate you appropriately, your lawyer can assist you throughout the litigation process and bring your case to a favourable and efficient resolution in the court system. For more information, reach out to an Edmonton personal injury lawyer.
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