Important Legal Disclaimer: These dollar values are from past results and do not guarantee or suggest that your matter will have a similar outcome. The facts and circumstances which led to your injury are likely to be different, and an attorney can provide specific guidance only after engaging in a fact-intensive analysis. Furthermore, the worth of your personal injury case will ultimately be decided by a jury.
If you or one of your loved ones suffered a neck injury because of another person’s reckless or careless actions, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit with a personal injury attorney. This compensation can help you pay for your medical bills, make up for lost income, provide for your family heading into the future, and cover a wide variety of current and projected expenses related to your injury.
The Oklahoma City injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have prepared this basic legal guide to help accident victims and their families understand some important financial aspects of civil litigation. It explains how compensation is determined, compares the different types of compensation available to plaintiffs, and provides some nationwide examples of verdicts and settlements in personal injury lawsuits involving neck injuries. If you have any questions about anything you read in this guide, or would like to talk about your rights and legal options as an injury victim, please do not hesitate to call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 for a free and private consultation.
How is Compensation for Plaintiffs Calculated in Oklahoma?
The neck contains some of the human body’s most important and delicate anatomical structures, including the jugular vein, carotid artery, trachea (windpipe), esophagus, and cervical sections of the spinal cord and spinal column. When a person sustains a serious neck injury, such as a vertebral fracture caused by a slip and fall accident, or a whiplash injury from a rear-end collision, the result can be life-altering. Depending on the location and severity of a neck injury, effects might include chronic pain, recurring migraines, vision problems, vertigo, loss of speech, and permanent paralysis. Not only are these impairments physically and emotionally painful, they also lead to overwhelming medical bills which can wipe out years of saving overnight.
All of these factors — psychological, physical, and financial — are weighed by juries when evaluating what sort of compensation, or damages, should be awarded to a plaintiff who was not at fault for an accident. These decisions are informed by medical and economic experts, who are often brought into injury cases to project the plaintiff’s estimated lifetime bills and losses, in addition to his or her current expenses. Both short- and long-term effects of the injury are considered – not only upon the injury victim him- or herself, but also upon his or her dependents and spouse.
As a result of this complexity, compensation is divided into a few separate categories, each of which addresses a different aspect of harm to the plaintiff. These categories include:
Economic Damages — Describes quantifiable losses, such as current and future medical costs and lost wages/income.
Non-Economic Damages — Describes non-quantifiable losses, such as loss of enjoyment of life, loss of a marital relationship (consortium/companionship), and the victim’s pain and suffering.
Compensatory Damages — Describes damages which are awarded for the sole purpose of compensating the plaintiff. Both economic and non-economic damages can also be compensatory damages.
Punitive Damages — Describes damages which are awarded for the purpose of punishing the defendant for egregious and gross misconduct. Punitive damages are less common than compensatory damages, because they arise from extreme circumstances. However, they generally involve higher dollar amounts when awarded.
Like many states, Oklahoma sets certain limits, or damages caps, on the amount of punitive damages which may be awarded. Different caps apply to different types of cases. For instance, if a case involves “reckless disregard” for the plaintiff’s rights, punitive damages are capped at $100,000. However, if a case involves intent, malice, and risk to human life, there is no specific cap on punitive damages. These limits are set forth by O.S. § 23-9.1.
Verdicts and Settlements in Throat and Neck Injury Cases
As the disclaimer at the beginning of this guide emphasizes, the following examples of verdicts and settlements in neck injury cases across the U.S. are presented here purely for educational purposes. These verdicts and settlements do not guarantee similar results from all neck injury lawsuits, as each case depends on a unique and complex set of details. Jury awards and out-of-court settlements with insurance companies have the potential to be lower or higher than the figures listed below.
- $2.75 million settlement for a 57-year-old New York pedestrian who was hit by a van while crossing the street.
- $2.475 million settlement for a Minnesota plaintiff who suffered nerve damage after being struck by a falling object at a job site.
- $1.5 million settlement for an Oklahoma plaintiff who received negligent medical care for an existing neck injury.
- $675,000 verdict awarded to a New Jersey plaintiff who sustained neck and back injuries in a rear-end collision.
- $537,500 settlement for a Minnesota man who required neck surgery following an automotive accident.
- $315,000 settlement for a Maryland man who suffered nerve damage after being in an automotive accident.
- $175,000 settlement for a Tennessee woman who sustained neck and head injuries requiring surgery.
- $140,000 verdict awarded to a Florida plaintiff whose pre-existing degenerative disc disease was worsened by a traffic accident.
- $65,000 settlement for a New Jersey woman who suffered herniated cervical (neck) discs after a car accident involving an improper left turn.
- $35,000 settlement for a North Carolina plaintiff who sustained soft tissue injuries in a head-on collision. (Note that soft tissue injuries include whiplash, strains, sprains, and contusions.)
- $15,000 settlement for a North Carolina woman who was struck by a falling object in a casino premises liability case.
Don’t Hesitate To Consult with an Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorney
If your neck was injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident, or if you were harmed by medical malpractice, the person or company which caused your injury could be liable for providing you with compensation. Call the personal injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 for a free, completely confidential legal consultation. Don’t worry about having too many questions, or not knowing where to start. That’s exactly what we’re here to help you with, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.