Visitor Question

Compensation for vertebrae compression fracture from car accident?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Taylorsville, UT)

I was a passenger in a car accident in Washington state on June 5, 2016. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance with severe pain to my back, neck, and chest. I was diagnosed with a vertebrae compression fracture, chest contusion, and whiplash. I was in excruciating pain for weeks. My right shoulder also began hurting badly for which I have received 2 cortisone injections which helped some.

I began physical therapy about 2 weeks after the accident, and continued physical therapy until March 31. Pain from the chest contusion is gone, and my neck is doing pretty good, although a bit stiff. Although the pain in my back is much better than it was, I still have quite a bit of pain. It hurts to lift, sit for long, turn over in bed, etc. My shoulder is also still sore. My Physical therapist said my back is probably as good as it is going to get.

How much compensation should I ask for pain and suffering? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

In a personal injury claim, compensation for pain and suffering is often a product of the extrapolation of a victim’s medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages. While insurance companies rely on sophisticated computer software programs in the analysis of personal injury claims, victims of injury accidents are left to rely on less sophisticated means of arriving at settlement demands.

A substantial number of personal injury victims rely on what is commonly called the “Multiplier Method.” This method relies on an extrapolation of economic losses sustained by the victim. Economic losses can include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (medications, costs of travel to treatment, wheelchairs, slings, etc.), and lost wages. Once combined, the victim can use a multiplier of anywhere from 1.5 to 3x, and even higher.

The correct multiplier will vary from injury claim to injury claim. However, choosing the correct multiplier will afford you a reasonable basis upon which to make your initial settlement demand. The multiplier you choose to rely on can be a product of several factors. Those factors can include the seriousness of your injuries, your prospects for a quick and complete recovery, the impact of your injuries on your day-to-day-life, whether or not the other party was clearly at fault for the underlying accident, and whether or not you are represented by an attorney.

If the majority of treatment is chiropractic or therapeutic, the multiplier will be lower. It is fair to say insurance claims adjusters do not regard chiropractic and therapeutic treatment as highly as they do medical treatment.

The vertebrae compression fracture you sustained is seriousness enough to move the multiplier higher. Because of the serious nature of your injuries, you would be best served by seeking legal representation by an experienced personal injury attorney. Experienced personal injury attorneys are almost always able to obtain settlements much higher than victims are able to negotiate on their own.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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