Winning Your Case When You Have Pre-Existing Injuries
To win your personal injury case, you need to show that the defendant’s actions or omissions (that is, what the defendant did wrong) caused your injuries. In some cases, that’s obvious—for example, if you fall and you hurt your elbow, which had been previously fine all of your life, it’s pretty clear that your injuries are caused by the accident.
But sometimes, causation is not so clear, because of what are known as pre-existing injuries. As the name implies, pre-existing injuries are any type of injury you may have had to the same body part that you injured in your accident. In fact, exacerbating a prior injury can be a very serious thing; many people who have had prior injuries are all the more susceptible to injury.
Who Has Pre-Existing Injuries?
Most everybody has some history of at least a minor injury. Some of us may have had work accidents, prior car accidents, sports accidents, or just injuries that happen to us as we age, and the wear and tear starts to take a toll on our bodies. The defendant will look at any and all of these, and say it is these things that caused our injuries—not the accident.
This is why the defendant in an accident case will often try to find anything it can in your medical history, no matter how minor, to undermine your case.
Let’s say that you were in a car accident, and you say that your lower back is now extremely painful. The defendant will look to see if maybe, 1, 5, or 10 years ago, you complained to your doctor about having lower back pain. Maybe you play sports, where lower back pain or injuries are common?
The defendant will use that to say that they did not actually cause your injuries in the current accident.
You Can Still Win Your Case
The good news in Florida is that even if you had a prior, pre-existing injury to the exact same part of your body that was injured in your current accident, you can still recover damages.
If it can, the jury must separate any injuries, pain, or disability, from any previous accident or injury, from the pain or disability that you now suffer, because of the current accident.
Sometimes, this is possible. But sometimes it is not; sometimes, the pain and disability that we had from something in our past “merges” with our current pain and suffering, and it is tough to tell where one ends and the other begins.
Again, there is good news for accident victims, because if the jury cannot parse out what pain and disability was caused by a pre-existing injury, or by the current accident, the jury is to assume that all of your pain, suffering and disability, are caused by the current accident.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today to give you the best shot at a good outcome in your injury case.