California Car Accident Lawyers

Average settlement for car accident back and neck injury


The aftermath of a car accident is often physical pain, emotional distress, and financial imbalance, particularly when back and neck injuries are involved. These injuries range from mild discomfort to severe damage, sometimes impairing your ability to work. Each requires appropriate compensation to support recovery efforts. 

This article delves into car accident, back, and neck injury settlements. We’ll focus on frequently experienced symptoms, severity evaluation, injury damages, corresponding compensations, and steps to handle lowball offers.

Table of Contents:

  1. Common Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries
  2. Establishing the Severity of Your Back and Neck Injury
  3. Neck and Back Injury Damages
  4. Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts with Injury
  5. How to Prove Your Neck and Back Injury

Common Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries

After a car accident, it’s crucial to obtain a medical check-up. A health practitioner will examine you for potential harm, such as fractures, dislocations, and nerve injuries.

You’ll often need immediate medical treatment. Still, the signs of injury aren’t always quickly perceptible. So, understanding the indications of neck and back injuries is imperative.

The full extent of your personal and financial damages might take time to unfold. For instance, you might perceive a minor headache as trivial. But it could be a symptom of a cervical spinal injury. That’s why carefully documenting every detail from the start is essential.

Untreated injuries can worsen over time and lead to complications, posing a potential danger. Here are some initial signs of neck and back injuries to watch out for:

  • Severe pain in the neck, back, or head
  • Any form of paralysis
  • Feelings of weakness
  • Coordination problems
  • Tingling, numbness, or lack of feeling in the limbs
  • Breathing trouble
  • Inability to control bladder or bowel movements
  • Inability to walk
  • Loss of balance
  • An awkward or twisted posture
  • Immediate headaches

Inflammation or swelling can be signs of injuries, like soft tissue damage or whiplash. Keep an eye out for delayed symptoms of neck and back injuries, such as:

  • Stiffness or pain in the neck, back, shoulders, or head
  • Lagging strength or inability to handle light lifting
  • Pain or pinching feelings in the shoulders, neck, or back
  • Continuous tingling or numbness in the arms, hands, or fingers
  • Sore and sensitive muscles
  • Skin discoloration or bruises
  • Limited range of mobility
  • Persistent headaches
  • Alterations in hearing or sight
  • Confusion, stress, or anxiousness
  • Abdominal pain or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, sleep pattern, mood, or behavior

Establishing the Severity of Your Back and Neck Injury

In instances of severe damage to your spinal column, the injury will likely be evident at the accident site. If the spinal cord severs, paralysis below the injury point occurs. In these cases, first responders provide immediate medical attention before you’re rushed to the hospital.

Often, neck and back injuries aren’t initially noticeable. You may feel pain in your neck when still at the accident site but might not identify the cause immediately or gauge how serious it is. That said, it’s crucial to get examined by a healthcare professional promptly. A medical examination is still beneficial even if several days have passed since the accident.

Documentation and receipts from your doctor can be invaluable in the future. So, be sure to save everything. 

Neck and Back Injury Damages

Neck and back injury settlements could include the following costs:

  • Medical costs: Money spent on emergency visits, hospital stays, physical therapy, medication, and assistive equipment needed to manage your injury.
  • Lost wages: Due to recovery time and the inability to work, you may lose income.
  • Long-term rehabilitation or care cost: Some injuries may result in long-term conditions requiring consistent treatments or assistance. 
  • Pain and suffering: It’s more challenging to quantify overall physical discomfort and distress experienced. Insurance companies often use the multiplier method. Insurers multiply your tangible damages by a certain number (often between 1.5 and 5) and add them to your settlement.
  • Punitive damages: Insurance companies award punitive damages if the at-fault party’s actions were reckless or malicious.

Average settlement for car accident back and neck injury

The settlement amount widely differs based on factors, such as the nature of the injury and the local legal environment. The national neck and back injury settlement average is estimated to exceed $834,686, and the median is around $285,000.

