Average Car Accident Settlements for Back and Neck Injuries

Injuries to the neck and back are very common in car accidents. Even low-speed auto accidents often cause back and neck sprains or whiplash. Anyone who has injured their back or neck in a car accident knows how disruptive and debilitating these injuries can be. Getting back to “normal” often requires hours of treatment, physical therapy, and sometimes even surgery.

When you are injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you are legally entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Before pursuing an auto accident lawsuit for back or neck injuries, it might be helpful to understand the average settlement for car accident back and neck injuries and how and why settlement amounts are calculated the way they are.

Work With an Accident Lawyer to Get a Settlement for Neck and Back Injuries

Back and neck injuries are often viewed with a heavy dose of skepticism by insurance companies, but the debilitating impact they can have on your life is very real. Any injury to the neck or back can significantly affect your ability to move normally and without pain. Simple things like playing sports, walking, or even preparing food can be challenging. If your life is disrupted to this extent because another driver was negligent, you absolutely deserve compensation.

Our firm’s back and neck injury lawyers can help you get the maximum financial compensation available for your injuries. Getting a fair settlement from an insurance company for a neck or back injury can be difficult without a lawyer. Insurance adjusters are notoriously dismissive of back and neck injury cases. Without a lawyer and the threat of litigation against their insured driver, you won’t get anything close to full and fair compensation.

What is the Average Car Accident Settlement for a Back or Neck Injury?

The average settlement compensation payout for a neck or back injury in an auto accident case is $12,000 to $90,000. The wide value range reflects the varying types and severities of back injuries and neck injuries in auto accidents.

What Impacts the Value of Your Neck or Back Injury Settlement?

Although every case is somewhat unique, certain factors tend to drive the settlement value of neck and back injuries in all auto accident cases.

  • Severity of Injury: The nature and severity of your neck or back injury are the factors that have the most impact on the potential settlement value of your accident case. More severe injuries have a higher settlement value because they involve more extensive medical treatment, more lost wages, and more pain & suffering.
  • Level of Treatment: A significant component of any accident settlement is compensation for the cost of all medical treatment for injuries related to the accident. This includes medical expenses paid by health insurance. Even for mid-level injuries, medical care and treatment costs can be very high. The more medical treatment a plaintiff requires the more compensation they will be entitled to in the accident case.
  • Permanent Impairment: A neck or back injury resulting in permanent impairment will have a higher settlement value. A permanent impairment can include anything that leaves a lasting impact on your life. Proving permanency in a back or neck injury case can be tricky.

Back and Neck Injury Settlements and Verdicts

Below are summaries of recent verdicts and reported settlements from auto accident cases involving back and/or neck injuries. These include neck and back injury settlements, cervical spine injury settlement amounts, and cases involving sciatica.

$250,000 Verdict (Alabama 2024): The plaintiff claimed that she was rear-ended by another driver who was following too closely. She alleged that she suffered “soft-tissue” injuries to her neck and back and she claimed medical expenses of over $80,000 from physical therapy and steroid injections.

$143,485 Verdict (Ohio 2024): The plaintiff, a 40-year-old manager of an architecture and design firm, stopped at a red light and was slammed into from behind. The plaintiff allegedly suffered a left acetabular labral tear, right hip strain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and lumbar spine strain with sciatica. The verdict only included a small amount for pain and suffering.

$34,000 Vedrdict (Washington 2024): A 60-year-old man on disability was stopped at a red light when the defendant rear-ended his car. The plaintiff reported experiencing whiplash, along with a back and shoulder sprain. The jury awarded him $16,000 for medical expenses and an additional $18,000 for pain and suffering.

$105,000 Verdict (Florida 2023): The plaintiff was driving north at or near an intersection when his vehicle was struck by a northbound postal truck owned by defendant United States of America. The plaintiff claimed he suffered neck and back injuries as a result of the collision.

$25,000 Settlement (New Jersey 2022): A minor was walking on the side of the road when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle, causing back and neck soft tissue injuries.

$21,379 Verdict (Oregon 2022): Plaintiff suffered soft tissue (sprains) in the upper, middle, and lower back when the defendant rear-ended him. The award included $13k in medical expenses and $6k for pain and suffering.

$145,000 Verdict (Maryland 2021): A female plaintiff suffered neck and back sprains causing cervical radiculopathy and sciatica after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. She underwent physical

$562,797 Verdict (Maryland 2020): The plaintiff suffered disc herniations in his neck and a disc injury in his lower back, along with various other injuries after being side-swiped by the defendant.

