Home General Injuries How to Calculate Neck Injury Settlement
General Injuries

How to Calculate Neck Injury Settlement

neck injury settlement calculator

Neck injury can happen for a variety of reasons but car crashes seem to be a primary cause. According to the National Crash Severity Study, around one in 300 occupants in serious car crashes suffered severe neck injuries. In the United States alone, around 800,000 cases of traffic accidents are reported every year, with an estimated treatment cost of as much as $5.2 billion for neck injuries. This is why you should never take the possibility of neck injury lightly. Being able to accurately calculate a neck injury settlement is a specialty on its own.

Today, you can find a neck injury settlement calculator as a helpful tool in pinning down a settlement figure. Ideally, a calculator will consider several factors such as your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering associated with the injury, and the extent of disability.

Two Types of Damages

Most calculators consider two types of damages: general damages and special damages.

Special damages are those that have a definite amount such as medical expenses or future medical expenses. You can pin the actual number down by referring to medical professionals and then making an estimate from there.

General damages are hard to pin down because they’re based on intangible things like the pain you’ve suffered, the loss of quality of life, the disconnection from family, and so on. While you also need professional input when pinning down an amount for this demand, the value is typically subjective.

Factors Every Neck Injury Settlement Calculator Must Consider

For settlement calculators, however, there, are five distinct factors used in estimating a likely amount. Here’s an overview of each one:

Current Medical Expenses

Neck injuries are typically classified into minor, moderate, and severe. Whiplash is the most common “minor” injury with recovery expected at around three months. 

When we say “current” though, this usually translates to immediate medical expenses or those that happen on the day of or immediately after the accident. This can include the cost of the ambulance ride, hospital stay, diagnostic tests, medication, and professional fees.

These are all information that you should easily have on hand when you calculate neck injury settlement. A good calculator will ask you for any costs already paid or already billed.

Future Medical Expenses

Future medical expenses are trickier to calculate for settlement purposes. As a general rule though, if medical treatment needs to continue because of the neck injury, then it should be included as part of the settlement. Sometimes, a neck injury that worsens a pre-existing condition can also be added to the overall costs.

Future medical expenses can include anything from follow-up appointments, physical therapy, medication, and surgery. Of course, these costs are usually associated with moderate or severe neck injuries which can involve a herniated disk, a neck fracture, or even spinal cord injury. 

The assessment of a medical professional is critical before any future medical expense can be properly pinned down, even with a settlement calculator. This is because a simple neck injury can easily become serious. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, it takes around three months to recover from whiplash after a motor vehicle accident. However, at the three-month mark, it can go either way with the neck pain resolving itself or the neck pain becoming a chronic concern.

Medical professionals should also be able to tell how long the issue will last. Although an exact timeframe isn’t always possible, medical professionals should be able to offer an estimate for full recovery. 

Lost Wages

Neck injury settlements are primarily made up of “actual damages” or those actual costs you have to spend for recovery. Lost wages are counted among those actual damages since it’s nearly impossible to maintain work while suffering from chronic pain.

The computation of lost wages isn’t as straightforward as you might think, though. The basic computation would be your earnings before the incident multiplied by how long you’re unable to work. In some cases, the potential earnings after the incident are subtracted first but for moderate and severe cases, the patient can’t work at all.

Beyond basic wages, however, victims of neck injury are also entitled to bonuses, sales commissions, potential overtime, and lost income opportunities because of promotion or other personal factors. Self-employed individuals may have a harder time pinning an amount, but showing bank records should be a great place to start.

Permanent Disability

The physical impact of the neck injury, especially in day-to-day life, also comes into play. This differs from future medical expenses since this factor considers how you continue daily tasks if a disability occurs because of the neck injury. 

A good example would be the sudden need for crutches, wheelchairs, hearing aids, the ability to return to your old job, and other physical limitations. Essentially, this amount considers what you’ll need to more or less go back to the way you normally live your life.

Pain and Suffering

Of all the factors stated here, this is perhaps the hardest one to substantiate. While there’s no question that a patient goes through pain and suffering after a neck injury, the actual amount is highly subjective. This is what you call “moral damage” because the damage is intangible and mainly felt in the person’s quality of life.

Since it’s so subjective, pain and suffering costs usually vary per jurisdiction. Most States have a history of amounts awarded to individuals who underwent the same situation as you. While these aren’t exact, they help create a benchmark so there’s a strong starting point when determining a number.

What Is the Average Workers’ Comp Neck Injury Settlement?

Worker’s compensation settlements for neck injuries can vary widely based on several factors, such as the severity of the injury, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complexities of worker’s compensation claims to ensure you receive a fair settlement.

According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s (NCCI) worker compensation statistics, the average cost for all claims is $41,757. 

How Do I Know if My Neck Injury Is Serious?

Serious neck injuries can have long-lasting consequences. Here, we’ll discuss the common signs that should necessitate immediate medical attention:

Neck Pain and Stiffness

Persistent neck pain and stiffness can indicate underlying issues, especially if they worsen over time. Ideally, neck pain caused by muscle tension or sprain goes away after a few days. 

