What is a Typical Settlement Payout for a Spinal Fusion or Serious Back Injury Case?

Suffering a serious spinal injury can be a life-altering event. The impact can result in weeks, months, or even years of recovery time. If you’ve undergone spinal fusion surgery due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you’re likely wondering what kind of settlement you can expect.

Understanding the typical settlement payout for a spinal fusion or serious back injury case is crucial for plaintiffs considering lawsuit loans. The amount of compensation awarded in these cases can vary widely depending on various factors. By having a clear understanding of the potential settlement amount, plaintiffs can make informed decisions regarding their financial needs and whether taking out a lawsuit loan is the right option for them.

This guide explains the intricacies of spinal fusion and serious back injury settlements, aiming to empower plaintiffs with the knowledge required to make well-informed choices regarding lawsuit loans. Whether assessing potential settlement amounts or determining the best course of action, plaintiffs will be better prepared to navigate their legal journey as they seek fair compensation for their injuries.

What is a Spinal Fusion?

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure commonly used to treat various conditions affecting the spine, such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or spinal fractures. Understanding what spinal fusion entails is crucial for patients considering this treatment option and seeking relief from spinal issues.

The Spinal Fusion Procedure

Spinal fusion surgery involves joining bones in the spine or removing ruptured discs and replacing them with bone grafts. Metal screws and plates are often used to hold the bone grafts in place, preventing slippage or further damage.

While spinal fusion can minimize future damage, it also significantly limits mobility and decreases strength. In more severe cases, there are risks of nerve or spinal cord damage.

Levels of Spinal Fusion

The most significant factor that influences the potential settlement value of back injury cases is the extent of treatment that the plaintiff receives. In the case of most back injuries, there are three increasing levels of potential medical treatment that may be necessary:

Level 1: Medication and Therapy

Level 2: Steroid Injections

Level 3: Spinal Fusion Surgery

Multilevel spinal fusion surgery involves the fusion of two or more motion segments of the spine to create a single, stable unit. This surgical procedure aims to improve spinal stability and alleviate pain caused by conditions such as spinal malalignment or degeneration.

Factors Impacting Spinal Fusion Settlement Amounts

The factors that impact spinal fusion settlement amounts include:

Type and Severity of Injury

The type and severity of your spinal injury are some of the biggest factors influencing your potential settlement amount. Fusion of more levels of the spine leads to more pain, complications, and higher settlements.

Cervical (neck) fusions and lumbar (lower back) fusions can both result in high settlements, depending on the specifics. The extent of restricted mobility, decreased strength, and risk of nerve damage are all considered.

Typical Settlement Amounts and Considerations

Settlement payouts for spinal fusion or serious back injury cases can vary widely. For workers’ compensation cases involving lumbar fusion surgery, settlements often reflect the severity of the injury and the long-term impact on the patient’s life.

In an article by the Department of Labor and Industry, workers who undergo lumbar fusion often continue to experience pain and disability post-surgery. Only about half report improvement, and fewer than 50% return to work. A significant number may require further surgeries, which can influence settlement amounts.

Many states differentiate between scheduled and unscheduled losses when determining compensation. Scheduled losses involve specific body parts and have predefined benefit amounts, while unscheduled losses, which often include back injuries, can lead to higher compensation due to their broader impact on a person’s ability to work and overall quality of life.

The Social Security Administration reports that the average amount of cash benefits paid per permanent partial disability case can exceed $35,000, though this figure can be much higher for severe cases involving significant medical interventions like spinal fusion.

Complications and Long-term Outcomes

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, back surgeries can fail at a rate of 20 to 40%. The likelihood of failure increases for patients undergoing multiple back surgeries. For instance, only 30% of second back surgeries are successful, and the success rate drops to 15% for third surgeries and 5% for fourth surgeries.

Unfortunately, failed back surgery is common enough that it has received classification as a medical condition. Failed back surgery syndrome occurs when a patient experiences continued pain in the back, neck or limbs following a surgery meant to reduce pain.

Liability and Insurance Coverage

It is important to prove that the accident caused your spinal injury in order to secure a settlement. The insurance policy limits of the responsible party also need to be taken into consideration. It is unfortunate that many insurance plans provide only limited coverage for spinal surgeries, which can restrict settlement amounts, even in cases of severe injury.

