Neck Injury: Recovery, Compensation, and Legal Rights
October 9, 2021 | Personal Injury
Neck injuries can range from as “minor” as whiplash to as severe as a fracture leading to paralysis. In accidents, sudden physical trauma to the head or neck is what causes the injury, whether the trauma stems from an automobile collision or a harsh fall to the ground. This trauma leaves victims to go through painful recoveries, limiting their ability to work or perform regular activities.
If you or a loved one sustained a neck injury in an accident that someone else caused, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault or liable party. A personal injury lawyer can represent you and prepare a case that establishes why you deserve compensation for your injuries. Additionally, most offer free consultations to review your case and discuss legal options.
The severity of a neck injury directly affects your quality of life
We know and appreciate how debilitating a neck injury can be for victims. Whiplash can cause severe pain in the neck, shoulders, and even radiate through the arms and legs in certain cases. Most times, recovery can take weeks, and in extreme cases require surgical intervention. During that recovery, your neck injury affects your ability to move, interact with others, and your efficiency at work.
In more severe cases, where the accident has severed the spinal cord in the neck, families struggle to care for their injured loved one while they deal with the stress of mounting bills and dwindling savings.
No matter the degree of injury, your life has been upset, and it’s not a question of can you work through the pain or make ends meet. You shouldn’t have to. When someone else’s negligence has caused your pain and suffering, you should not have to endure hardships on your own. You deserve compensation for your losses and the means to recover your health and your life.
Neck injury victims may file for compensation based on the damages they endured
When it comes to measuring the value of a personal injury case, no two cases are the same. Plaintiffs live with various factors that can change the value of their cases, whether it’s the cost of their medical treatment or the specific amount of wages they lost while recovering.
Your team will calculate how much compensation you should pursue in your case based on your damages.
These categories encompass what your lawyer may focus on:
Based on the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) data, workers who sustained neck injuries on the job paid an average of $33,830 toward medical expenses from a workers’ compensation claim, as presented by National Safety Council (NSC). However, people who suffered total paralysis after being injured in the neck (tetraplegia) may expect to pay up to $1,064,716 within the first year of their injury and over $180,000 per year after, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Medical expenses vary by injury type, where you receive treatment, and how long you receive or require treatment. So, we must examine your medical records and invoices to determine the current and future costs of your treatment.
We may look into costs for:
- Surgeries, including follow-up procedures
- Emergency room care, including costs for ambulance rides
- Hospitalization and inpatient treatment
- Doctor’s appointments
- Lab work and other diagnostic procedures
- Imaging tests (e.g., X-rays and MRIs)
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Prescription medications
- Medical equipment (e.g., neck braces)
Other economic damages
Once you and your attorney evaluate your medical damages, you can then look into other financial damages you endured, such as:
- Current income loss, including loss of benefits and pensions
- Future income loss
- Reduced earning potential
- Domestic services costs, such as for childcare or homecare while you were in recovery
- Home modification costs if your injuries are permanent and require alterations in your home to accommodate your limitations
- Property damage, such as to a car, motorcycle, or truck
If you experienced other financial losses tied to your injury, you and your lawyer can factor in these costs when calculating your compensation.
Neck injury victims are not only entitled to compensation for financial losses. They can also demand compensation for physical and emotional injuries they experienced, even though these damages don’t have standard values. For non-economic damages, we use formulas and other methods to base the impact of your neck injury on your life, then assign a monetary value that reflects this impact.
You may receive compensation for damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, which includes depression, insomnia, and anxiety
- Permanent disability, such as paraplegia or tetraplegia or nerve damage stemming from the cervical area
- Physical disfigurement, including scarring, burn marks, and amputation
- Psychological distress
- Loss of enjoyment in hobbies and activities or life in general
- Reduced quality of life
If your loved one was injured in the neck and could not survive their injuries, you may be able to pursue compensation on their behalf if you are a qualifying family member. Wrongful death laws vary by state, so you should look into whether your relationship to the decedent (your loved one) qualifies you. Common plaintiffs include the decedent’s spouse, child, or parent.
With a wrongful death action, you can fight for a sense of justice for your loved one’s passing and pursue compensation for:
- Funeral service costs, including burial or cremation costs
- Loss of financial support from the decedent
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance or companionship
- Loss of inheritance
Traversing the legal system while grieving can be difficult to handle, which is why you should consider working with a legal team. They can manage your case for you, so you have the space to process your emotions. They can also update you about your case’s progress and offer guidance and support during this tumultuous time.
Hiring a personal injury attorney allows you to focus on your recovery
Many accident victims are hesitant to take legal action immediately after getting injured because they assume it will preoccupy a significant amount of their time. However, if you hire an injury lawyer, they will take on the burden of building your legal case and preparing it for litigation. This service applies even if your case doesn’t go to court.
Working with a personal injury lawyer has conveniences, such as:
- You will be able to focus on your physical recovery while your lawyer handles legal work for your case, even while you’re in the hospital.
