A serious auto accident may cause debilitating spine and back injuries. One such condition is called scoliosis. This causes spinal column curvature. While the spinal cord is normally straight, as its role is to keep the body upright, if it becomes bent to one side it is no longer providing the role it is designed for.
Scoliosis is known possibly to be inherited and is sometimes discovered after someone has been born. However, scoliosis can also happen if the spine has been subjected to a physical trauma of some type, such as in an auto accident.
If you are in pain following an auto accident you should see a doctor as soon as possible. If you know the injury was caused by another driver you may be entitled to file a personal injury (PI) claim from the driver’s insurer. This may be far easier if you talk to a PI attorney first.
A serious auto accident could cause severe spinal and back injuries. These could be permanent or may incur a long recovery time. Scoliosis fits into this category as it affects the curvature of the spinal column.
The spinal cord is typically straight because it is in place so the body can maintain an upright position. When it becomes bent this role is lost and this can happen on impact in an auto accident. Fortunately, scoliosis is easy to diagnose, so a settlement can be calculated for your PI claim.
The Effect of Painful Scoliosis
It’s not just a matter of staying at home to recover from scoliosis, as far more extensive treatment may be required. This all depends on the amount your movement is impaired and how much pain you have to endure.
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You may need to have surgery, wear a specialist back brace or arrange visits to a chiropractor. One thing you won’t be doing is returning to work soon and you may find it difficult driving and doing any sort of routine tasks around the home.
Filing a Damages Claim For Scoliosis
If your scoliosis is serious and you are not fully mobile, you may find you fall into debt very quickly if you are stopped from going to work to earn a living. There are medical treatment bills to pay and even assistance in your home if you are immobilized.
However, to help you out with this sort of unexpected financial burden you may be entitled to file a PI claim against the person who caused the accident.
The sorts of benefits you may get from such a claim include the cost of medical treatment until it’s no longer needed, the amount you have lost in earnings up to your expected return date to work and a calculation for the pain and suffering you have had to endure due to someone else’s behavior.
In some situations, if your injury is extremely debilitating, you may be entitled to punitive damages, which is a financial punishment for the at-fault driver who has driven negligently. It must be proved that it was this behavior that caused the accident.
Find out more about what damages you may be entitled to if you file a personal injury claim.
Potential Settlements for Scoliosis
A typical compensation settlement for a back injury like scoliosis will include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages for Scoliosis
Surgery for scoliosis and further treatment costs on average can reach up to $113,138. This includes doctor’s appointments, x-rays and physical therapy appointments;
Time off work calculated at two thirds of present income per week for 12 weeks for a carpenter at $39,595 per annum is $760 per week divided by two thirds times 12 = $4,670.
Total economic damages in this example would be $113,138 + $4,670 = $117, 808.
Non-Economic Compensatory Damages
These include a calculation for pain and suffering, which is the total of economic damages multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5 depending on the severity of the injury. In the case of scoliosis a fair assessment would be to multiply $117,808 x 3 = $353,244.
Other damages that could be included cover emotional distress, which is calculated based on the specific state’s law and is often included in non-economic compensatory damages.
Loss of consortium may also be part of the settlement. This damages component may be sought because the victim of scoliosis can’t play the expected role as part of normal family life. In some states, this is included as part of a scoliosis victim's compensatory damages settlement.
Sometimes the family members who are affected have to file a PI claim for this separately. In cases where the relationship has been reduced so that the other partner acts only as a caregiver, damages for “loss of consortium” could reach a figure of up to $40,000 or more.
Sometimes, punitive damages can be awarded for a back injury like scoliosis, but evidence must show that the defendant deliberately went out to cause the accident and subsequent injury.
In those states where contributory negligence applies, the victim may not be able to claim any PI compensation at all if s/he is found to be at fault, even to a small extent. In most states, a different “comparative negligence” applies.
This means you may be eligible for PI compensation if the other party was found to be at least 50 percent responsible for your scoliosis injury.
Evidence for Filing a Claim for Scoliosis From a Car Accident
One of the key ways of ensuring you win a favorable settlement for your scoliosis injury is providing the evidence to back up your claim:
- eye witness accounts showing how the accident happened including their contact details;
- the police reports proving your injury was caused in an auto accident that was not your fault;
- photographs taken at the accident scene by eye witnesses;
- photographic evidence downloaded from nearby surveillance cameras that clearly show the accident taking place and who was at-fault;
- your doctor’s report and medical notes showing the diagnosis of scoliosis, your treatment program with details of cost of surgery, prescribed drugs and any support required following treatment until full recovery and the full cost of the service ;
- receipts for the purchase or hire of crutches or a wheelchair, whichever is applicable;
- receipts for out-of- pocket expenses like taxi fares to get to a doctor’s appointment;
All this evidence helps you win the PI settlement you are entitled to in an accident that caused scoliosis that was not your fault.
Could I Receive a Settlement If an Auto Accident Caused Scoliosis?
Getting a settlement for scoliosis after a car accident may be challenging. Because scoliosis happens while you grow, it can be hard to prove that an auto accident caused your scoliosis or that a car crash made your scoliosis worse.
Settlements for scoliosis from an auto accident will vary depending on how severely your spine was injured, how high your medical bills are, and how much pain you’re in after the auto accident. Many spinal injuries receive high settlements. If you wish to receive a settlement after your scoliosis is aggravated in an auto accident, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
You May Need a PI Attorney
There is no law stating you need a PI attorney to pursue your personal injury compensation claim, but it’s far more likely to be successful if you hire one to take on the job. More often than not the insurer of the driver who caused the accident will try to get away not paying a sufficient amount for the insurance claim by being prepared to pay a lower sum but pay it quickly.
This is not what you need as it won’t cover all the financial hardship you may have to endure throughout your recovery period. A PI attorney will argue on your behalf tirelessly until the settlement recovered fully covers your estimated financial hardship.
If you still have questions on what next steps you have to take, it is always best to speak with a personal injury attorney in your area.