Individual Case Circumstances

Every spinal fusion case is unique. Factors that can increase settlements include:

  • Multiple levels of the spine fused
  • Failed surgery requiring additional treatment
  • Needing 10+ months of treatment

Factors that may decrease settlements include:

  • Pre-existing spinal issues before the accident
  • Lack of evidence that the accident caused the injury
  • Property owner’s lack of knowledge of hazard (in premises liability cases)

Common Accidents Resulting in Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is typically required after high-impact accidents that cause a jolting or compression of the spine. Some common accidents resulting in spinal fusion include:

  • High-speed car, motorcycle, or bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents on hard surfaces
  • Being struck by heavy objects at high speeds
  • Medical malpractice
  • Construction accidents

These accidents can cause ruptured discs, cracked vertebrae, or even fractures of the entire spine. Prompt medical attention and proper diagnostic imaging are vital after such incidents.

Spinal Fusion Settlement Examples

Two studies found that delays in diagnosing and treating spinal cord issues, specifically lumbar cauda equina syndromes, often led to legal verdicts in favor of the patients. In the first study from 2012, the delays were the main reason for these verdicts. In a 2017 study by a different group, 66 out of 234 spine surgery patients experienced severe neurological injuries.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment were the key reasons for legal outcomes, with 42.9% resulting in plaintiffs’ verdicts and 72.7% in settlements. On average, the payouts for plaintiffs’ verdicts were about $4.04 million, much higher than the $1.9 million for settlements. Both types of payouts were significantly increased in cases involving severe injuries.

In another 2017 study, they looked at 56 lawsuits mostly against doctors who failed to diagnose a spinal infection called SEA. Most of these doctors were internists (23.2%) and emergency room physicians (14.3%), with only a small number involving spinal orthopedic surgeons (5.4%).

The study found that the more severe the patient’s condition, the more likely they were to win their case or receive a settlement. On average, the payouts for these cases were $5.27 million, while settlements averaged $1.9 million.

Do You Need an Attorney for Your Spinal Fusion Settlement?

Technically, it’s not mandatory to hire an attorney to pursue a spinal fusion settlement, but we highly recommend it. Insurance companies have entire legal teams focused on minimizing payouts. It’s extremely challenging for the average person to go up against these legal teams and secure a fair settlement on their own.

Key Takeaways

  • Spinal fusion surgery often leads to settlements in the six-figure to multi-million dollar range
  • Settlement amounts depend on injury severity, insurance limits, and unique case factors
  • Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to maximize your compensation
  • If you need financial help while awaiting settlement, legal funding from Mayfair can provide immediate cash with no risk!

Get Lawsuit Funding with Mayfair for Spinal Fusion Cases

We know that spinal fusion recovery can be a long and challenging process, often leading to lost wages and financial hardship. If you need money to pay bills and cover living expenses while awaiting your settlement, pre-settlement legal funding may be an option.

At Mayfair Legal Funding, our loan representatives specialize in helping plaintiffs secure cash advances before their case settles. The application process is quick and easy, with approvals in as little as 24 hours. And if you don’t end up winning your case, you owe us nothing! Call us today at (888) 357-1338 to learn more.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to reach a spinal fusion settlement?

The timeline varies, but spinal fusion cases often take several months to a few years to fully settle. More complex cases involving multi-level fusions or surgical complications may take longer.

Will I have to go to court for my spinal fusion settlement?

Most spinal fusion cases reach settlement negotiations without needing to go to trial. However, if a fair agreement can’t be reached, going to court may be necessary. Your attorney will advise you on the best strategy.

What if I had a pre-existing back condition before my accident?

Pre-existing conditions can make spinal fusion cases more challenging, but they don’t automatically disqualify you from securing a settlement. The key is proving that the accident caused a new injury or significantly worsened your prior condition. An experienced attorney is essential in these cases.

How much does it cost to hire a spinal fusion attorney?

Most personal injury attorneys, including those specializing in spinal fusion cases, work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only collect a fee if they secure a settlement or verdict in your favor. The fee is typically a percentage of your award, so there are no upfront costs.