But to reduce the value of your neck or back injury settlement, insurance companies try to minimize your injury by calling it a soft tissue injury and then argue that your neck or back injury was pre-existing.
We’ll explain why your neck or back injury settlement is worth more, not less, when your injury is aggravated by a pre-existing condition.
What Does a Herniated Disc Causing a Pinched Nerve Look Like?
This photo shows where a bulging disc or herniated disc will press against the nerve, causing a pinched nerve that causes severe pain.
How Insurance Companies Fight Neck and Back Injury Cases
Insurance companies will usually use two or three arguments when negotiating with personal injury lawyers to settle a neck injury case or a back injury case.
- The insurance company will argue that your neck injury is only a soft tissue injury and there is no fracture.
- The insurance company will argue that your neck injury wasn’t caused by the accident because you have a pre-existing condition of arthritis.
- The insurance company will argue that your neck injury was pre-existing and previously injured in a prior accident, even if it was years ago.
Unfortunately, many personal injury lawyers will settle a neck injury case or a back injury case for only a few thousand dollars because they think the insurance company’s argument makes sense.
But the argument makes no sense — Keep reading and see the image below that shows why!
Why is a Pre Existing Neck Injury Settlement Worth a Lot of Money?
Insurance companies make cheap settlement offers because they don’t understand neck and back injuries and because they think everyone is a faker. But we know the truth, and we know neck and back injuries are even worse than you think because they become debilitating over your lifetime.
I know this personally because my stepmother had a car accident 30 years ago. She became homebound five years ago and is now bedridden because of her injuries.
Just watch this video by the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to see why neck and back injuries are so serious and how they can affect you years later.
How Insurance Companies Defend Neck and Back Injury Cases
Insurance companies always try to defend neck and back injury cases by claiming:
- Your neck or back injury is not serious
- Your neck or back injury is age-related degeneration
- Your neck or back injury is a previously existing injury from an earlier accident
But we know that when trauma causes age-related degeneration to become a serious injury or a pre-existing neck injury is later injured again, the injury becomes aggravated and is much worse than it would have been if you didn’t have a previous existing neck injury.
Unfortunately, neck and back injury lawyers forget the first lesson in law school torts class, called the eggshell plaintiff theory. The eggshell plaintiff doctrine says that a negligent defendant takes the victim as he or she finds the victim.
Thus, if a plaintiff has a previous existing neck injury or condition such as arthritis, the negligent defendant is still responsible for the subsequent neck injury.
The eggshell plaintiff rule originated in 1891 in the case of Vosburg v. Putney. Andrew Vosburg, a 14-year-old, was kicked in the shin by George Putney, a 12-year-old, while in a school classroom. Putney wasn’t aware that Vosburg injured his leg in a sledding accident a month before Putney kicked him. Putney’s kick aggravated the previous leg injury resulting in an amputation of the leg.
The court ruled that Putney is liable for all damages caused by the kick, even though he did not intend to cause such a serious injury. The court also found that Putney was unaware of Vosburg’s previous leg injury. The court stated, “The wrongdoer is liable for all the injuries resulting directly from the wrongful act, whether they could or could not have been foreseen by him.” See Vosburg v. Putney, 50 N.W. 403, 404 (Wis. 1891).
We have settled numerous cases in the $1M range for our clients who had both a “soft tissue” injury and a pre-existing condition. See the pre-existing neck injury settlement and pre-existing back injury settlement below.
How Much Is a Neck Injury Settlement Worth?
A neck injury can be worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
$1,000,000 — Pre Existing Neck Injury Settlement
When our client, Catherine B., injured her neck, we demanded the insurance company pay the entire $1,000,000 policy.
Catherine called the trip-and-fall accident lawyers in New York at 1-800-HURT-911® when she injured her neck in a combination of a forklift accident and a trip-and-fall accident when something on a forklift truck hit the back of her leg, causing her to trip and fall.
Like they always do, the insurance company argued that she had a pre-existing neck injury with prior neck surgery from a previous accident ten years earlier and that her pre-existing neck injury simply worsened, having nothing to do with her accident.
But we argued that her pre-existing neck injury and prior neck surgery put her in a worse condition than she would have been, and she needed a new fusion at the same level.
We settled her pre-existing neck injury case with the insurance company for their entire $1,000,000 policy.
How Much Is a Back Injury Settlement Worth?
A back injury can be worth hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
$750,000 — Pre Existing Back Injury Settlement
When our client, Nyda, injured her lower back in a car accident, she called a personal injury lawyer near me in The Bronx, but he didn’t want her case because she had already been seeing an orthopedic surgeon for prior back pain before her car accident.
Nyda then called the neck and back injury lawyers in New York at 1-800-HURT-911®, and we took her case immediately.
The insurance company argued that she had prior medical treatment for pre-existing back pain for 10 years with an orthopedic surgeon and that her last treatment for her prior back injury was only two months before the car accident.
