Deciding whether to take your personal injury case to court is never easy. However, it is always a good idea to arm yourself with the right information should you decide to take legal action. If you have been involved in a car accident and are experiencing back pain, the first step is to seek medical help.

After that, here are some legal and medical realities you should be aware of:

1. Most Common Auto-Related Back Injuries

The spine is divided into three primary sections: the cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae and the lumbar vertebrae. Generally, the type of auto accident will impact the type of injury received.

  • Thoracic Spine Injuries: These are often the most serious because they can result in permanent nerve damage. They are also generally caused by high-speed or high-velocity accidents.
  • Lumbar Spine Injuries: The lumbar is the strongest section of vertebrae located on the lower back, between the chest and hips. Injuries to this area can result in limited movement, swelling and bruising. In serious cases, they prevent you from performing simple daily tasks. Any accident that impacts the lower back can lead to this injury.
  • Herniated Discs: A disc is a cushion that separates each vertebrae and protects the spine. When a disc becomes herniated, it is moved out of place, which puts pressure on the spine and surrounding nerves, causing pain. Numbness in the legs is another common side effect. This injury can be caused by a variety of auto accidents.

Whiplash, the most prevalent car accident injury, has been linked to lower back pain. Occurring often with rear-end collision, whiplash compresses the lower spine and can cause tremendous lower back pain. However, since it is connected with another injury, the cause is often overlooked.

2. Medical Damages & Rising Healthcare Costs

Rising healthcare costs should always play a role in a personal injury case, no matter how severe your injury is today.

For example, herniated disc repairs cost an average of $12,754, for patients without complications, and $19,000 if complications arise. Those are just today’s numbers. In 2006, the same surgery cost an average of $6,000! Who knows how much it will cost five years from now?

Also, X-Rays are required for any minor strain or sprain and can cost anywhere between $100 to $1,000. Add to that the potential need for lifelong care, and the costs can reach into the millions.

Inflation could and should impact how much damages you seek in court. That is why it is important to have a legal professional review your case to determine exactly what financial realities are in play.

3. Shared Blame: How Partial Fault Can Affect Your Case

In a number of personal injury cases, fault is clearly defined and relegated to one person. However, there are times when fault is divided between both parties. In these cases, it is crucial to know where you stand.

Many states assign the injured with the classification of contributory negligence, which holds the injury victim at partial fault. In these states, the plaintiff is often denied any compensation, even if the actions of the defendant were much more serious and clearly caused more harm. In a state with contributory negligence, even one percent of fault could cost you thousands in damages.

Other states define partial fault as comparative negligence. Rulings in these states are often more favorable to the plaintiff. With comparative negligence, an assessment is used to determine exactly how much fault should be assigned to both parties. For example, if the defendant ran a red light at the same time that the plaintiff turned left too soon, the judge might assign 70 percent responsibility to the defendant and 30 percent to the plaintiff.

What does this mean for you? Comparative negligence allows you to collect damages that are equal to the amount of fault assigned to the other party.

With the right defense, justice can still be achieved in a comparative negligence state. Click here for a table that outlines the partial fault rulings of each state.


Fenstersheib Law Group, P.A.

The Lawyers at Fenstersheib Law Group, P.A. provide
personalized legal representation for personal injury cases.

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