What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident Back & Neck Injury?

The average settlement for a car accident resulting in a back / neck injury in the United States is $263,030 and the median settlement amount is $34,065, which better represents the typical settlement amount. Factors that affect settlement value includes the severity of injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Settlement data is based on 728 car accident cases that resulting in a back and/or neck injury recorded by Thomson Reuters in the last 5 years (between 2019 and 2024).

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Average back / neck injury settlement amount chart (2024)
Average back / neck injury settlement amount chart (2024)

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Note: Average settlement data should not be interpreted as a guaranteed settlement amount for your back and neck injury claim. Data and settlement examples provided are intended to be used for informational purposes.

  • Median settlement = $34,065: The median more accurately a common settlement for back and neck injuries because the calculation is less subject to being skewed by extremely high or low settlement amounts.
  • Average settlement = $263,030: The average settlement amount is the sum of all auto accident settlements that include a back and/or neck injury claim, divided by the total number of settlements (728).
  • Highest settlement = $11,025,000: An individual was rear-ended by a tow truck, initially appearing to have minor injuries including a slight concussion and neck pain. The individual continued to work and treated with physical therapy. Later, the individual experienced severe headaches, dizziness, and numbness, leading to a diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage and a ruptured artery aneurysm. Despite initial improvement, the individual suffered from vasospasm, leading to strokes and additional complications. Following extensive hospital treatment and rehabilitation, the individual and family filed claims against the responsible parties, including the tow truck company and the hospital.
  • Lowest settlement = $2,500: In an auto accident, a vehicle turned in front of another, causing a collision and resulting in injuries to a minor passenger. The injuries included undisclosed neck, back, and shoulder injuries. A settlement agreement was reached with the insurer of the driver who caused the accident. The settlement was later approved by the court, and the proceeds were ordered for distribution.

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Back & Neck Injury Settlement Examples

Settlement examples under $100K

  • $20K settlement: An individual sustained injuries when another driver negligently caused a collision at an intersection. The injuries included those to the neck, back, lip, shoulders, collarbone, and elbow. The plaintiffs claimed that the driver was uninsured/underinsured at the time of the accident and filed for negligence against the driver and for uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits from their insurer.
  • $50K settlement: A minor claimed to have suffered disc bulges at L2-L3 and L3-L4, and a broad-based posterior disc herniation impinging on the ventral thecal sac, resulting in a permanent injury due to an automobile accident. The vehicle in which the minor was a back seat passenger was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by the defendant. It was asserted that the defendant’s failure to maintain a safe and proper lookout and control of the vehicle caused the accident and subsequent injuries to the minor.
  • $90K settlement: An individual claimed that a state police officer failed to yield the right-of-way, making a left turn into the path of their vehicle, resulting in an accident. The officer was cited for the incident. The individual suffered soft tissue injuries to the knee, neck, and back, along with emotional distress. They also experienced a psychiatric breakdown requiring inpatient hospitalization. The defendant disputed the causation, arguing that the collision was modest and not severe enough to cause the claimed injuries and distress.

Settlement examples between $100K and $500K

  • $110K settlement: The plaintiff was driving a vehicle with a passenger when the defendant, who was behind them, lost control due to poor brakes and rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle. This resulted in neck and back injuries for the plaintiff. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with a ruptured cervical disc and underwent surgery for a cervical disc arthroplasty.
  • $275K settlement: Two minors were passengers in a vehicle driven by their parent when another driver allegedly made an improper turn, causing a collision. One minor reportedly sustained head, face, eye, and hand injuries, while the other suffered back and organ injuries. The parent claimed the other driver was negligent in multiple ways, including speeding and failing to keep a proper lookout. The case was settled, with the court approving a total settlement amount for the injuries and damages.
  • $448K settlement: An individual was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle that was struck by another vehicle making a left turn from a parking lot, resulting in neck and back injuries. In a separate accident, the same individual was in another vehicle that slowed for traffic and was rear-ended, resulting in a back injury and concussion. The individual filed a lawsuit against the drivers involved in both accidents, seeking compensation for physical injuries, medical expenses, and physical impairment. One of the defendants was dismissed from the case before trial.

Settlement examples between $500K and $1M

  • $600K settlement: An individual claimed their vehicle was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle. The individual suffered a lower back injury requiring spinal surgery, which resulted in a permanent foot drop. Subsequently, the individual underwent a spinal cord stimulator procedure. More than a year later, the foot drop caused a fall while hiking, leading to a shoulder injury requiring surgery. The defendant disputed the severity of the collision, arguing that the low-back injury was due to pre-existing degenerative conditions and not related to the accident. The defendant also contested the connection between the fall, the shoulder injury, and the accident.
  • $805K settlement: The plaintiff was rear-ended while stopped on a highway, leading to a concussion, chest contusion, and neck and back soft tissue injuries. Four months later, the individual was diagnosed with a type B aortic dissection, which is a permanent condition requiring lifelong medical management and the possibility of surgery. The defendants argued that the aortic dissection occurred spontaneously and was not caused by the accident
  • $825K settlement: An individual reportedly sustained multiple rib fractures, a clavicle fracture with permanent limited range of motion in the left arm and shoulder, cervical disc herniations and bulging leading to chronic cervical radiculopathy, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, post-concussion syndrome, and PTSD after being struck by a vehicle at an intersection. The collision was due to the defendant’s negligence, including excessive speed, failure to yield, and improper lookout.

