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How Do I Estimate Future Medical Costs in a Spinal Injury Accident?

Estimating future medical costs for any car accident injury is difficult, but spinal injuries are particularly complicated. It is not always possible to tell how serious or permanent the injury is from the outset; you need to seek treatment and understand how your body is going to respond before speculating about your medical needs. 

Putting a dollar value on the long-term implications of an injury requires the assistance of competent professionals who can anticipate your needs. Your car accident injury lawyer will work with medical specialists to determine a fair and adequate accident settlement estimate. Here are the steps that must be taken before making that determination.

Obtain Appropriate Treatment from Qualified Specialists 

To allow your health providers to accurately predict your future medical needs, you must first do your best to treat the issue and recover your full health. This may require objective tests like MRIs or conservative treatments such as physical therapy. Consulting with the proper specialists, whether it’s a pain management physician, neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, and/or other spine specialist, is critical to developing an understanding of the full nature and extent of your injury.

After your providers have identified your injury and provided necessary interventions, they will be able to identify whether your spinal injury is permanent and what medical care you will need in the long term. 

Consult with a Lawyer to Begin Working on Your Auto Accident Estimate 

Your lawyer will work closely with your treatment providers and any other experts required to determine your likely future medical expenses. These can include any variety of temporary or ongoing pain management procedures. Common pain management procedures include epidural steroid injections and radiofrequency ablations, but your condition may call for more invasive procedures such as a spinal cord stimulator, microdiscectomy, disc replacement, or spinal fusion. Your likely future medical needs can have a substantial impact on the settlement value of your case, and, in most cases, you should not begin settlement discussions with an insurance company until you have a good idea of what your future looks like.

Your lawyer may also consult with vocational experts to understand how your injury may impact your ability to work, as well as document evidence to support your case and maximize your spinal injury settlement. 

Factors That Could Affect Your Accident Settlement Estimate

In determining how to calculate car accident injury settlement estimates, it’s important to look at the whole picture of how your life will change and what areas will be impacted. The circumstances that will affect the amount of financial recovery you can expect to receive include: 

  • Recovery time/severity of the injury. People who recover quickly and fully from car accident-related spine injuries can expect to see a smaller settlement amount than someone with severe and/or permanent injuries. Sometimes a minor injury can become more serious over time due to ongoing degeneration, or a surgery can fix one problem but create the potential for stress on other areas of the spine, ultimately resulting in further surgical intervention. Your treatment providers will predict the trajectory of your recovery and medical needs, which will play a tremendous role in your settlement amount. 
  • Lost income and reduced capacity to work. In addition to accounting for lost earnings, your lawyer may consult with vocational experts to understand how your injury may impact your ability to work in the future or your longevity in a job that requires physical stamina. 
  • Paralysis/loss of mobility. Should you experience paralysis or loss of motor functions, your needs are likely to go beyond medical treatment. In addition to consulting with your medical providers, your lawyer will consult with a life care planner to understand long-term costs such as home health care, house adaptations, adaptable transport, housekeeping services, and any other services you may need that are compensable in order to maximize your recovery. 
  • Impact on quality of life. Even spinal injuries an insurance would classify as “minor” can have a lasting and meaningful impact on a person’s quality of life. The more you are impaired in your ability to do necessary tasks or engage in activities you enjoy, the more your spinal injury lawyer can advocate for a higher recovery. It is important to keep note of those things your spinal injury prevents or impairs you from doing.

How FVF Can Help 

At FVF, our experienced and compassionate lawyers understand how a car accident-related spinal injury can impact your life. We provide free, no-cost case consultations so that you can make the best decisions for your health and financial well-being. We will make sure you are receiving competent medical care and investigate the circumstances of your car accident in order to prove the other party was liable and hold them accountable for the pain their negligence has caused. If you’re ready to schedule a free consultation, contact us today. 



Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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