To determine how much a back injury is worth in an accident case, a personal injury attorney must review medical records, speak with healthcare professionals, and consider every type of harm that the back injury causes.
Determining a back injury’s cost involves far more than a simple calculation. In fact, an attorney may need to conduct a complex investigation to project the future cost of your damages. The difficult nature of back injury cases is one reason injured people often hire personal injury lawyers in Chicago to represent them.
Potential Symptoms and Consequences of a Back Injury
The back injury symptoms you experience will depend on the nature and severity of your specific injury. Back injury symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating and may include:
Pain is a common symptom of back injuries, from dislocated vertebrae to muscle strains. Pain may be dull or acute and can come and go or affect you more consistently. The location of the pain will depend on the nature and location of the injury.
In addition to pain, you may experience stiffness that limits your range of motion. Pain and stiffness can significantly alter your quality of life, daily routine, ability to work, and virtually every aspect of your day-to-day existence.
Back injuries that cause nerve damage may result in:
- Loss of feeling in certain body parts, possibly including hands and feet
- Numbness that comes and goes
- Nerve pain
- Other changes in sensation in affected body parts
These kinds of symptoms can lead to further injury. For example, if you lack full sensation in your hands, you may suffer burns because you cannot adequately gauge the heat of objects you touch.
Loss of Muscular Control and Coordination
Certain back injuries cause muscle weakness and numbness, which can affect your coordination.
In the most severe cases, back injuries cause paralysis. This generally occurs when nerves in the spinal cord are severed or damaged in other severe ways.
Paralysis may mean you cannot:
- Move body parts affected by the nerve damage
- Control urination and bowel function
- Control muscle spasms, pain, and other symptoms that cause immense distress
Back injuries aren't just physical injuries.
Countless back injury victims suffer from:
- Lost quality of life
- Other severe psychological and emotional symptoms
Injuries that cause recurring pain, heal slowly, or result in paralysis may leave you in distress. Your personal injury lawyer will work with experts to identify your physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms.
Types of Accidents That Cause Back Injuries
Personal injury lawyers represent clients who have suffered back injuries in:
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common cases personal injury lawyers handle, and countless accident victims pursue compensation for back injuries.
Auto accidents that cause back injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
When vehicles collide, roll over, or stop suddenly, the unnatural force on the occupant can result in one or more back injuries.
You can suffer serious back injuries if a car hits you while walking. Whether you are crossing at a crosswalk or walking through the grocery store parking lot to your car, a vehicle-pedestrian collision can result in severe trauma to your body, including your back and all its moving parts.
Certain falls can cause back injuries, including:
- Slip and falls
- Trip and falls
- Falls from heights
Falls can happen anywhere, but work sites, nursing homes, and businesses with heavy foot traffic may pose an outsized risk of falls.
Intentional physical violence can result in back injuries. Anyone who assaulted you may face criminal charges for the harm they’ve caused you. Regardless of any criminal proceedings, you can seek compensation from the liable party who physically injured you.
The physical toll of a boat accident can leave victims with severe back injuries. Boats lack certain protections that motor vehicles do, including seatbelts, enclosures, and airbags. Therefore, when a boat strikes another boat, runs aground, or the driver operates the vessel erratically, there is a significant possibility of injury.
Animal attacks, including dog bites, can cause wounds directly to the back or may cause a victim to fall and suffer back injuries.
These are just a few examples of circumstances that can cause back injuries. If you suffered a back injury in any other circumstances for which someone else is responsible, a lawyer can help you seek fair compensation.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Seek Compensation for a Back Injury?
It's your decision whether to hire a personal injury lawyer after suffering a back injury. As you decide, you should know the potential benefits of hiring an attorney. Those with back injuries hire personal injury lawyers because:
Back Injuries Require Medical Attention
Those suffering from back injuries may:
- Have obligations to see doctors and receive medical treatment
- Be required by their doctor to rest and avoid stress on their back
- Need mental health treatment for the circumstances surrounding their back injury
- Be physically and psychologically drained due to the injury
Your health should be your priority right now. If you were to handle your own insurance claim or lawsuit, you’d have to commit significant time, effort, and attention to the fight for compensation.
