I wrote a separate article on Back Injury Claims for Slip and Falls in Florida and on Cruises. Here, I concentrate on back injury claims from Florida auto accidents, truck wrecks and motorcycle crashes.
Your back is composed of muscles, bones and other tissues that go from your neck to your pelvis.
Back injuries can be caused by a sudden impact like a car accident, sports injuries, or doing work in your garden or home.
If your making a personal injury claim for your back injury, expect the insurance company for the responsible party to argue that your back pain wasn’t caused your accident.
Expect them to argue that your back injury was caused by you doing something as simple as work around your house or garden, or a sports injury. This defense can make a back injury case tougher for the claimant.
Some typical back injuries are:
- Strains and sprains
- Herniated Disks
- Fractured vertebrae (e.g. Compression fracture)
- Soft tissue (muscle) injuries
- Paraplegia (Paraplegia describes complete or incomplete paralysis affecting the legs and possibly also the trunk, but not the arms.)
These back injuries can cause pain and restrict your movement. The pain that you describe to your doctor will be noted in your medical records. All things equal:
- a greater pain level equals a higher full value of your case for settlement purposes
- more limited movement results in a higher full value of your case
Treatment for back injuries include medicine, icing, bed rest, physical therapy, or surgery.
As the length of your treatment increases, so does the full value of your case for settlement purposes. Surgery greatly increases the full value of your case for settlement purposes.
The insurance company may argue that your back injury isn’t related to the accident and that you may have been able to prevent it by keeping a healthy weight. They will argue that maintaining a healthy weight minimizes stress on your back.
In this article, I concentrate on talking about the pain and suffering settlement value for lower back pain for a bulging disc, herniated disc, or injury to the muscles in your back.
This article applies if you have a Florida personal injury case. Some of this article does not apply if you only have a workers compensation claim. However, this article does apply if you are hurt while working and you also have a personal injury claim.
If you just want to learn about the settlement value of spine pain and you are not concerned whether it is in your lower back, mid back or upper back, you can learn about:
- Settlement values in Florida for a bulging disc in the back or neck
- Settlement values in Florida for a herniated disc in the back or neck
The best way to talk about how much a back injury caused by an accident may be worth is to give past examples of back injury settlements.
The insurance company may also argue that your job was the cause of your back pain and not the accident.
The insurance company will argue that many jobs, such as nursing, construction or factory work, can put huge demands on your back. You should argue, if true, that you didn’t have back pain before the incident.
If you did have back pain before the accident, you should argue that the accident aggravated it.
Lower back Pain Settlements and Verdicts (Just a few of my cases)
Rather than list below all the settlements that I have had involving a lower back injury, I have tried to include those in which the main injury is a lower back injury. All settlement amounts for my actual cases below are before attorney’s fees, costs and medical bills were deducted.
My actual case: $150,000 Settlement for a lumbar fusion from a Miami car crash.
My actual case: $100,000 Settlement with GEICO insurance for the driver of motorcycle – who was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his lower back pain, a possible meniscus tear and erectile dysfunction (ED) – after he was hit by a car.
The at-fault driver was insured with GEICO.
My actual case: $95,000 Settlement with GEICO insurance for the driver of car who was hit by a drunk driver.
The at-fault driver was insured with GEICO. I represented the driver who claimed herniated disc was caused by accident but did not have surgery.
My actual case: $57,000 Settlement on behalf of a police officer who was suffered back injury, while he was on duty, when he was rear ended in a car accident in Medley, Florida (North Miami-Dade County).
The driver who caused the accident received a ticket for following too closely. , State Farm Insurance insured the at fault driver.
State Farm paid us the $10,000 BI liability limits. My client suffered a bulging disc. He was a candidate for a lumbar laminectomy.
He had epidural shots to his lower back but did not have back surgery.
At the time of the settlement with the Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurer, Travelers Insurance Company (Travco), workers compensation for the police department paid over $17,000 in indemnity (lost wages) and medical benefits.
My thoughts: I have said before that as a starting point for evaluating the settlement value of pain and suffering from a bulging disc caused by someone else in Florida is between $10,000 and $15,000.
My client had epidurals, which generally increase a case value.
My actual case: $29,700 Settlement in a car accident. A driver struck a car within which our client was a passenger.
It happened in Miami, Florida. Nationwide Insurance insured the careless driver.
He treated with chiropractors for over a year before having an MRI on his back. An MRI revealed a herniated disc effacing (pressing on) the spinal cord.
My client lived in California. This client is one of the numerous clients that I have represented that did not live in Florida but was injured while in Florida.
State Farm paid us the $25,000 BI policy limits. Location of Accident: Miami, Florida. Date of Settlement: January, 2014
My actual case: $16,500 Settlement. My client was driving a car. He claimed that the accident caused a herniated disc in his neck.
