How Much Is a Back Injury Worth in a Lawsuit?

How Much Is a Back Injury Worth in a Lawsuit

A back injury can be painful, debilitating, and life-altering. Unfortunately, back injuries are common and often caused by accidents like car crashes, slip and fall accidents, or workplace incidents.

If the negligence of another party caused your back injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. A key question many back injury victims have is: How much is my back injury case worth?

The value of a back injury lawsuit depends on the unique circumstances and impacts of your individual case. However, understanding the key factors that affect the potential settlement or jury award can help set expectations. Here’s an overview of what goes into determining the worth of a back injury claim.

If you suffer back injury in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact a car accident lawyer immediately for legal guidance.

Severity and Type of Back Injury

One of the most significant factors impacting the value of a back injury lawsuit is the severity and specific type of back injury sustained. Back injury cases can range from soft tissue damage and herniations to fractured vertebrae and spinal cord damage. In general, the more severe and long-lasting the back injury, the higher the potential compensation.

For example, a mild back strain from a rear-end collision that heals within weeks will be valued much lower than a herniated disk impinging on spinal nerves and requiring surgery. Spinal cord injuries that cause permanent paralysis will be on the highest end of the scale. Injury severity is typically documented through medical records, doctors’ notes, diagnostic imaging tests, and medical expert testimony.

Required Medical Treatment

The type and duration of medical treatment required for your back injury is another key factor in case value. More extensive treatment leads to higher medical expenses, which will raise the value of your economic damages.

Back injury medical care may include:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgeries
  • Prescription medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Pain management
  • Mobility aids and devices
  • Home health assistance
  • Ongoing follow-up and monitoring

Your personal injury lawyer will gather all your medical bills and records as evidence of your treatment costs to include in your compensation demand. Future expected medical costs, such as additional surgeries, will also be calculated and included.

Lost Income and Earning Capacity

Many back injuries require time off work to recover or receive treatment. For serious back injuries, you may never return to your previous job. Lost wages, benefits, and earning potential can add up to a substantial portion of a back injury claim’s value.

Your lost income claim will start with wages lost during your initial recovery period. It will also factor in vacation days or paid time off used during this time.

If your injuries disable you from working going forward, your lawyer will calculate your lost future earning capacity based on your age, occupation, skills, promotions and bonuses trajectory, and years left until retirement.

Testimony from economic experts is often used to value lost earning capacity.

Life Changing Impacts

Beyond the financial costs, back injuries often have far-reaching physical, emotional, and lifestyle consequences for victims. You can recover non-economic damages for very real impacts like pain and suffering. The more a back injury hurts your life, the more pain and suffering damages you can seek.

For example, a back injury may limit your ability to:

  • Perform activities of daily living
  • Maintain an active, independent lifestyle
  • Engage in hobbies, sports and recreation
  • Spend quality time with family
  • Be intimate with your spouse
  • Pursue your career goals
  • Feel positive and happy

Some states cap non-economic damages, while others allow juries to award any amount they feel is appropriate. Your attorney will gather evidence like medical records documenting your pain levels, mental health records, personal journals, and testimony from you and your loved ones to demonstrate your back injury’s toll on your life.

Shared Fault

In some cases, an accident victim may share some level of fault for the incident that caused their back injury. Depending on your state’s negligence laws, shared fault can reduce your eligible compensation.

New York follows a pure comparative negligence rule, meaning your damages will decrease by your assigned percentage of fault.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania follow a modified comparative negligence rule, in which you can collect reduced damages as long as you are under 51% at fault. If you exceed 50% of the blame, you cannot recover any compensation.

Insurance companies often try to shift undue blame onto back injury victims to avoid liability. Your lawyer will defend you against these tactics and work to minimize any fault allocation.

Case Settlement vs. Trial Verdict in Back Injury Lawsuit

Case Settlement vs. Trial Verdict

Most personal injury cases end up settling out of court through negotiations between the injured plaintiff’s attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company or legal counsel.

However, if the insurance company refuses to settle, a trial may decide the case. Whether your back injury case settles or goes to court can impact the compensation you ultimately receive.

Settlement agreements tend to be less than what a jury might award at trial. Insurance companies want to settle for as little as possible. However, settling avoids the risks and costs of going to trial.

Taking a case to court is expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable. There’s always a chance the jury could side against you. Attorneys build the strongest case possible to gain leverage in settlement talks and secure an offer that meets your needs and goals.

Average and Example Back Injury Settlements/Awards

According to research, the average verdict in a spinal disc injury lawsuit is roughly $1 million, with a median of $285,000. However, average and median values encompass a wide range of back injury cases, and actual results vary widely depending on case specifics.

Here is a look at some back injury settlements and jury verdicts the personal injury lawyers at Rothenberg Law Firm LLP lawyers have secured in recent years for our clients:

  • $25 million settlement for TBI and quadriplegic
  • $6.825 awarded to a construction worker in a scaffolding collapse
  • $3.5 million settlement for spinal injuries in a trucking accident
  • $3 million settlement during trial for a back injury suffered in a construction accident
  • $2.6 million verdict for arm and back injuries of pedestrian struck by a bus
  • $2 million for back injuries from a motor vehicle collision
  • $1.15 million verdict for back injuries in an automobile accident
  • $1.05 million verdict for back injuries suffered in intersectional collision

While past results don’t guarantee future outcomes, they highlight how much a back injury can recover under certain circumstances.

