West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyers on How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Impact Your Case

Every year, about 50 million Americans visit hospital emergency rooms and doctor’s offices to treat unintentional injuries. About 6% of all adults in the U.S. suffer an activity-limiting injury every 3 months. So it’s more common than many people realize for one who has already been injured to endure another that exacerbates the first.Palm Beach injury lawyer

Such prior injuries can complicate matters if you decide to pursue legal action for those injuries – but it does not eliminate your chances, particularly if you’re working with skilled West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers.

When Prior Injuries Pose Problems in Personal Injury Cases

Sometimes prior injuries and ailments have no bearing on a prospective personal injury case. For example, if the prior injury was a shoulder rotator cuff issue from repetitive motion at work but the new injury mostly impacted your knee, leg, and foot, it may not be an issue at all. It could be mentioned, but likely will have little bearing on the outcome of your case.

However, if the new injury is in the same area as the old one, your West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers will be asking the extent to which the new injury made the old one worse.

If an old injury is aggravated by a new one, you can be compensated for that. This is well-established legal precedence, essentially holding that a previous injury or illness doesn’t excuse the defendant for being held accountable to the full impact of their negligence. If your old injury is worse because of the new injury that was caused by someone else’s carelessness, you’re entitled to compensation for that.

However, defense lawyers in these cases will often harp on old injuries.

And the burden of proof to establish aggravation of an existing injury was the result of the defendant’s negligence is on the plaintiff (person who was hurt). We must show by a preponderance of the evidence that your condition worsened as a result of the new injury (as caused by the defendant) and the extent to which that adversely impacted your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Making the Case for Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions

The court will not simply presume the most recent incident worsened your old injury. This fact has to be clearly asserted and then supported by evidence.

There was an example of this recently in a car accident lawsuit before a Florida appellate court, where plaintiff sought damages from her own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The insurer had no problem conceding the other driver was negligent in causing the crash. However, the extent of plaintiff’s injuries were contested. She alleged the crash caused her serious neck and back pain. However, she had been seeing a chiropractor for neck and back pain for years prior to the crash – most recently just days before.

Although the pain had previously been manageable, it was much worse after the crash – and she was going to need surgery. However, she failed to have a medical expert witness testify specifically to the fact that her pre-existing condition was worsened by the crash. She also failed to claim special damages for aggravation of a pre-existing injury, as required by Florida law if you plan to do so.

She won her case at trial, but the appellate court ended up reversing and remanding for a new trial based on this shortcoming.

Bottom line: If you have a pre-existing illness or injury that is made worse in a subsequent accident caused by someone else, it’s critical that you hire an experienced Palm Beach injury lawyer who has a track record of success in similar cases.

Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Dees, 1908, Florida Supreme Court

More Blog Entries:

Will My Palm Beach Car Accident Case Go To Trial? May 4, 2024, West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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