How much should I get after a car accident resulted in me having neck surgery?

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Question:

How much should I get for a personal injury claim after a car accident that resulted in me having neck surgery?

Answer:

It’s understandable that, after someone has been injured in a car accident, one of the first things they want to know is how much compensation they’re entitled to receive -- whether in a settlement with an insurance company or in a personal injury lawsuit. But the reality is that every case is unique, and there are far too many variables in play for us to offer any kind of accurate prediction.

The first thing to know about any injury claim is that you need to have a firm understanding of your “damages,” which means the cost of the accident both from a monetary standpoint and in terms of the impact it has had on your life.

If you’ve had neck surgery because of injuries suffered in a car accident, you’ve likely got pretty significant damages, so the amount of compensation you end up with could also be significant. (Learn more about neck injuries after a car accident.)  

On one hand, there are the out-of-pocket costs (medical bills, lost income, etc.) associated with the accident and your injuries, and on the other hand there is the more subjective “non-economic damages” component, which includes compensation for things like pain and suffering, inconvenience, stress, and the impact that the accident and your injuries have had on your ability to enjoy your life and your relationships with others. All of these things need to be accounted for in any resolution to your injury claim, whether you accept an out-of-court settlement or take your case all the way to a civil trial after filing a lawsuit.

Your compensation may look a little different if you live in one of the dozen or so “no fault” car insurance states. Under “no fault” rules, the amount you can receive after a car accident will be limited to payment of your medical bills and reimbursement for lost income, up to a certain amount. Unless you can show that your case meets certain “serious injury” thresholds, you won’t be able to recover for pain and suffering (or any other kind of non-economic damages) in a no-fault state.

Other factors will determine the final value of your case too, including whether or not fault for the accident is at issue, the amount of insurance coverage carried by the at-fault driver, and the extent of damage to your vehicle.        

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