If it lasts for a week or more, additional medical care may be necessary. In some cases, persistent neck pain and stiffness can only be resolved through surgery.

Tingling or Numbness

If you experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in your hands and arms, it may be a sign of nerve compression or even spinal cord damage. If you experience any of these after a workplace injury, it’s important to undergo testing to eliminate any serious concerns. 

Diagnostic tests for nerve damage include motor function tests, sensory tests, MRI, CT scans, or X-rays. Long-term complications are likely without immediate treatment.

Limited Motion

Difficulty or pain when moving your neck in all directions may suggest a more severe injury. A stiff neck ordinarily goes away after a few days. If it persists following an accident, more intensive treatment may be more necessary such as medication and physical therapy.


Take headaches seriously if it comes up after a neck injury. Medical professionals may say that the headache is anticipated because of the neck strain. 

However, at a certain point, the headache should start to fade away as the body recovers. If it persists for more than a week, however, it may be indicative of a more complex issue. 

Seek medical help immediately and make sure to properly describe the nature of the headache. Explain where it starts, the intensity of the pain, and the location where the pain radiates. A good description of the headache can help your doctor narrow down the possible causes of the issue.


Loss of bladder control or bowel control should be viewed as an emergency for people who recently suffered through neck injury. While it might not seem relevant, incontinence indicates a problem with the spinal cord. The “highway”between the brain and the organs may have been been damaged, causing a loss of control in some areas. 

Who Can I Sue for a Neck Injury?

Determining who to sue for neck injury depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident. As a general rule, the injured person goes after the person or persons responsible for the injury. 

However, the lines may be blurred in cases where you are suing a company or a juridical entity. Here are examples of cases where you may have legal grounds to sue a person.


If another driver’s negligence caused your neck injury, the proper person to sue is the driver. Note that this doesn’t always refer to the driver of the car that hit you. 

There are instances when several cars are involved in an accident. Compensation should be taken from the person who ultimately caused the accident. In a three-car pile-up, for example, this means studying the accident and pinpointing the person who had the last clear chance.


If the neck injury occurred in the workplace due to unsafe conditions or employer negligence, you may file a worker’s compensation claim against your employer. To prove your claim, it’s important to establish that there was negligence on the part of the employer, leading to an unsafe environment.

Claims against employers may also prosper if the injury happened because of improper training of other employees. In this case, the employer becomes liable because they failed to properly educate their employees on safety precautions.

Property Owners

Property owners become liable for neck injuries resulting from slips and falls on their premises. A good example is the case of Choto versus Dorothy D. Inc. where the plaintiff slipped and fell in a McDonald’s restaurant, sustaining injuries. In this case, the restaurant owner was held liable because they failed to maintain safe premises for their customers.

Slip and fall are the most common suits filed against property owners. However, other grounds for a lawsuit include falling trees, uncontrolled dogs, parked, cars, and other similar situations.


If a defective product or equipment causes your neck injury, you may have product liability claims against the manufacturer. The term “defective” in this case may refer to the construction of the product itself.

Medical Professionals

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional’s negligence causes your neck injury. Negligence may happen at any stage of the doctor-patient relationship from diagnosis, treatment, surgery, or prescriptions.

Other Third Parties

Third parties typically refer to contractors. If contractors become negligent in the construction or maintenance of projects or infrastructures, then you may seek compensation. 

To illustrate this scenario, say you sustained an injury in an establishment. However, it was proven that there was no negligence on the part of the establishment, and instead, the contractors used improper materials which caused the accident.

What Are Some Common Causes of Neck Injuries?

The inside of your neck is like a rope twisted together. It contains muscles, ligaments, tendons, spinal discs, vertebrae, and nerves. 

Damage to any of these can cause pain to the body. For the most part, neck injuries happen due to some external physical force, including but not limited to; 

  • Vehicular accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Medical procedures
  • Poor posture
  • Sleeping in the wrong position

To wrap it up, understanding the scope of your neck injury is the first step in establishing your legal claim. With the help of experienced professionals, you’ll have the opportunity to make the best decisions for appropriate settlement.

Final Thoughts on Neck Injury Settlement Calculator

A neck injury—regardless of the cause—should always be taken seriously. Due to the nature of the personal injury, it’s never a good idea to commit to a settlement amount without knowing the full extent of the damage. It’s understandable that you want to have everything settled immediately, but until and unless all the factors above have been discussed, you can’t be sure that you’re properly protected.

Written by
Serah Waweru

A graduate of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Serah Waweru is a personal injury and immigration attorney based in Tacoma, Washington. Her law firm serves clients in Washington and all over the United States. Serah has always been passionate about the law; she served as the Vice President of the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Student Bar Association and vice president of the university's Black Law Students Association. Attorney Serah Waweru is also a proud member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Washington State Bar Association.

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