How Much Does Insurance Pay For a Neck Injury in a Car Accident?

After a car accident, most people want to get back on their feet and to their regular routines as quickly as possible. But when you’re facing a severe injury, returning to the life you had before the accident becomes challenging. Neck injuries are some of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents. Neck injuries and whiplash are most likely to occur after a rear-end accident. They can also be some of the most costly and often require the most extensive recuperation period.

Because there are so many elements to each personal injury claim, creating an exact formula for how much an insurance company will pay for a neck injury claim after a car accident is complicated. There are, however, specifics to each injury claim and how settlements are decided. Our best car accident lawyers in San Jose consider those elements surrounding personal injury settlements involving neck injuries of differing severity to establish some perspective.

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man holding the back of his neck with his spine highlighted

How is a Neck Injury Claim Valued in the Bay Area?

Valuing your injury claim after a car accident involves assessing how much the jury will likely award you (the plaintiff) for your injury should your case go to trial.

It also involves estimating:

  • How much the insurance company (the defendant) is willing to pay
  • How much you’re willing to settle for in order to close the case before trial

The most significant factors in valuing your neck injury case include the severity of your injury and how likely the jury is to find the defendant responsible for causing them.

Severity of the Neck Injury

The severity of a neck injury can range from minor sprains and whiplash to neck fractures that require surgery. The more significant the damage and the longer the recovery time, the higher the value in a jury verdict or insurance settlement. If you suffer a “hard” injury, like a cervical fracture, you’ll be awarded more than you would for a soft tissue injury, like a pinched nerve or whiplash.

woman with neck pain after car accident
Doctor examining patient suffering from whiplash's neck and brace after a car accident

Cost of Medical Treatments

The cost of medical treatment that your injury requires is one of the most significant and concrete factors that insurance companies consider in valuing your claim. A neck injury that requires a spinal fusion or other surgery will be awarded a higher amount of compensation than a sprained neck that requires a brace. Most insurance adjusters will view your injuries as more severe if your injuries are treated by a physician rather than a chiropractor or physical therapist.

How Are Damages Assessed in My Neck Injury Claim?

Assessing how much your injury claim will be awarded isn’t easy. If your case goes to trial, a jury usually decides how much the insurance company will have to pay in damages for your injury, so it depends on the jury. There are two primary types of damages involved in California’s injury claims: economic and noneconomic.

Toy cars demonstrating an accident on a background of 100 dollar bills

Economic Damages

All costs tied to your injury after the accident are considered to be economic damages. Expenses that can be documented, like medical bills, lost income, and future medical treatments, are all considered in economic losses. These amounts are objective and the more straightforward of the two types to prove.

Noneconomic Damages

More subjective losses that are harder to estimate, like pain and suffering, are considered noneconomic damages. Predictions of future losses that your neck injury will cause are often based on past awards in neck injury cases that were similar in nature. Every trial and jury is different, so even with expert opinions, an estimation of future suffering and loss of quality of life is difficult to determine.

Bear in mind that if you had any previous neck injuries before the accident occurred, the awarded damages would likely be reduced because the defendant’s acts didn’t entirely cause your injury and pain.

woman on a couch with a headache from a concussion and hand on her forehead

Establishing Fault is Key After a Car Accident in the Bay Area

A notable factor in how much an insurance company will pay is how likely a jury will find the defendant liable for causing the accident. If you have very little evidence supporting your claim that the other party’s negligence caused the car accident that induced your neck injury, the value of your claim drops dramatically. Gathering proof can significantly help your case in proving the other driver was responsible. That kind of proof can include:

  • A police report
  • Photos from the accident
  • Eye-witness testimonies

Even if your injuries are severe and the damages are great, if you have little to no proof – a defendant will be less willing to settle and be more prone to take the case to trial. Likewise, you might be more willing to accept low compensation because you run the risk of getting nothing when you have little proof to show in a trial.

Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in San Jose

The best way to learn how much an insurance company will likely pay for your neck injury after a car accident is to speak with a personal injury lawyer with experience and knowledge about these cases.

The Barnes Firm is committed to helping car accident victims get the maximum compensation they’re owed. Our best car accident lawyers in San Jose have extensive experience with personal injury law. They have helped clients obtain millions of dollars in compensation for injury settlements and verdicts. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced injury attorneys, complete an online contact form or call our office today.

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