It occurred in Kendall, Miami-Dade County, Florida. GEICO insured the careless driver.
Passenger Gets $14,000 for Back and Other Injuries from Rollover Crash
A passenger was in an SUV being driven near West Miami and Coral Gables. A pickup truck driver crashed into him.
The impact send her car into a street light. It then rolled over.
He claimed that the accident caused his back and neck pain. Progressive paid $15,000 to settle this case.
I represented the passenger.
My actual case: $10,000 Settlement. My client was in a car crash with a hit and run driver.
My client was hurt. She took an ambulance to the hospital.
Prior to the car crash, she was disabled. She had pain in the following areas:
She went to a chiropractor, who she had treated with before the accident. He diagnosed her with a lumbar radiculitis along with a lumbar strain and sprain.
Radiculitis is describes the neurological symptoms felt as a nerve is pinched, compressed, irritated, or inflamed. Radiculitis most commonly occurs in the lower back or the neck.
The chiropractor also diagnosed her with a neck sprain, a mid-back sprain, a wrist sprain and muscle spasm.
American Vehicle Insurance Company was her uninsured motorist (UM) insurer. I reported a UM claim to her insurance company. They eventually paid the $10,000 limits to settle the case.
American Vehicle Insurance Company changed its name to Federated National Insurance. Federated is based in Sunrise, Florida.
In addition to insuring automobiles in Florida, Federated National is also a big Florida homeowners insurer.
My actual case: $8,000 Settlement. Our client was standing in a car dealership parking lot in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
A minivan backed up. It hit him at an idle speed.
Our client’s knees buckled and he fell to the ground. He complained of lower back pain.
A few months prior to this accident, he had knee surgery. Immediately after this accident, he complained of knee pain. He did not have any swelling in his knee.
Miami-Dade Fire rescue came to the scene. Our client walked to the ambulance stretcher. He was put on a backboard.
The paramedics put a neck collar on our client. They transported him to Homestead Hospital.
State Farm Insurance insured the driver.
The driver said that he barely hit our client. He said that if contact was made, it was at a very low-speed.
Our client received therapy for several months after the accident. The final diagnosis was:
- Lumbar sprain/strain
- Cervical sprain/strain (Resolved).
- Sprain/strain of the knee
- Contusion to the knee
- Residual Lumbalgia
- Knee injury complicated by prior injury and surgery
- Patellar Dysfunction
My actual case: $7,500 Settlement for my client, who was in a car. A hit and run driver hit his car and fled the scene.
About 1 month later, he had an MRI of the cervical spine. It showed a C5-C6 paracentral disk protrusion, moderate in size, compressing upon the thecal sac.
He treated for four months from the date of the accident. At the end of his treatment, the diagnosis was a lumbar strain.
A lumbar strain is a lower back strain.
I argued to the insurance company that punitive damages would be awarded since the negligent driver fled the accident scene. An injured victim may be able to get punitive damages if the car that hits him or her leaves the accident scene.
The careless driver was insured with Metlife.
Below are some verdicts in Florida where the victim claimed lower back pain.
$539,850.00 Verdict against GEICO insureds for Back Sprain/Strain and Other Injuries from DUI Car Crash
See a case where a driver was awarded $539,850 after a DUI driver hit her. Her attorney said that the doctor’s report said that she had:
- chronic post traumatic lumbar sprain/strain
- chronic post traumatic sciatica.
Her main injury was neck surgery.
Actual Case (Not Mine): $536,700 verdict for pain and suffering along for a female nurse who had 2 herniations in her lower back (L4-L5 and L5-S1) from a motor vehicle accident in Duval County, Florida. The entire verdict was for over $1.1 Million dollars.
Actual Case (Not Mine): $210,000 for pain and suffering by a Palm Beach County, Florida jury. The injured man had a herniated disc in his lower back. It was at the L4-L5 level.
He also had a spinal cord bruise (contusion), erectile dysfunction. He also had another herniation at the C6-C7 level, which is in the neck.
Another car was at fault in this head-on car wreck. The jury awarded him $231,000 for his medical expenses, both past and future.
Allstate appealed this verdict. Her husband made a loss of consortium claim, but the jury rejected it.
The case was Allstate Insurance Company v. Marotta, 125 So. 3d 956 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2013. Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal (DCA) issued an opinion in 2013.
Florida’s 4th DCA handles appeals from Palm Beach, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties. The 4th DCA is located in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Actual Case (not my case): $16.5 Million for pain and suffering was affirmed (approved) by the 4th District Court of Appeal for a 20 year old man who was rendered paraplegic after he was hit by a motor vehicle while he was on a motorcycle.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.