Neck injuries from accidents can vary widely, from simple neck strains to torn ligaments, to broken vertebrae or pinched nerves, all requiring compensation in a neck injury settlement. However, that settlement will be difficult to secure if the victim does not obtain a medical diagnosis and treatment that can be documented and provided for evidence in a negotiation or, if necessary, a trial.
In order to receive a settlement for injuries that are due to the negligence of another person, there are several requirements:
- There must be evidence that the liable party showed some form of negligence, either carelessly, recklessly, or intentionally
- There must have been some injury resulting from their negligence
- There must have been damages, or costs, resulting from the injury
Neck injuries are common results of a number of kinds of accidents, including auto accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, or job-related accidents. However, neck injuries can be confusing. Those that are not life threatening may not even appear immediately after an accident. It may take several days for them to begin causing pain, inconvenience, and possibly lasting damage. That is why it is vital for victims to have a doctor check them out immediately.
In addition, the victim should be sure to document all of the pain and treatment they required. Doctor bills, rehabilitation, therapy, and the inconvenience and pain of the injury all add to the settlement required. No claim should be filed until the outcome of the injury is known, as well. Otherwise they victim may settle their claim and find that more treatment or therapy is required, which will then be uncompensated.
Determining the Settlement
Once the final outcome of the neck injury is determined, the victim should calculate the amount of compensation they require. For some neck injuries, that may mean long-term or permanent disability. For others, it may mean treatment to return to full strength and mobility. Most insurance companies use a standard formula to determine the value of an injury claim. It follows these steps:
- The expenses resulting from the injury are calculated, resulting in a total often called “medical special damages,” or “specials”
- That figure is multiplied by the severity of the injury, which is often 1.5 or 2 for less severe injuries, up to 5 for those that are especially painful. Some extreme injuries may even reach 10. Those are the general losses, or pain and suffering and non-monetary damages
- Finally, lost income is added to those amounts, producing a total compensation amount.
This amount, or a higher proposal to begin negotiations, is presented to the defendant, their insurance adjuster, or their attorney in a demand letter. If a settlement can be negotiated, it is put in writing and signed by both parties. If a settlement cannot be reached, the time and expense of a trial are the only alternative.
Getting Legal Help with Neck Injury Settlement Amounts
Many people can conduct their own negotiations for a neck injury settlement; however, they may not be skilled in determining the amounts to propose or settle for. They may not be good negotiators, either, making it difficult to motivate the defendant and their insurance company to change their settlement proposals. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can calculate settlement amounts and negotiate with defendants to reach a compensation amount that is appropriate for their client.