Can Your Attorney Prove a Car Crash Aggravated a Preexisting Injury?
Car accidents are often so traumatic to the body they not only cause new injuries, but they also aggravate old ones. While much of the attention is on new injuries, if old ones were aggravated and need additional treatment beyond what the victim was already receiving, you may be able to include this treatment in your claim.
The question is: How do you prove an old injury was aggravated by the crash?
How do you prove there is a difference between your current symptoms and the symptoms you were already experiencing from the injury?
The first thing to know is this is a task best left to an experienced attorney who regularly manages car crash claims. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law help crash victims every day and we know how to validate claims, including complex cases involving preexisting injuries.
Insurance companies regularly underpay claims, and they are more likely to fight a claim involving the aggravation of a preexisting condition. Without an attorney, recovering full compensation is likely to be extremely difficult.
Pre-Accident Medical Records
Your attorney will review medical records documenting treatment you received for your preexisting injury. The more detailed these records the better, as it will help your attorney to differentiate between existing and new symptoms.
If you did not seek treatment for a preexisting injury or did not talk to the doctor about it that much, it may be more difficult to prove your existing injury was aggravated or worsened in the crash. There is just not much information to go on.
In some cases, medical imaging tests taken before and after the accident show a visible change in an injury. In these situations, it may be much easier to validate a claim for worsening of a preexisting condition.
There may be situations where the victim was not receiving much treatment before the accident because the pre-existing injury did not require much treatment. Maybe the victim had done a lot of physical therapy and symptoms had significantly improved. Even though the victim was receiving less treatment, there would be documentation of an improvement in his or her condition. This could be compared to a post-accident assessment of a worsening of the victim’s preexisting condition.
It is important for accident victims to inform their doctors of worsening symptoms. Have a detailed discussion so this information can be included in your medical records and compared to your pre-accident medical records.
Your attorney will also communicate with your doctor and explain the legal standards of what is needed to document an aggravation claim. Magic legal words like “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” or “a substantial contributing factor” sometimes scare doctors when making an opinion. Without your doctor’s opinion, insurance companies will not provide proper compensation for the claim.
Evidence of a Limited Ability to Work
Your ability to work may be limited after a car crash, whether you suffered a new injury or an old one was aggravated. If you can provide evidence of a consistent work history before the crash, but you are unable to work after the crash or must work in a more limited capacity, it may help prove worsening of a preexisting injury.
It is also important to have a doctor’s note detailing your work limitations. Without a licensed doctor’s medical opinion that you need to stick to these limitations, the insurance company could just say you are exaggerating.
Employers, neighbors or coworkers could provide testimony about how an existing injury got worse after a car crash. These types of witnesses are referred to as “before and after witnesses.” They can speak to limitations in the workplace or a reduction in physical activity. For example, maybe you used to do a lot of exercising, such as riding a bicycle or going to the gym. Their statements about your physical activity before and after the crash can strengthen a claim for compensation.
Preexisting Injuries That Could Get Worse After a Car Crash
A car crash could make many injuries worse. However, this situation is quite common with the following types of injuries:
- Bones that were previously broken
- Neck pain
- Herniated discs
- Traumatic brain injuries
Car crashes could also worsen preexisting medical conditions like arthritis and degenerative disc disease.
Have Questions About the Legal Process? Call TSR Today
You need a trusted advocate to help you pursue full compensation for the damages you suffered. Even though this is a no-fault state and victims first seek compensation from their own insurance companies, you need to know insurance companies are focused on their profits. Even though you pay your premiums, they are looking for any reason to deny or undervalue your claim.
The experienced Bloomington-based vehicle accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law have recovered millions on behalf of crash victims and there are no upfront fees for our services. Our goal is the same as yours, recovering the most compensation possible to help you through this difficult time.
Give us a call today. We are ready to assist you: (612) TSR-TIME.