Common Causes of Back Injuries Caused by Negligence

The negligence of others can often cause back injuries.

Some common causes of back injuries due to negligence include:

  • Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents: Collisions caused by negligent driving, such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence.
  • Slip, trip, and fall incidents: Property owners failing to maintain safe premises or warn of hazards, leading to falls.
  • Workplace accidents: Employers not providing proper safety equipment, training, or a safe work environment, especially in physically demanding industries like construction or manufacturing.
  • Defective products: Manufacturers producing faulty products that cause or contribute to back injuries, such as defective ladders, chairs, or machinery.
  • Medical malpractice: Healthcare providers making errors during back surgeries, failing to diagnose serious back conditions, or improperly administering spinal injections.
  • Nursing home negligence: Staff dropping or improperly handling elderly residents, leading to falls and back fractures.
  • Sports and recreational accidents: Coaches or trainers pushing athletes too hard or failing to address safety hazards, or negligence by other participants.
  • Assault and battery: Intentional acts of violence causing back injuries.
  • Overexertion and heavy lifting: Employers not providing proper equipment or training for lifting heavy objects.
  • Inadequate security: Property owners failing to provide adequate security measures, leading to assaults or accidents that cause back injuries.

If a back injury occurs due to someone else’s negligence, the victim may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for damages.

Proving negligence typically requires showing that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, breached that duty, and directly caused the back injury and related losses as a result.

Should I Accept the First Offer from the Insurance Company?

Never accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company after a back injury until you consult a lawyer.

Here’s why:

  • Lowball Offers: Insurance companies are businesses seeking to maximize profits. Their initial settlement offer is often a “lowball” amount that does not fully account for your damages and future needs.
  • Incomplete Picture of Damages: When the first offer is made, you may not yet know the full extent of your injuries, required medical treatment, or long-term impacts on your life. Accepting too soon could mean settling for less than your case is worth.
  • Lack of Negotiation Leverage: Accepting the first offer eliminates your negotiating power. Insurance adjusters typically expect claimants to counteroffer and may be willing to increase their offer through negotiations.
  • Waiving Your Rights: Accepting a settlement offer usually requires signing a release waiving your right to seek further compensation, even if your condition worsens or new damages arise.
  • Legal Representation: If you don’t have a lawyer, the insurance company may try to take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge by making an offer that undervalues your claim.
  • Statute of Limitations Pressure: Insurance companies know you have a limited time frame to settle or file a lawsuit. They may use your urgency against you by making lowball offers with arbitrary deadlines to pressure you into accepting.

Instead of accepting the first offer, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your claim’s full value and handle negotiations on your behalf. Your lawyer can advise you on appropriate settlement ranges and prevent you from making any hasty decisions.

With a strong advocate in your corner, you can aim for a settlement that fully compensates you for your back injury and its impacts.

How Can a Lawyer Help with My Back Injury Case

How Can a Lawyer Help with My Back Injury Case?

A lawyer can provide invaluable assistance with your back injury claim in several ways:

Case Evaluation

A lawyer can review the facts of your case, assess the legal merits, and advise you on the best course of action.

Evidence Gathering

Your lawyer can investigate the accident, gather relevant evidence (e.g., medical records, witness statements, expert opinions), and build a strong case to prove negligence and damages.

Damage Calculation

A lawyer can help you assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, future treatment costs, pain and suffering, and more, to recover fair compensation.

Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies often try to settle claims for as little as possible. Your lawyer can handle all communications and negotiations with insurers, fighting for a settlement that meets your needs.


If you cannot reach a fair settlement, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and represent you in court proceedings, presenting your case to a judge and jury.

Knowledge of Laws and Procedures

Your lawyer can navigate complex personal injury laws and legal procedures, file your claim properly and on time, and protect your rights throughout the process.

Medical Lien Resolution

If health insurance or government benefits cover your medical treatments, your lawyer can resolve any liens or reimbursement claims on your settlement.

Emotional Support

Your lawyer can provide guidance, answer your questions, and alleviate the burden of handling the claim on your own.

Maximizing Your Recovery

Ultimately, an experienced lawyer can significantly improve your chances of receiving the maximum compensation possible for your back injury.

Get a Personalized Case Evaluation

As you can see, many variables affect the potential value of a back injury lawsuit.

Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to explore your options and get an estimated range for your unique case. Your lawyer can investigate the facts, gather evidence of your damages, and fight for the maximum compensation possible on your behalf.

At Rothenberg Law Firm LLP, we have decades of experience handling complex back injury claims across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. We understand the immense toll a back injury can take and are here to help you pursue justice.

Contact our personal injury attorneys today at (800) 624-8888 or through our online form for a free case evaluation. Let us put our skills and resources to work for you.

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Plaintiff rear-ended another vehicle.