Dealing With Pre-Existing Injuries In Your Case
In any personal injury case, causation is an issue. To win your case, you have to not only prove that the other side was negligent, but that the negligence caused your actual injury.
In many cases, this is easy to prove. If you are healthy, and you are hit by a car, and immediately suffer an injury, there is little doubt that the accident caused your injury. But that isn’t always the case, because of what are known as pre-existing injuries.
Who Has Pre-Existing Injuries?
The fact is that many of us have injuries or illnesses, even in the absence of injuries. Maybe we suffered a sports injury in high school. Maybe we were injured at work, or work at a physically strenuous job. Maybe just as a result of old age, we have knee, back or shoulder pain.
Then, one day—maybe years later—you get into a car accident, or you fall on the floor. You now injure the same part of your body that was injured years previous. Are your injuries caused by the accident you just had? Or are they caused by the previous work or sports injury, sustained many years in the past? Or are they just extensions of the natural pain and aching that we all feel as we age?
Of course, the Defendant in your case will almost argue that your pain is not caused by the accident. The Defendant will point to pain that you complained about to a doctor years earlier, or an indication in your MRI or X-ray that your back has signs of chronic, long term degeneration and disease.
You Can Still Recover
The good news is that when you do have a pre-existing injury, and then you have an injury as a result of an accident, you can still recover from injuries sustained in your accident.
The jury in your case can “separate” the injuries, pain, suffering, or disabilities you had prior to the accident, from those that you had or sustain because of your current accident, and only award you damages for those injuries caused by this accident.
However, if the jury can’t separate the two (which is often the case), the jury must just assume that the entirety of your injuries are caused by the accident. In other words, if it is unclear what part of your pain, disability, or limitations predated the accident, the jury must assume that all of it was caused by the accident.
A Common Defense
Of course, insurance companies won’t tell you that. They will tell you that your pain is caused by whatever illness or injury you had years in the past, and thus, that you cannot recover any damages for your injuries. This is of course false—but a good reason to get a good personal injury attorney, to fight this common defense technique.
Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian today. Schedule a consultation for help getting compensation after your injury, fall or car accident.