Whiplash, a common injury after a car accident, varies considerably in severity. Minor injuries that heal quickly and require minimal medical attention may receive around $10,000 in settlements. However, the settlement could increase significantly in severe, debilitating cases or with the need for supplement treatments.

Compensation for damages to other tissues and tendons generally falls between $10,000 to $100,000. The figure rises if the injury takes extensive medical treatment or causes a significant lifestyle change.

In some cases, victims have obtained markedly higher amounts. Highly severe injuries, like those involving spinal cord or vertebrae, could result in settlements ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. For instance, someone with a permanent disability or a catastrophic injury may secure anywhere from $1M to $5M.

Back Injury Settlement Without Surgery

A back injury without surgery after a car accident can range from minor strains to significant damages like disc herniations. Symptoms might include pain, stiffness, or decreased mobility. Back injuries are generally managed with conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, and rest. Your provider may consider more invasive options if these treatments are ineffective.

Settlements for minor back injuries without surgery can vary but often average between $10,000 and $50,000.

Back Injury Settlement With Surgery

A back injury with surgery usually involves more severe conditions, like spinal fractures or severe disc herniations. These injuries may cause intense pain, loss of function, or neurological deficits. Your surgeon may use interventions, such as a discectomy or fusion to alleviate symptoms. Surgery may stabilize the spine, remove sources of pain, and improve your quality of life.

Back injuries requiring surgery may grant settlements exceeding $100,000.

Cervical Spine Injury Settlement Amounts

A cervical spine injury involves damage to the neck region of the spine. Cervical spine injuries can occur from whiplash or direct trauma in a car accident. If the spinal cord or nerves are affected these injuries can cause neck pain, stiffness, and neurological symptoms like numbness or weakness. Immediate medical attention is needed to minimize long-term damage and disability.

Cervical spine injury settlement amounts usually range from $100,000 to $200,000.

Permanent Injury Settlement Amounts

Damages from car accidents that result in untreatable harm are called permanent injuries. Permanent injuries often involve severe trauma to the brain, spinal cord, or other significant structures. These injuries can significantly alter a person’s lifestyle, impacting mobility, cognition, or other central functions. Those who experience permanent injuries may require long-term care and accommodations.

Permanent injuries might garner settlements upwards of $100,000. Depending on the severity, the value could reach up to $500,000.

Lower Back Pain Car Accident Settlement

Lower back pain after a car accident can stem from many sources, including muscle strains, ligament sprains, or disc damage. The pain can be acute, lasting a few days or weeks, or chronic, lasting more than three months. Lower back pain is often managed with pain relievers, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications like improving posture.

Based on severity, lower back pain settlements average around $10,000 to $30,000.

Average Settlement for Discectomy

A discectomy is a surgical procedure often performed if you have a herniated disc in your lower back after an accident. A damaged disc can cause severe discomfort or neurological symptoms. A discectomy removes a portion of the damaged disc pressing on the spinal cord or nerve roots. The procedure aims to alleviate pain and improve your ability to perform daily activities.

Lumbar discectomy surgeries typically garner settlements between $100,000 and $500,000. The average national verdict in herniated disc injury cases is about $360,000.

Soft Tissue Back Injury Settlement Amounts

Soft tissue back injury damages back muscles, ligaments, or tendons. This often results from rapid acceleration and deceleration in a car accident, leading to strains or sprains. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, and decreased mobility. Generally, victims manage soft tissue back injuries with rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), and physical therapy.

Soft tissue injuries often settle for between $2,500 and $10,000.

Neck Injury Settlement Amounts

Neck injuries range from minor sprains and strains to serious injuries, like fractures or dislocations. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, headaches, or dizziness. These injuries often stem from whiplash incidents where the head forcefully moves forward and backward. Neck injuries require a medical evaluation to determine the best treatment plan.

Neck injury settlements average between $20,000 and $75,000.

