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Types of Back Injury Damages

UPDATED: July 12, 2013

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If you have suffered a back injury in a car crash, work injury, slip and fall, or any other type of accident you have a variety of damages to pursue.  Valuing a legal claim is a critical step before taking any legal action, and experienced attorneys are available to ensure you get the process right by including all the damages you deserve.

How is compensation determined for a back injury lawsuit?

Back injuries are one of the most common injuries that occur as a result of accidents, and there are many types of different back injuries ranging from mild to serious. Still, despite the many different forms of back injury that a person may suffer, there are no damages unique to back injuries in the realm of personal injury law.   When calculating damages for a back injury lawsuit, or for any other type of injury, you should include compensation for:

  • Medical bills for necessary treatment of your injury. These will vary based on the type of back injury you suffered. If you need chiropractic care, then this will generally be covered. If you need a complete back surgery or rods to be placed in your spine, then these are costs that should be included in this component of your damage assessment.
  • Lost wages if your back injury results in you being unable to work for a period of time
  • Pain and suffering damages, if your back injury causes you discomfort
  • Loss of future work opportunities if your career is cut short or severely impacted
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages if the person who caused the accident was seriously negligent or even willful in the action that led to your injury
  • If death occurs as a result of the accident, there may be additional wrongful death damages

Loss of future wages, pain & suffering, and emotional distress damages can be difficult, if not impossible, to accurately calculate.  Personal injury attorneys rely on legal standards and reports from doctors, psychologists, or other professionals in order to value damages that do not have clear cut costs.  Contact an experienced attorney for assistance to ensure the full value of your back injury is included in your lawsuit.

Severity of Injury Affects Damages

The severity of your back injury will affect the amount of damages you can recover.  More severe injuries will require more medical treatment, cause you to miss more time from work, increase the pain and suffering, and may even give rise to emotional or punitive damages.  The legal system attempts to make a victim “whole” by awarding damages that compensate all the costs - financial, physical, or emotional – associated with an injury.  Since more serious injuries come with more serious costs, damages will be higher.

It is important to note that the more severe an injury the more serious potential defendants will approach the lawsuit.  If you have a severe back injury then you can expect opposition from experienced lawyers or insurance professionals.  Consult a personal injury attorney for assistance with your case.

Pre-Existing Back Injuries Could Affect Damages

When you have back pain or even a pre-existing back injury that is made worse by an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you still should be able to recover for at least the portion of your injury that is due to the new injury.  However, the defendant in your lawsuit will attempt to reduce or even eliminate the damages you are entitled to by playing up the effect your pre-existing back injury on your current pain.  Usually, you will need the assistance of medical experts who can allocate some of, or all of, your current pain to the incident in question rather than a pre-existing back condition.

Sometimes a doctor will find that all of your current injury was caused by an auto accident, and sometimes the doctor will allocate a part of your current pain or permanent injury to a pre-existing condition and the rest to a new accident. In any case, it is important to get the medical treatment you need after an auto accident and to discuss all of your symptoms with your medical providers and your attorney to make sure you have the best opportunity for a full and fair settlement or judgment for all your accident-related pain.

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