A back injury
is one of the most common ailment caused by preventable accident in the United States, including auto accidents
, slip and falls
, workplace incidents, and sports related injuries. The lumbar region of the back is where most back pain is felt because it support the weight of the upper body. One of the most common and important questions client ask our personal injury attorney is, “What is the value of my case”. The value of a personal injury case is dependent on several factors. This page is written to highlight some key factors in determining the value of a personal injury lawsuit for back injuries.
Severity – Magnitude of the Injury
: There are three major focal point of back and spine injuries: (1) cervical vertebrae (the neck), (2) the upper back (thoracic vertebrae), and (3) the lower back (lumbar vertebrae (lower back).
Permanence of the Injury: You are not completely
- Cervical Vertebrae – starts at the bottom of the skull and extends all the way down to the thoracic spine. It includes the C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae, and supports the head and neck areas as well as protect the spinal cord.
- Thoracic Vertebrae – comprised of the twelve vertebrae known as T1 through T12. It serves to stabilize the body and protecting vital organs. The thoracic spine is connected to the rib cage, and in addition to stability, provides a protective cage for the heart, lungs, and liver.
- Lumbar Vertebrae – commonly known as the lower back, the lumbar starts roughly six inches from the shoulder blade, connecting to the thoracic vertebrae, and extends to the tail bone. The lumbar spine consists of the L1 – L5 Vertebrae
- Common lower back injuries include – sciatica, spinal stenosis, herniated disc, disc fractures, and common sprains and strains.
healed from your back injury and are experiencing ongoing pain and disability In many instances chronic back pain will result from trauma to the back caused by an accident. Chronic back pain may result in permanent disabilities to such an extent that individuals will require life care including home cleaning, nursing care, and transportation expenses. According to estimates the lifetime costs of life care for individuals with permanent back or spine injuries may run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Life Impact -Pain and Suffering Associated with the Injury:
Life impact is perhaps the single most important element. The question that is asked in the court of law is how has this changed your life? How has your life been different as a result of the injuries you have suffered? What are you not able to enjoy any longer? This is the most human element of your claim. It analyzes what you have lost not in terms of dollars, but in terms of quality of life. Some term this as the suffering element of your claim.
Often times what a jury or judge finds most profound is not the expert testimony, but the story from the injured party. Stories such as “I wasn’t able to travel to my parents home for Christmas because of the pain I was in,” or “I was in so much pain that I could not sleep for more than a couple hours a night for more than three months
Loss of Earning – Lost Wages:
Loss of income is an important element in determining the value of a personal injury cause of action. For example a client that is paid $300 a day and has missed three weeks (16 days) of work due to the injuries suffered is entitled to ($300 X 16) $4800 in lost wages.
Loss of or Reduction of Future Earning: Victims of personal injury are also entitled to compensation for loss of future income due to inability to perform physical or mental task because of the trauma suffered. For example a roofer (contractor) who is paid $2,000 per week and is injured in a car accident is no longer able to work as a contractor and must find a desk job that pays $500 less is entitled to the difference in compensation for the rest of his working life.
In such instance vocational experts will consider factors such as age, earning capacity, family earning capacity, social status and more to come up with a valid number. This number will then be presented as part of your demand for damages.
Example of a Case:
A 55 year old suffered permanent back injuries (disc fracture) from a slip and fall accident
. He has worked as a firefighter and is expected to retire in 5 years at the age of 60. As a result of his injuries he is no longer able to work and requires life time home care.
Value of his case: note these are all estimates not an actual case.
Total Value of his case is approximately: $907,400.00
Common Causes of Back Injury in the United States:
- Medical Costs: $25,000
- Prescription Drug Costs: $12,400
- Future Rehabilitation costs: $50,000
- Loss of income: 5 years at $60,000 per year = $300,000
- Pain and Suffering: $120,000
- Life Care costs: $20,000 per year for 20 years = $400,000
Filing an Back Injury Claim
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Including Truck and Motorcycle crashes
- Workplace accidents – manual lifting
- Defective Products
- Slip and Falls
- Sport and recreational activity injuries including horse riding injuries
Healing from the injuries you suffered is the most important part of your claim. Victims of serious injuries caused by the negligent or intentional acts of others are entitled to monetary compensation for all their losses including
How to seek legal representation
- Medical expenses including emergency room costs and medication costs
- Cost of future medical care and rehabilitation
- cost of life care including nursing and home care for victims with permanent disabilities
- Lost wages and future loss of earning capacity
- Punitive damages rewards against at fault parties – where possible
– Our Law Firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of the injured. Our attorneys are available 24 hours per day 7 days out of the week to hear your case and provide you with a detailed case analysis. All consultations are Free of Charge. Call us toll free (888) 649-7166