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Will a Pre-existing Injury Affect My Injury Claim after a Car Accident?

By March 6, 2019Car Accidents

The purpose of a car accident lawsuit is to compensate the victim for any injuries and economic losses she has suffered. But what happens if the victim already had a pre-existing injury? For example, a motorist might have sprained her back at work while lifting something heavy. After the car accident, she complains that her back hurts, but is the car accident really to blame?

In short, whether you can receive compensation will depend on several factors, such as the severity of the injury before the car accident. An injured motorist can still receive compensation but probably should have an experienced car accident lawyer to assist them.

Has Your Injury Gotten Worse?

Let’s say you hurt your knee while playing football. You then get into a fender bender and your knee slams into the dashboard. Now you feel even more pain.

In this example, you might be able to get compensation because your pre-existing injury has been made even worse. If your knee was no worse after the accident than before, then you can’t receive any money for it. A negligent driver only needs to compensate you for injuries they have caused.

Assess whether your injury is really worse after the accident. Pain is often a good indicator, as is difficulty moving or using the affected limb. If you feel much worse, then you might have worsened your pre-existing injury.

Can You Prove the Accident Aggravated Your Injury?

It’s one thing to claim you feel more pain, but you really need to prove that the accident caused material damage to your body. Often, this means getting an MRI or other scan that can show additional injury or damage.

Let’s say you had a hairline fracture on your rib before the car accident. Now, after getting T-boned, your rib cleanly breaks in two. In this example, you could present x-rays showing the additional injury that the car accident caused.

Things are more complicated if you have a degenerative illness. For example, you might slowly be going blind. If you struck your head on the steering wheel and are suddenly blinded, it can be hard to establish that the accident is the sole blame. After all, your blindness might just be the natural progression of the degenerative condition.

How Much Compensation Can You Receive?

If you can prove that the accident clearly aggravated your pre-existing injury, then you should be able to receive compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

The amount you can receive will depend on how much worse the accident made your injuries. You might have been rehabbing a knee injury using only a brace and physical therapy. After a car accident, you might need surgery, so the driver should cover the costs of this additional treatment.

Speak to DC Law Today

The above are only some of the considerations that go into settling a car accident claim when you have a pre-existing injury. For more individualized attention to your case, please contact an Austin car accident lawyer today at 512-220-1800.