Car crashes, slip and falls, and other accidents often lead to back injuries. You might suffer anything from minor back pain to spinal cord injuries or permanent paralysis after an accident. If someone else was at fault, you could deserve a settlement for your injury costs.
Knowing how much you should settle for after a back injury is complicated. Each case is different, but most have similar factors in common. Here are some details to consider when valuing your claim.
Damages in a Back Injury Claim
The value of a back injury settlement depends on your damages. “Damages” are the losses you have from your accident and injuries. There are two main types of personal injury damages:
- Economic damages (also known as special damages) are financial losses from your injuries
- Non-economic damages (also known as general damages) are non-financial losses that don’t have a set dollar amount
Here are some of the most common examples of non-economic and economic damages. You’ll need to understand each loss so that you can know how much to settle for your back injury costs.
Medical Treatment Costs
Medical bills often make up the most substantial part of an accident claim. Medical costs can include:
- Doctor and hospital visits
- MRIs, CT scans, and other imaging tests
- Physical therapy
- Future medical care
Some back injuries have life-long consequences. You might need long-term care or costly medical equipment. Before seeking compensation, make sure you understand all of your past, current, and future medical treatment needs.
It’s best to complete all of your medical treatment before filing a claim. However, you must usually file your claim within two years of the accident, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33.
If your back injuries need treatment past two years, you and your lawyer can estimate your future costs. To learn more during a FREE consultation, contact John Foy & Associates. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.
A back injury often affects your ability to work as you could before. Many accident victims have to quit their jobs, take time off work, or reduce their hours. Some even have to take on lower-paying jobs because of their back injuries.
You can claim lost wages after a back injury accident. That includes any reduced income you’ll earn because of your injuries and any bonuses or raises you might have otherwise received.
Pay stubs, invoices, and past tax returns can help support your claim for lost wages.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are non-economic. These losses can refer to:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish or distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
These damages are about how the accident affects your daily life. For example, a back injury can drastically impact your ability to live as before. Back pain can keep you from doing the activities you used to enjoy.
You can claim pain and suffering for how the accident has affected you. Most of the time, the courts will use a multiplier to come up with a monetary value for your emotional losses.
Talk to a lawyer who can help you accurately calculate these damages. Pain and suffering are complicated after an accident. An experienced lawyer will know how to determine how they fit into your settlement.
Loss of Consortium
Back injuries can affect relationships in significant ways. If a spouse or parent is injured in an accident, loved ones might be able to claim loss of consortium or companionship.
Punitive damages are a separate category of injury losses—and they are pretty rare. The courts usually award punitive damages if the accident involved reckless, malicious, or wanton behavior. If you believe punitive damages might apply to your accident, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
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Partial Fault in a Back Injury Claim
Your damages are the most crucial factor in a back injury claim. However, the percentage of fault also plays a part in some accidents.
Georgia is a comparative fault state, meaning you can recover damages as long as you were less than 50% at fault. However, any percentage of fault can reduce the damages you can claim:
- For example, let’s say you were 5% at fault for a back injury accident. Your damages totaled $100,000.
- The courts would reduce your recoverable damages by 5%, which is $5,000.
- The at-fault party would then be responsible for paying you the remaining $95,000 from the accident.
Insurance companies might try to blame you and reduce their liability for an accident. However, you might hold no fault for your back injuries. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate the accident and uncover the truth.
Don’t Wait to Get Medical Care and Contact a Lawyer
You should also see a doctor as soon as possible after a back injury. There are two reasons for this:
- A doctor can evaluate you for all damage and avoid worsening injuries.
- You can determine all medical treatment you will need, now and in the future.
Also, follow all instructions from your doctor. If your pain changes or worsens, call your doctor. Failing to address your treatment needs can hurt your case.
After the accident, it’s also best to contact an experienced lawyer. Your attorney can determine your damages and help protect your rights. They will understand what you should settle for to recover your costs.
Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Don’t wait to get the help you deserve after a back injury from an accident. Our team has over 20 years of experience helping accident victims. There are no upfront costs and no fee unless we win your case.
Get a FREE consultation today. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.