If you hire a lawyer, you can continue to prioritize your health as your attorney handles the claim or lawsuit for you.
Lawyers Offer Experience and Knowledge That You May Not Have
Law firms that handle back injury cases handle claims and lawsuits daily. This gives a lawyer a level of experience that you likely do not have.
Additionally, lawyers understand the various laws and rules that govern insurance claims and lawsuits. Rather than learning these laws and rules for yourself, you can simply rely on a lawyer’s existing knowledge.
Law Firms Cover the Cost of Back Injury Cases
Personal injury lawyers generally offer contingency fees.
This fee structure means that:
- You won’t pay anything upfront to hire the law firm
- The law firm will pay filing fees, expert fees, administrative costs, and all other expenses related to your case
- The law firm generally receives a reasonable percentage of any financial recovery it secures for you (including any settlement or verdict)
- The law firm receives a fee only if they win your case
This fee structure ensures that a law firm can represent anyone regardless of their financial means. Furthermore, the law firm has a strong financial incentive to secure the client as much money as possible. The more money the law firm secures, the larger its share of the winnings becomes.
You May Recover Significant Compensation for Your Back Injury
Back injuries sometimes require surgery, long-term medical care, and rehabilitation. These injuries can also cause immense pain and suffering. Such costly economic and non-economic damages can translate into a large settlement value.
When significant compensation is at stake, many prefer to have a proven professional leading their case.
What Compensation Should Someone With a Back Injury Recover?
Each individual with a back injury has unique damages. Lawyers speak with clients, consult experts, and conduct case-by-case investigations to identify their clients' damages. Some possible damages in your back injury case include:
Pain and Suffering
Back injuries can throw one's life into disarray, causing pain and suffering, including:
- Acute pain
- Chronic pain
- Lost quality of life
- Sleep problems
In some cases, including auto accident cases, plaintiffs may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other diagnosable conditions.
These are technically non-economic damages, but your attorney will determine their financial cost.
Lost Income, Lost Earning Power, and Other Professional Damages
A back injury will prevent many people from working, even just temporarily.
If you miss any time from work because of your back injury, you may recover compensation for:
- Lost income
- Diminished earning power
- Missed bonuses and promotions
- Lost benefits
You may also deserve compensation if you receive psychological benefits from working and you lose those benefits because of a back injury.
Medical expenses related to a back injury may result from ambulance transport, diagnostic imaging, surgery, medications, doctor visits, and any other medical services you receive.
Those with disabling injuries, including spinal cord injuries, may also need medical equipment, disability-related updates to their home, a new vehicle, and in-home care.
Other Damages Unique to Each Case
You may have additional damages related to the circumstances in which your back injury happened. For example, someone who suffers a back injury in a truck accident may need compensation to replace their vehicle.
Your lawyers will account for current and future damages while fighting for your financial recovery.
What Does a Back Injury Lawyer Do for Their Clients?
An attorney pursues compensation covering all of their client's injury-related losses and works toward this mission by:
- Managing the day-to-day duties of the case: From filing paperwork to leading communications, a lawyer will ensure that the case moves forward efficiently.
- Securing evidence as the foundation of the claim or lawsuit: Your lawyer won't delay gathering evidence to support your case. Your compensation case may only be as strong as the evidence your lawyer gathers.
- Documenting the client’s damages: Documentation proves exactly which damages you suffered because of your back injury. Medical bills, past income statements, and expert testimony may all be essential forms of documentation.
- Leading settlement negotiations: In addition to counseling and protecting you, your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf. When seeking a lawyer, review past case results to see how the firm has successfully negotiated for its clients.
- Completing a trial, if necessary: If settlement negotiations don’t lead to a fair offer, your lawyer may take your case to the courtroom.
Your lawyer will represent you from the moment you hire them to the end of your case.
Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Your case likely has a filing deadline, so don’t wait to retain a personal injury lawyer. Research attorneys in your area and take advantage of free consultations, which most firms offer.