How Much Compensation for Neck and Shoulder Injury

The structures and muscles that span the neck and shoulders often interconnect these injuries after a car accident. This could include whiplash or a shoulder injury that causes neck pain. The combined damage may require a multipronged approach to treatment, including physical therapy, medications, and potentially surgery.

Based on the severity, neck and shoulder injury settlements average $25,000 to $100,000.

Average Settlement for Degenerative Disc Disease

The trauma from a car accident can exacerbate existing degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is the natural wear and tear of spinal discs, which reduces their shock-absorbing capabilities. After a car accident, this existing issue can flare up, causing increased pain, stiffness, and potentially nerve-related symptoms.

Degenerative disc disease settlements can vary drastically, depending on long-term prognosis and other factors.

Average Settlement for Laminectomy

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure often done after significant spinal injuries in a car accident. This procedure involves removing part of the vertebral bone (lamina) to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. A laminectomy is typically done for spinal stenosis or herniated discs when conservative treatments fail to provide relief.

Laminectomy settlements and verdicts also vary widely, with no average settlement value.

Average Payout for Sciatica Car Accident

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from the lower back through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg. Car accidents can cause or exacerbate sciatica by pressing on part of the nerve. Symptoms usually only affect one side of the body, and treatments may include self-care measures, physical therapy, medications, and sometimes surgery.

Depending on the severity, sciatica settlements can range from $10,000 to $100,000, or more.

BACK AND NECK INJURY from automotive accident

How to Prove Your Neck and Back Injury

Demonstrating the existence and the extent of your back and neck injuries is vital to reinforce your claim. Using medical records, expert testimonies, photographic evidence, and documenting your healing progress can all aid in presenting your case. 

A qualified attorney with expertise in similar cases can help you get the highest possible settlement you deserve. At Vaksman Khalfin, we’ve recovered over $10M for our clients. We’re happy to help you win your case. 

Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to discuss your case. You won’t pay us anything until you receive your approved settlement. 

Dealing With a Lowball Neck and Back Injury Settlement Offer

It’s crucial to understand that insurance companies and their associates don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. Their objectives might differ from yours, requiring you to take active steps to secure the complete compensation to which you’re entitled.

This doesn’t require confrontation with your insurance company contacts. Maintaining courtesy is essential, but you don’t have to agree to their initial compensation proposal.

Finding an injury attorney might be your next step if an offer seems substantially less than your claim and you lack legal representation. An attorney can assist in accurately assessing the value of your injury. Claimants who employ lawyers tend to receive larger settlements.

Lawyers can skillfully negotiate increased settlements on your behalf, resulting in the resolution of most personal injury lawsuits outside of court. However, if a trial is inevitable, your attorney should also be equipped to handle this.

Remember, you can always reject the first offer, and legal representation can often assist in negotiating a more favorable settlement.

Average Settlement for Car Accident Back and Neck Injury

Frequently Asked Questions

Neck and back pain after a car accident can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the injuries.

We typically calculate the settlement amount by adding up medical costs, lost income, property damage, and an amount for pain and suffering.

We calculate emotional pain and suffering using a multiplier method. Your calculated economic losses are multiplied by a certain number determined by the severity of emotional distress.

The at-fault party's insurance company generally pays the settlement amount.

The average recovery time for a neck injury can vary greatly but typically can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

A lump on the back of the neck after a car accident could be a hematoma or a bulging disc due to the impact. Contact a medical specialist immediately if you find one or feel any discomfort.

The settlement for a lower back injury can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury, medical costs, lost income, and other factors. It's best to consult with a lawyer to determine a fair amount.

What are My Next Steps?

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Consult with a doctor or get a medical examination, first.

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After your diagnosis, it's time to address suitable compensation for your injuries. You can hire a lawyer at any stage, but it's usually beneficial as early as possible.


It's natural to feel anxious and overwhelmed about what lies ahead. An attorney can simplify the process by guiding you through each step.

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At Vaksman Khalfin, we’re here to help you with any car injury, so contact us now for a professional, no-obligation, free consultation.

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1000 +

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