What is the normal settlement for a minor back injury after a car accident?

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Question:

What is the normal settlement for a minor back injury after a car accident?

Answer:

There’s no standard or “normal” settlement in terms of the kind of dollar amount you can expect to receive if you’ve suffered minor back injuries after a car accident. But there are a few key factors to consider, and the first is whether you live in one of the handful of states that follow a “no fault” system when it comes to car insurance.

If you do live in a no fault car insurance state, your settlement will almost certainly be limited to your economic losses, meaning the amount of your medical treatment and your lost income, up to a certain threshold. You can’t usually get compensation for non-economic damages (such as “pain and suffering”) in a no-fault state.   

But regardless of where you live, your settlement should include fair compensation for all of your calculable losses stemming from the accident. If you’ve suffered even the most minor of back injuries, make sure that all of your treating health care professionals agree that you have reached maximum recovery, and be certain also that any necessary future medical treatment is covered as part of the settlement.

In “fault” states, usually, even when injuries are relatively minor, a final settlement after a car accident will include a “pain and suffering” or “inconvenience” component, meaning you’ll get some amount of compensation for non-economic losses. For example, you might receive $1,500 to cover vehicle damage, $3,000 to compensate for medical treatment made necessary by the accident, and another $5,000 for “pain and suffering” -- meaning the physical pain, discomfort, stress, anxiety, loss of sleep, and overall annoyance that comes from being injured and needing to undergo medical treatment.  But remember, if you’re in one of the dozen or so “no fault” states, pain and suffering damages aren’t going to be part of the settlement picture.

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