As an accident victim, you may be wondering how much compensation you can expect to receive for soft tissue injuries like whiplash sustained in a car crash. While each case is different and there are many factors that determine the settlement amount, you can anticipate receiving a fair settlement to cover costs like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.
The good news is that most soft tissue injury claims are settled out of court. Insurance companies are often willing to offer a reasonable settlement to avoid a lengthy legal process. However, it is still in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine an appropriate settlement amount based on the details of your accident and injury. An experienced lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and fight for maximum compensation.
Though treatment for soft tissue injuries is typically non-surgical, the recovery process can be painful and limit your mobility and quality of life for weeks or months. A fair settlement amount should account for this hardship in addition to direct economic losses. With the help of a reputable personal injury firm, you have the opportunity to obtain a settlement that will allow you to move on from this difficult experience. While no amount of money can undo the trauma of a car accident, a just settlement can provide a sense of closure and financial security.
What Are Soft Tissue Injuries?
Soft tissue injuries refer to damage of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body from an accident or injury. In a car accident, the rapid acceleration and deceleration, as well as the impact, can strain and sprain these tissues. Common soft tissue injuries from car accidents include:
• Whiplash: Damage to the neck from the head rapidly moving back and forth. This can cause pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion in the neck.
• Muscle strains: Overstretching or tearing of muscles in the back, shoulders or legs. This leads to pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected area.
• Tendon sprains: Stretching or tearing of tendons connecting muscles to bones. Sprains cause pain, instability, and loss of strength in the joint.
The severity of these soft tissue injuries determines the settlement amount. Minor strains may resolve within a few months and warrant a smaller settlement. Severe sprains that require physical therapy, medication, bracing or even surgery typically result in higher settlements, especially if there are long-lasting effects.
The insurance company will evaluate medical records, bills, photos, and other evidence to determine a fair settlement offer. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help maximize your settlement, especially for severe, complex injuries.
Factors That Determine Your Settlement Amount
The amount of compensation you receive for a soft tissue injury car accident will depend on several factors.
The severity of your injuries is one of the most important determinants. More serious soft tissue injuries, such as severe whiplash that causes ongoing pain, radiculopathy, or muscle tears, typically result in higher settlements than minor strains or spasms. The length of your recovery and any permanent impairment or disability will also be considered.
Your medical expenses and lost wages are taken into account. The more costs you have incurred due to doctor visits, physical therapy, medication, and time off work, the higher your settlement is likely to be.
The circumstances of the accident itself play a role as well. If the other driver was clearly at fault, especially due to reckless or negligent behavior, you have a stronger case. The insurance companies for the at-fault party will usually offer a fairer settlement in these situations.
Your location can also affect your settlement amount. Compensation for the same soft tissue injuries may differ between states and counties based on the typical costs of living and healthcare in those areas.
By thoroughly documenting your injuries, expenses, lost work time and the details of the accident, you can build a compelling case to recover fair compensation for your soft tissue injury. While settlement amounts vary widely based on the unique factors in each claim, understanding what influences the final figure can help set reasonable expectations. With patience and persistence, you can achieve just recovery for your losses.
How Insurance Companies Calculate Settlements
Insurance companies determine settlement amounts for soft tissue injuries based on several factors.
The total cost of medical care directly related to the accident, including emergency room visits, physical therapy, medication, etc. Insurance companies will review all medical invoices and records to verify expenses before including in a settlement calculation.
The number of days missed from work due to injury and recovery. Lost wages are calculated based on the claimant's average daily pay and the total number of days unable to work. Some policies provide coverage for potential lost future earnings as well.
Pain and Suffering
Insurance adjusters evaluate the severity of the injury and the amount of pain and distress experienced. More serious soft tissue damage like severe whiplash, back strains or injuries requiring surgery typically merit higher settlements. Insurance companies may also consider the location of the injury and likelihood of permanent effects or disability.
Liability and Fault
The degree of liability or fault of each driver involved in the accident also impacts settlement amounts. If the other driver was completely at fault, the claimant may receive a higher settlement. Comparative negligence states reduce settlements based on the percentage of fault attributed to each driver.
