Average Settlements for Car Accident Back & Neck Injury Cases

average settlement for car accident back and neck injury

Being injured in a car accident can turn your whole world upside down. One day, you’re going about your normal routine, and the next, you’re suffering from debilitating back and neck pain that just won’t go away.

If someone else caused your accident, you shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden of these injuries on your own. The at-fault driver – and their insurance company – should compensate you for all the damages you suffered. But how much money can you realistically expect to receive for common car accident back and neck injuries?

At DP Injury Attorneys, we know how much insurers will typically pay for injuries ranging from minor whiplash to permanent paralysis. In this guide, we’ll walk through the key factors that determine settlement amounts and provide an overview of the average payouts you can expect. With a better understanding of potential compensation, you can make informed decisions if you find yourself negotiating a settlement after back or neck injuries in a car wreck.

Whiplash, Disc Injuries, and More: Common Car Accident Back and Neck Traumas

When your body gets thrown around inside a vehicle during a collision, it can easily lead to injuries to the back and neck. Some of the most common car accident-related spinal traumas we see include:


This neck injury occurs when the head is suddenly whipped back and forth. It can cause intense pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Many whiplash cases resolve within a few months, but more severe cases can linger for years.

Herniated Discs

The force of a crash can cause discs in the spine to rupture or herniate. This can pinch nearby nerves, resulting in debilitating back and neck pain, numbness, and weakness.

Spinal Cord Injuries

In high-impact accidents, the spinal cord itself can become damaged. This can cause partial or total paralysis below the site of the injury. Spinal cord damage is extremely severe.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Connective tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to tears and strains in a collision. While less severe than spinal injuries, these soft tissue traumas still cause lasting back and neck pain.

Key Factors That Shape Your Settlement Amount

Many complex factors shape what kind of settlement you can expect for spinal trauma from a car crash. The exact value depends on the unique circumstances of your accident and injury. But some general factors our attorneys consider include:

Severity of the Injury

The most important factor is the severity of your back or neck injury. More serious trauma that causes long-term impairment and disability warrants much higher compensation than minor, temporary injuries. For example, a herniated disc requiring surgery and months of rehab will result in a larger settlement than a sprain or strain that causes moderate pain for a few weeks. The more severe your injury and long-lasting its effects, the greater your damages.

Type of Injury

The type of specific injury makes a big difference. An injury like a spinal cord trauma that leads to permanent paralysis will have a settlement in the millions, while a sprained back may result in just a few thousand dollars. The prognosis – whether the injury is permanent or temporary – matters. Chronic pain and lifelong medical care raise your claim’s value.

Medical Expenses

All the costs of diagnosis and treatment are included in a settlement. Bills from ER visits, hospital stays, surgery, medications, and physical therapy quickly add up after a severe injury. Extensive medical treatment suggests higher damages, so thoroughly document all expenses. Spinal surgery can cost $50,000 or more, for instance, while physical therapy for minor sprains may be a few thousand.

Lost Income

Injuries often cause you to miss work for days, weeks, or longer during recovery. Provide evidence of this lost income as it factors into the settlement. The more income you lose, the higher your final payout.

Impact on Daily Living

How the injury affects your quality of life also shapes your payout. Injuries limiting your mobility and independence result in greater damage. Document any need for assistance with daily tasks.

Fault for the Accident

To receive full compensation in California, you must prove the other driver was primarily at fault for causing the accident. Under California’s pure comparative negligence laws, your settlement may be reduced if you were also partially to blame for speeding or distracted driving, for example.

An experienced attorney investigates fault and fights to prove the other party’s full liability for your injuries. Even if you were partially at fault, you may still recover damages in proportion to the other driver’s negligence. Your attorney can help maximize your payout under California’s comparative fault system.

Tips to Get the Maximum Reasonable Settlement

To make sure you receive the full settlement you deserve, be sure to:

  • Keep all medical records, bills, and documentation of injuries and treatment. These prove your losses and damages.
  • Track lost income and get written verification from employers. This evidence supports compensation for wages lost due to the injury.
  • Hire an experienced personal injury attorney. An aggressive negotiator can maximize your payout.
  • Negotiate thoroughly with insurance adjusters. Don’t accept their first offer – be prepared to negotiate.
  • Consider going to trial if the at-fault driver’s insurance won’t offer a fair settlement. A jury verdict could award you higher damages.

When to Accept or Reject a Settlement Offer

Deciding whether to accept an insurer’s settlement offer can be difficult. Our team can help you analyze any offer and determine if holding out could potentially increase the amount. We’ll negotiate passionately on your behalf to win the compensation you rightly deserve.

Don’t Wait – Maximize Your Settlement with DP Injury Attorneys

If you suffered back or neck injuries in a California car accident, the accomplished legal team at DP Injury Attorneys can help you recover the fullest compensation you deserve. With a track record of successfully negotiating and litigating injury claims on behalf of clients, we have the skills to maximize your payout.

Don’t leave money on the table – contact us for a free consultation. Our compassionate attorneys will thoroughly analyze your case factors and provide guidance on obtaining the best possible settlement or court award. Let us fight tenaciously on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery.

Author Bio

Arthur Paul D’Egidio is the Managing Partner of DP Injury Attorneys, a San Diego personal injury law firm. With more than 12 years of experience in California injury law, he has dedicated his practice to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury matters, including car accidents, workers’ compensation, slip and falls, catastrophic injury, and wrongful death cases.

Arthur received his Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California as well as the San Diego County Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a Super Lawyer for seven straight years by Thomson Reuters and a “Top 40 Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers.

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