National Summary of Back Injury Awards in Car Accident Cases

Overview and Statistics

After suffering a back injury in a car accident, victims often wonder what they can recover and what they need to do next. They often come to us and ask, “What is my car accident case worth?” We have handled many car accident cases and the most important thing to remember is that every case is different-facts drive recovery. Some things to keep track of though include the nature and cost of any medical problems from the incident, any property damage resulting from the crash, and any lost income or investments due to the collision. The legal system is meant to compensate you after an injury so that you are in roughly the same position as you were before it. Thus, identifying exactly how much the car accident impacted your life is crucial in determining possible recovery and answering the question how much your car accident case is worth. Below, we provide statistics on plaintiffs’ recoveries with neck injuries from car accidents over the last 20 years (since 1994). It should give you a general sense of what compensation is possible but you should speak with a qualified attorney today to hear more about possible recovery!

Plaintiffs' Recovery in Car Accidents Involving Back Injuries 1994-2014
Amount Recovered
$0
$1-$49,999
$50,000-$99,999
$100,000-$199,999
$200,000-$499,999
$500,000-$999,999
$1,000,000-$1,999,999
$2,000,000-5,000,000
>$5,000,000
Percentage of Cases
30%
42%
7%
6%
7%
3%
2%
2%
1%

STATE FREQUENCY OF CAR ACCIDENTS CASES INVOLVING BACK INJURIES AS PERCENTAGE OF THE NATIONAL TOTAL 1994-2014 (Rounded to hundredths)

National Back Injury Awards and Settlements

Here are some major takeaways from accident cases involving back injuries around the country:

  • Nationally, victims of back injuries fare the worst in obtaining recoveries over $5 million, most other injuries fetch these sums four or five times more than them!
  • At 72%, the combined percentage of those who recovered nothing or a sum under $50,000 was one of the largest across all categories of injuries.
  • The most common states for back injury litigation in car accidents were California, Florida, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Washington.
  • The median recovery was approximately $45,000 and the average was around a quarter million dollars.
Case Summaries and Highlights

Below we have listed some case summaries to give you an indication of why some plaintiffs were more successful than others in obtaining recovery:

CASE NAME: TIRONDOLA v. N.J. TRANSIT.

STATE: NEW JERSEY

RECOVERY: $1,300,000 JURY AWARD

SUMMARY:

The plaintiff in this case was rear-ended by a bus. His car was sent flying into a pole nearly fifty feet away from the original crash site. He suffered a severe spinal injury in the lumbar region of his vertebrae. Prior to the incident, he ran his own business and was a homebuilder. Despite successive surgeries, the crash left him unable to continue working because he could bend over or perform manual labor required in his position. Also, he experienced trauma after his children witnessed him falling and crawl for help after one of the operations. The defendant transit company denied liability and the extent of his damages. The jury returned a verdict in his favor of $1,300,000.

CASE NAME: LAWRENCE v. TRUGREEN LANDCARE

STATE: WASHINGTON

RECOVERY: $1,383,726

SUMMARY:

The plaintiff in this case was driving her children in her car when a truck behind her rear-ended her vehicle. The driver of that truck was working for a landscaping company. Therefore, she sued the company pursuant to a theory of respondeat superior liability for damages including a severe back injury (in the thoracic region of her spine) as well as neck pain and other various injuries. She required several surgeries to correct these problems. The defendant claimed that some of her preexisting injuries might have been the source of her pain and argued that the extent of her damages was more limited that she claimed. Also, the company claimed that she was speeding and thus at least partially responsible for the accident. The case went to trial because both sides could not reach an agreement. The jury found that the defendant’s employee was entirely responsible for the incident and awarded the following verdict.

  • Past and Future Wages:
  • Past and Future Non-Economic Damage:
  • Total:
  • $1,323,726
  • $60,000
  • $1,383,726

CASE NAME: WAGNER v. GRANTHAM

STATE: CALIFORNIA

RECOVERY: $2,900,000

SUMMARY:

The plaintiff in this case was driving on a California highway. There was one car immediately in front of hers and another closely following. She claimed that the car tailing her rear-ended her vehicle that caused her to jump forward and hit the car leading hers. The accident left her with extreme back pain and significant injuries to the lumbar and sacrum sections of her spine, eventually requiring her to have multiple surgeries to fuse portions of her vertebrae together. She sued the driver of the car behind her for negligence, stating that the defendant failed to keep a proper lookout and was driving at a reckless speed. In reply, the defendant argued that the plaintiff actually instigated the incident by hitting the car in the front and that caused her car to hit the plaintiff’s vehicle. The judge split the difference, lowering the jury’s award of $2,900,000 by 55% to account for the plaintiff’s negligence as well.

CASE NAME: GIMBEL v. PESCIA, RUSSO AND GEICO

STATE: FLORIDA

RECOVERY: $5,000,000 SETTLEMENT

SUMMARY:

This case actually involved two separate car accidents spread out across about four months. However, both drivers that collided into the plaintiff were working for the same company, Geico Insurance, at the time of the crashes. Prior to both incidents, the plaintiff from a genetic condition that left a space in his spine. After the accidents, he claimed his spine had shifted, requiring a spinal fusion surgery, and that he now had to walk with a cane, live with constant pain, and stop working as a chiropractor. Further, as a result of the crashes, he also sustained a herniated disk that would require fusion surgery as well. The defendant never denied liability and prior to trial both sides settled for $5,000,000.

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