The impact of a car accident can put a lot of stress on your spine, particularly in the lumbar or lower section of your back. There is a host of injuries that can occur because of this and a wide range of corresponding treatments.
One of these treatment options is spinal fusion surgery. If you've been injured in a car accident that required this procedure you're likely wondering what the average settlement amounts for spinal fusion claims are.
In the following, we'll dig into the details so you can properly valuate your claim and ultimately receive a fair settlement.
Let's get started….
If you've already had the surgery you're undoubtedly well versed in what spinal fusion (also called “arthrodesis) is. For everyone else:
In a spinal fusion procedure, doctors collect a bone graft from another area of your body (or donated) to connect the vertebrae of the spine. They sometimes also use rods, screws or plates to hold things together until the bone can heal.
This is invasive surgery that can seriously affect your quality of life (good or bad). It typically requires a long recovery, use of a back brace and extensive physical therapy. Doctors tend to use it as a last resort.
The dynamics of back injuries during a car crash are complicated. But one thing's for certain, the human back/neck was not well designed to sustain the jarring impact of a crash.
Spinal fusion surgery is undertaken for a variety of different reasons, some of the most common ones are:
When it comes to car accidents, the two primary causative factors leading to a fusion are herniated discs and fractures. According to Spine Health, the most common indication for spinal fusion is back pain that lasts more than 6 months and does not respond to standard therapies .
Spend a few minutes googling and you'll quickly see spinal fusion often mentioned in the same breath as disability. But simply undergoing this procedure does not guarantee you qualification for social security disability payments.
To qualify you need to meet the requirements listed in the “blue book”, a guide used to determine if someone is medically disabled. If you match some of the impairments listed there you can automatically qualify.
The blue book says that to qualify:
Also, there is another list of issues and associated problems. You must demonstrate that at least one applies to you.
Whether or not you are eligible for disability depends completely on whether or not your situation matches these (and further) criteria.
Now that we've covered some basics, let's discuss getting a settlement amount for your spinal fusion claim.
The value of your claim is going to fall into two categories.
Spinal fusion claims that arise from spinal cord injuries are compensated highly due to their potentially serious consequences. This is especially true of ones involving a damaged nerve root or other complications.
National (US) average costs for spinal fusion surgery runs between $14,000 and $26,000 . This does not include extended hospital stays, follow up treatment, medical accessories, medications and other associated costs. There are quite a few anecdotal reports of surgeries costing $50,000 or even $70,000.
Beyond the basic medical costs, some other factors which may affect the value of your claim are:
Lastly, let's run through a few real examples to help you ballpark your claim.
Spinal fusion claims are serious and typically involve a much higher dollar amount than other claims. Because of this people often seek the counsel of an attorney. But even if you are represented it's good to educate yourself. Keep in mind:
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