Because of her pre-existing back pain, the insurance company offered $150,000, but at mediation, we settled this previous existing back injury for $750,000.
See Nyda’s video below!
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See how Nyda got a new house! What will you do with your settlement money?
Did a Personal Injury Lawyer Say You Have a Pre-existing Condition?
Other personal injury lawyers don’t like car accident cases when you have a pre-existing condition because the New York No-Fault law requires that you have a serious injury if you file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident.
If an accident lawyer near you wasn’t interested in your car accident case (or any kind of accident), call us!
See Nyda’s video on this page where she talks about a personal injury lawyer in The Bronx who didn’t want her car accident case because she had a pre-existing back injury, how she then called 1-800-HURT-911®, and we got her the money to move from her Bronx apartment and buy her dream apartment on the Hudson River.
If a personal injury lawyer is telling you to take less money because you have a pre-existing condition, call us! You can change from your personal injury lawyer to us. We’re not afraid of a pre-existing condition.
Neck and Back Injuries With a Fracture
Lumbar spine injuries can include a fracture (broken bone) of the spine, injury to a disc, or a soft tissue injury. If there is a fracture or if surgery is needed, we consider it to be a very serious injury, no matter what kind of accident caused it.
If you had a car accident with a neck injury or back injury without a fracture, car accident lawyers must prove you have a “legally serious injury,” However, New York No-Fault law states that a fracture is a serious injury.
In fact, any fracture or broken bone is a serious injury by law and will guarantee that your neck injury or back injury case cannot be dismissed. If you have any fracture or broken bone, even a broken pinky finger or broken tooth, we do not have to prove that your neck injury or back injury is serious.
Serious lower back injuries involving a disc (or disk):
- Bulging lumbar disc is where a disc is damaged, causing it to bulge out and press on a nerve.
- Herniated lumbar disc is where the disc material has gone beyond bulging to the point where it has broken through its protective outer coating and is pressing on a nerve.
Accidents causing damage to a disc result in one or more bulging discs, herniated discs, or a combination of bulging and herniated discs. This type of injury usually gets worse over time and must either be tolerated and treated with constant exercise and stretching or be treated with surgery.
Soft Tissue Injury With Another Injury Involving a Fracture
If you had a car accident and have a soft tissue low back or neck injury, but you have a broken bone anywhere in your body, including a broken finger or broken tooth, your case meets the New York “threshold,” which means your case cannot be dismissed and you can get money for all of your injuries.
Soft Tissue Neck or Back Injury
A lower back injury to the lumbar spine is often referred to as a soft tissue injury and includes the following:
- Muscle strain.
- Ligament sprain.
Accidents that cause a muscle strain or ligament sprain will result in mild to moderate discomfort or pain but not serious pain and should go away within 4-12 weeks after the accident. In some cases, a ligament sprain that causes instability may require surgery.
There are several lumbar discs labeled as L1 at the top of the lower back to L5, which is at the bottom of the lower back. Below the L5 lumbar vertebrae is the sacrum.
In this case, our client has a “soft tissue back injury,” which eventually required surgery. These X-ray images show the hardware installed in the lower spine.
If you have neck or back pain after your accident, we would like to represent you! Please call the personal injury lawyers in New York on the 1-800-HURT-911® Personal Injury Dream Team™ for a free consultation right now 7 days/nights at 1-800-HURT-911 >> 1-800-487-8911
Which Areas of the Spine Are Usually Injured?
Most spine pain is associated with an injury to the neck (cervical spine) or lower back (lumbar spine).
Injuries to the thoracic spine and sacral spine are rare. When the thoracic spine or sacral spine is injured, it’s usually fractured, which is a serious spine injury.
Videos showing minimal incision or minimally invasive spine surgery
Stryker® Percutaneous Discectomy using a very tiny vacuum (actual surgery) (Stryker is a brand name)
Hydro Percutaneous Discectomy using a water jet (animation)
Percutaneous laser discectomy (animation)
Doctors have begun doing stem cell implant surgery for lumbar disk injuries. We have several clients who have had stem cell implant surgery for lower back injuries sustained in an accident.
What is stem cell therapy?
Can You Have a Neck or Back Injury From a Minor Car Accident?
We have had many serious personal injury cases with clients who had a neck injury or back injury from a minor car accident. See how you can have a neck injury or back injury that is a serious injury from a minor car accident when there is no collision damage to the cars.
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for a Neck or Back Injury?
If you had a neck injury or back injury, call the personal injury lawyers in New York, the 1-800-HURT-911® Personal Injury Dream Team™ for a free consultation right now 7 days/nights at 1-800-HURT-911 >> 1-800-487-8911
New York neck and back injury lawyers explain how to prevent neck and back pain after an accident.
See more information about spine injuries at HURT911®
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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.