- Your lawyer can fill out and submit paperwork on your behalf because they’ll be able to know which documents you must include with your case.
- You can refer anyone who tries to reach out to you for statements to your lawyer, who knows which statements still protect your case without admitting fault.
- Your lawyer may have access to different resources to obtain evidence and speak with expert witnesses for you.
As your legal representative, your lawyer takes on the legal responsibility of presenting the facts of your situation and arguments for why you want to pursue compensation, whether that’s in front of a judge and jury or an insurance adjuster.
So, if you are worried about multitasking different burdens while healing from your injury, just know that you won’t have to stress about preparing your case with the help of a lawyer and legal team.
Most personal injury attorneys serve in several practice areas
Typically, accident injury lawyers handle various personal injury case types.
The following are the different practice areas most serve:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Premises liability cases
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Work-related accidents
- Wrongful death
If you suffered a neck injury in a different type of accident or incident not listed here, your attorney may still be able to represent you. One of their team members can review your case for free to assess which area of law your case falls under, then discuss the next steps on how to file a civil action.
They provide multiple legal services to their clients
So, what does a personal injury lawyer do to build a claim or lawsuit? In general, the legal team provides several services to establish key points of your case and reach a settlement or verdict.
With accident injury cases, a law firm will offer:
- Investigation services: First, they will need to identify who is liable for your neck injury and whether other parties may also hold liability. For example, if you were in an accident with a truck driver, the driver’s employer may be held liable for your damages through vicarious liability. They will also search for information to establish when the accident occurred, whether the accident caused your injuries, and whether the liable party caused the accident.
- Evidence collection services: Your lawyer can request and collect evidence to support your case, which may include video footage, photos, witness testimony, document records, and expert analysis.
- Administrative services: As mentioned, your legal team can fill out paperwork on your behalf. However, they also typically handle other administrative tasks, which may include scheduling court hearing dates, responding to messages from inquiring parties, and coordinating negotiation meetings with the other party.
- Negotiation services: Your injury lawyer can attend negotiation meetings as your advocate and present your case to the insurance adjuster. If you receive a settlement offer, they can advise you on how fair the offer is, which your team will calculate beforehand. If you do not agree to the offer, they will continue negotiating or advise you to file a lawsuit.
- Legal representation services: If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will then present your case to a judge and jury and petition on your behalf. A trial can be long and arduous, so your lawyer will guide you through this process.
If you have other questions about our services, a representative with the law firm can answer them during your free consultation.
Know your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases
You must submit your personal injury case within your state’s statute of limitations, which is a legal deadline that determines whether your case will be heard in court. Each state sets different laws on how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit, so you should consult with your lawyer to identify your case’s legal deadline.
Keep in mind that certain areas of law may have separate statutes from the general statute of limitations, such as cases involving:
- Actions against medical professionals or parties
- Actions against the government or municipality
- Actions involving minors
- Actions involving wrongful death
Your team will review which laws may apply to your case and take appropriate measures to submit your case on time.
Understand that your rights as an accident victim allow you to file a case
Personal injury cases revolve around negligence rules, which assert that a negligent party is liable for a victim’s injury and subsequent damages.
The plaintiff generally has to establish how the opposing party’s negligence caused the accident by illustrating:
- Duty of care: The defendant had a duty of care to not cause harm to others. An example would include a driver who has a duty of care to follow traffic laws and avoid causing an accident on the road.
- Breach of duty of care: However, the defendant’s actions or inactions breached their duty of care, putting the plaintiff and potentially others at risk for harm. Continuing our example, the driver was texting while driving and was not paying attention to the road as it approached an intersection.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach caused the accident. With our example, the driver hit the plaintiff, a pedestrian in the crosswalk, and could not stop in time because they were distracted.
- Damages: The accident led to the plaintiff’s damages. In our example, this could be about the plaintiff’s neck injury after being hit by the car and falling onto the ground, as well as other damages they list.
Your lawyer will provide evidence to support each element of your argument.
Comparative and contributory negligence
Depending on the state, there may be additional comparative or contributory negligence rules, which determine whether a plaintiff can receive compensation even if they were partially negligent in the accident that harmed them.
- Comparative negligence allows plaintiffs to collect compensation even if they were partially at fault but at a reduced amount, generally by the percentage of fault assigned to them.
- Contributory negligence forbids plaintiffs from collecting any compensation even if they are only one percent at fault.
Consider legal representation in your neck injury case
If you or someone you love suffered a neck injury in an automobile accident, a slip and fall accident, or some other type of event, a personal injury attorney can review your case and see how they may be able to represent you. A personal injury attorney will manage their clients’ cases from start to finish, and they will update you as your case progresses through the claims or litigation system.
Plus, our St. Louis personal injury law firms offer a free consultation with one of their team members. They can review your case and see if you qualify to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132