\n\nBy evaluating these key factors, insurance companies aim to determine a fair settlement amount for soft tissue injuries and other damages sustained in an auto accident. Settlement offers may start on the lower end, so claimants should provide as much documentation as possible to support a higher counteroffer and negotiate the best possible agreement.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
Of course, each case is different, and many other factors determine the settlement amount, such as:
•Severity and duration of injuries. More severe or permanent injuries warrant higher settlements.
•Amount of medical bills and lost wages. Higher bills and lost income are more likely to drive settlement amounts up.
•Fault and liability. Clear liability against the other driver, especially in rear-end collisions, often yields higher settlements. Shared fault may reduce settlement amounts.
•Location. Settlement amounts tend to be higher in locations where the cost of living and healthcare are greater.
•Experience of attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney skilled in negotiating with insurance companies will often get higher settlement amounts for clients.
So while these amounts provide a general range, the settlement you may receive depends entirely on the specifics of your unique accident and injuries. Consult with a personal injury attorney to determine a reasonable settlement estimate for your soft tissue injury case.
Tips to Get the Most From Your Car Accident Settlement
To maximize your settlement for a soft tissue injury claim, keep these tips in mind:
Keep records of all medical expenses, lost wages, and the impact your injuries have had on your daily activities. Meticulously document doctors’ visits, physical therapy appointments, medication costs, and any other expenses related to your recovery. Maintaining organized records will help substantiate your claim for damages.
Get Proper Medical Care
Seeking prompt medical attention and following your doctor’s recommended treatment plan is critical. Continuous medical care from the time of the accident until you reach maximum medical improvement will provide the evidence needed to prove the severity and impact of your injuries. Failing to get proper treatment can weaken your case and reduce your settlement amount.
Consult With A Personal Injury Attorney
An experienced attorney understands the nuances of soft tissue injury claims and can help determine a fair settlement amount based on the details of your case. They will handle negotiations with insurance companies and represent you in court if a settlement cannot be reached. Legal counsel also ensures that you do not accept an offer that is less than the full value of your claim.
Be Flexible In Negotiations
While you want to aim for the maximum amount, remain open to reasonable counteroffers. Compromise and willingness to negotiate in good faith can help finalize a settlement more quickly. An extended legal battle, even if resulting in a marginally higher amount, may not outweigh the additional time, stress, and expense.
Consider Your Life Post-Settlement
A fair settlement should account for any ongoing medical costs or lost earning capacity related to your injuries. Make sure the final amount will adequately provide for your needs once the case has concluded. Though no amount of money can undo the harm caused, just compensation can help you move forward in your recovery process.
Call Fletcher Law For Help With Your Car Accident Case
If you were injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and whiplash, can be painful and debilitating. They may require medical treatment like physical therapy, chiropractic care, or medication to heal properly.
To determine how much your soft tissue injury claim may be worth, an attorney will evaluate factors like:
- The severity of your injuries and prognosis for recovery. More severe injuries that require extended treatment and rehabilitation will increase the value.
- Medical expenses incurred, including costs of diagnosis, treatment, medication, physical therapy, and other care. Higher costs indicate the seriousness of the injuries.
- Lost wages from time off work. If your injuries prevented you from working for a period of time, you may be compensated for the income lost during recovery.
- Pain and suffering. Car accident victims are entitled to damages for the physical and emotional pain resulting from the injuries. More severe, prolonged pain will yield higher damages.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. If your injuries have prevented you from engaging in hobbies, social activities, sports, intimacy, or other pleasures, you may receive additional damages.
- Permanency of injuries. Injuries that cause permanent impairment or limitation increase the settlement amount.
To pursue the maximum compensation you deserve, discuss your case with a personal injury attorney at Fletcher Law. We have successfully represented countless car accident victims and secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Call us today for a free consultation. We will evaluate your claim, determine its value, and fight to get you the money you need to move on from your accident.