Settlement examples over $1M

  • $1.5M settlement: An individual was rear-ended by a school bus, leading to neck and back injuries, herniated discs at C5-6 and L4-5, and a concussion. The individual developed post-concussive syndrome and chronic pain syndrome. Treatment included conservative care, cervical fusion surgery, and lumbar discectomy. Ongoing pain required additional pain management and cognitive treatment. Neuropsychological evaluation revealed cognitive impairments in attention, memory, visuospatial organization, and cognitive flexibility. The individual’s symptoms and treatment spanned several months, involving multiple healthcare professionals and significant medical interventions.
  • $4M settlement: An individual was driving through an intersection when another driver ran a red light and struck the individual’s vehicle. The individual sustained injuries to the neck, back, and shoulder, requiring a two-level discectomy surgery.
  • $8.625M settlement: While driving on the interstate, an individual attempted to merge due to a flat tire and was struck by a tractor-trailer. A passenger suffered fatal injuries, survived by her family who claimed emotional distress from witnessing the accident. The driver also suffered unspecified injuries. The plaintiffs alleged the tractor-trailer operator failed to yield, leading to the collision. The defendants denied liability but agreed to settle. The injuries included head, neck, back, shoulder, and knee injuries, as well as emotional distress for multiple plaintiffs.

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Factors That Affect Settlement Amounts For Neck And Back Injuries

Severity of Injury: More severe injuries typically result in higher settlements.

🛈 Example: An individual suffers a severe spinal cord injury resulting in partial paralysis. The settlement might be $1,000,000 due to the life-altering impact and need for long-term care.

Medical Expenses: Higher medical costs, including surgeries and ongoing treatments, increase settlement amounts.

🛈 Example: An individual requires multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy for a herniated disc. Medical bills total nearly $110,000, leading to a settlement of around $150,000 to cover medical costs and associated expenses.

Impact on Quality of Life: Long-term or permanent disability affecting daily activities and employment can significantly increase settlements.

🛈 Example: A person with a neck injury that prevents them from returning to their previous job and affects daily activities might receive a settlement of $500,000 to account for loss of enjoyment of life and future income.

Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress.

🛈 Example: An individual experiences chronic pain from a back injury, requiring continuous pain management. They might receive $200,000 in compensation for ongoing pain and suffering.

Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the impact on relationships.

🛈 Example: The spouse of an individual with a severe back injury claims loss of companionship and intimacy, resulting in an additional $50,000 added to the settlement.

Defendant’s Liability: Clear evidence of the defendant’s fault can result in higher settlements.

🛈 Example: Clear evidence shows the defendant was texting while driving, causing the accident. This clear liability might increase the settlement to $300,000.

Comparative Negligence: Settlement amounts may be reduced if the injured person is found partially at fault.

🛈 Example: If the injured person is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, a $250,000 settlement could be reduced to $200,000.

Insurance Policy Limits: The defendant’s insurance coverage limits can cap the settlement amount.

🛈 Example: The defendant’s insurance policy has a limit of $500,000, capping the settlement even if the injury’s value is higher.

Each case is unique, and car accident settlement amounts for individuals who have suffered a back and neck injury will vary based on many factors. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that you recover fair compensation.

Getting started with your injury claim is easy. Just request a free case evaluation online, and a legal team in our network will reach out to you regarding your case. Our network of attorneys includes a team of over 250+ legal professionals throughout the United States with over $1 billion recovered for clients, including those who have suffered back and neck injuries as a result of an auto accident.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are back and neck injury settlements calculated?

Back and neck injury settlements are calculated based on a variety of factors including medical expenses, lost wages, severity and permanency of the injury, pain and suffering, impact on quality of life, comparative negligence, and insurance policy limits. For instance, a severe neck injury requiring surgery with extensive recovery might result in higher compensation due to significant medical costs, lost income, and reduced quality of life.

How long will my back and neck injury claim take to settle?

The time to finalize a back and neck injury claim typically ranges from a few months to several years, depending on the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, and the negotiation process with insurance companies. Straightforward cases with clear liability and minor injuries may settle in a few months, while more complex cases involving significant injuries or disputes can take longer. Ultimately, the timeline of a car accident case will be dependent on the unique circumstances surrounding your claim.

How long do I have to file a back and neck injury claim?

The time limit to file a claim for a back and neck injury varies by state due to different statutes of limitations, typically ranging from one to six years from the date of the accident. It’s crucial to consult local laws or an attorney promptly to ensure your claim is filed within the legal time frame.

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We use settlement calculators to help individuals estimate how much compensation they may receive from their personal injury claim. We partner with law firms throughout the United States to help produce the most accurate results. Our content and calculators are created with the help of top-rated attorneys and legal professionals.

Accident type Avg. Settlement
Drunk driver $262,479
Uninsured driver $128,129
Hit-and-run $87,233
Rear-end $181,309
Injury type Avg. Settlement
Back & neck $263,030
Herniated disc $220,066
Concussion $347,046
Whiplash $121,542
PTSD $762,436

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