How to Get a Settlement for a Neck or Back Injury

The at-fault driver’s insurance company might step forward after the accident and make an initial settlement offer. These initial offers are always very low and will give you much less compensation than you are legally entitled to. Don’t be tempted to accept this initial lowball offer, especially without consulting a neck and back injury lawyer first.

Victims who suffer back or neck injuries in a car accident are entitled to compensation for a whole range of things that will be excluded from any initial lowball settlement offer the insurance company makes right after the accident. Certain insurance companies, such as GEICO, are notorious for making meager initial settlement offers.

Types of Damages Available in a Neck or Back Injury Settlement

When someone is injured in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, the injured person is legally entitled to get financial compensation for certain categories or types of damages caused by the accident. The categories of damages that can be included in a settlement for a neck or back injury include:

  • Past Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of all medical treatments directly related to the neck and back injuries caused by the accident (medicine, physical therapy, doctor visits, etc.). These costs are included even when covered by insurance in most states. There is no question that neck and back injury cases with surgery result in higher average settlement amounts than the same exact injury without surgery.  A part of this is the additional medical expenses, but it is also that surgery is a reflection of severity and pain and suffering.
  • Future Medical Expenses: The estimated cost of medical treatment necessary in the future can be part of the settlement.
  • Lost Income: If your back or neck injury forces you to miss work or leaves you unable to return to work for a long time, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages and income.
  • Pain & Suffering: The plaintiffs are entitled to financial compensation for mental pain and suffering caused by physical injuries. This is almost invariably the largest component of the settlement payout in a neck or back injury claim.

The auto accident lawyers at our law firm can help make sure that you get all of these categories of damages included in your neck or back injury settlement. That often requires submitting extensive medical records, expert witness opinions, and negotiation with the insurance company. However, having an effective injury lawyer can make all the difference because most insurance companies won’t make a fair offer until you file a lawsuit.

Types of Neck and Back Injuries and Their Settlement Value

Several different types of back or neck injuries can occur in a car accident. These injuries differ in severity and, therefore, tend to have different settlement values in accident cases. Below is a summary of the most common neck and back injuries and their average settlement value.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spinal cord come in a variety of types and degrees. The most severe spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis. Even moderate spinal cord injuries can cause sensory issues, muscle strength, mobility, and movement loss.

Spinal cord injuries are at the higher end of the settlement value range for neck and back injuries simply because of their potential severity. That being said, the value range for spinal cord injuries is very wide simply because of the various degrees of severity. The typical settlement value range for spinal cord injuries in auto accident cases is $60,000 to $500,000.

Neck Spain (Whiplash)

A cervical neck sprain is one of the most common types of injuries in auto accidents. Neck sprain injuries in auto accidents are commonly referred to as whiplash.

How much is a whiplash injury worth? Whiplash is at the lowest end of the settlement value scale for neck and back injuries. This is because these injuries are usually less severe. The average settlement compensation for a neck sprain or whiplash injury in an auto accident case is $6,000 to $22,000. But there are neck pain car accident settlements that are in the millions… you really cannot get too wedded to the average settlement statistics because there are some of these injuries that are permanent and life changing.


Fractured Vertebrae

Fracturing a vertebrae bone in the spine can be a severe back injury. Treatment required for this injury can range from a brace and physical therapy to spinal surgery. The therapy and rehab for fractured vertebrae can last for months, pushing the medical expense damages up. Fractured vertebrae injuries have an average settlement value of $50,000 to $300,000.


Herniated Disc

A herniated disc injury can occur in the back of the neck (cervical spine), and it is a very common injury in auto accident cases. Herniated discs can be extremely painful and very difficult to treat in some cases. Treatment can include pain meds, steroid injections, or therapy. The settlement value of herniated disc injuries will often depend on the extent of the plaintiff’s treatment.

The settlement value for a typical herniated disc injury in an auto accident case is $70,000 to $100,000. For some of the more serious herniated disc injuries, however, settlement values can be $250,000 to $375,000. To get that amount of compensation, however, you will need a defendant with a lot of insurance.

Hire a Lawyer to Fight for You

At our law firm, we have handled hundreds of personal injury car accident cases. If you or a loved one were injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, we can help you receive financial compensation. Get a free consultation with our experienced accident injury lawyers by calling 800-553-8082 or filling out this brief online form.

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