Pre-Existing Injuries in Auto Accidents
In many Pennsylvania car accident lawsuits, pre-existing injuries will be an issue. A pre-existing injury is any injury that occurred prior to the accident, i.e., old back injuries, knee injuries and even mental health issues. Oftentimes, a recent accident causes a flare-up of an old injury, or can worsen an old injury.
For example, a Philadelphia resident is injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver. In the accident, the Philly resident suffers neck and back injuries. However, the individual’s neck was previously injured at work a few years back. As a result of the car accident, the neck pain is worsened.
How Does a Pre-Existing Injury Affect the Lawsuit?
Whether a pre-existing injury derails a car accident injury lawsuit will depend on the experience and skill of the lawyer. The plaintiff (injured person) in the case cannot make the grave mistake of lying or hiding any of their pre-existing injuries. Doing so would be detrimental to the case, since these types of issues are easily uncovered in prior medical records.
It’s crucial to deal with the pre-existing injury head on, and present any flare-up or worsening as an aggravation of a prior condition. In other words, because of the current accident, the individual’s old injury was reactivated or worsened in some way.
The Importance of Medical Evidence (Pre and Post Accident)
The key to winning a car accident case with a pre-existing injury issue is presenting medical evidence. It’s important to present BOTH pre and post accident medical records, including diagnostic test records, and then differentiate those records.
Using the example above, let’s say the injured individual received treatment for the old neck injury in 2014 which included an MRI, prescription medications and physical therapy. The MRI showed slight herniations at C 4-5 and 5-6. Treatment lasted about 8 months and concluded in late 2014. Fast forward to the present accident. The latest MRI shows serious herniations at the same discs, in addition to nerve compression. The individual ends up needing multiple injections into the discs and ultimately a cervical discectomy, a surgery where part of the disc that compresses on the nerve is shaved off or removed.
In this example, it’s pretty clear that the current accident caused a significant worsening of the prior neck condition. By comparing the MRI results from before and after the accident, it’s clear that what were slight herniations in 2014 became more severe and resulted in nerve compression after the car accident.
Philadelphia, PA Car Accident Law Firm – FREE CONSULTATIONS
Our law firm handles all types of car accident injury cases across the Philadelphia area including the suburbs. Firm founder Jordan Namerow is a passionate lawyer who works diligently for his clients. Here’s a March 2018 review by a former client:
“Jordan Namerow is a lawyer who goes above and beyond. I truly appreciated the communication regarding updates about my case and the legal advice that was given. I would highly recommend Jordan Namerow to anyone seeking legal representation on a personal injury case.” – April Green