Prior injuries can affect your current personal injury claim. Even if your previous injury occurred years ago to different body parts, insurance adjusters and defense lawyers will try to blame the current injury on a previous injury.
While victims in personal injury cases are not entitled to receive payment for injuries unaffected by an accident, they are entitled to compensation for the degree that the accident exacerbated or aggravated the prior injury. A prior injury is considered “exacerbated” when it is made worse temporarily by the accident in question. On the other hand, the prior injury is considered “aggravated” if the prior injury is made worse permanently by the recent accident. Whether your injury is deemed exacerbated or aggravated will impact the settlement you are offered.
How to Get Fair Compensation
As the victim, you will inevitably face questions from the opposing side about your prior injuries. As a personal injury attorney, our goal is to prove the negligence of the at-fault party, of course, as well as how the accident worsened the prior injury.
- Prove negligence. A fault is one of the most important aspects of your personal injury claim in Alabama. To receive fair compensation, you must prove the defendant’s negligence by showing:
- A person or business did something careless, illegal or otherwise wrong.
- How the act of wrongdoing caused harm to you (directly or indirectly) led to bodily injuries and medical bills.
- The person or business who caused this harm or their insurance company has the money to pay you damages.
- Disclose prior injuries. The opposing party will dig into the victim’s medical records with the sole goal of uncovering a preexisting injury on which they can blame the new injury. This is why it’s imperative to disclose your prior injuries from the start. Hiding prior injuries will only hurt your claim’s credibility.
- Prove where the new injury began OR the extent to which the prior injury was worsened. In personal injury claims involving prior injuries, medical records and a doctor’s opinion are the best pieces of evidence. A doctor’s narrative can prove where your prior injuries end and your new injuries began or how they were worsened by the accident. The good news is that having a previous injury and regular medical treatment will make producing thorough medical records easier.
What to Know About the “Eggshell Skull Rule”
The “eggshell skull rule” (also known as the “take your victim as you find him” rule) is a legal concept that applies to preexisting conditions in personal injury cases. Generally speaking, this rule states that the victim’s vulnerability to an injury cannot be used as a defense against a claim. The negligent party is still legally responsible for all consequences even if the injuries were worse than one normally would have expected. Despite what the name implies, the rule encompasses any preexisting medical conditions.
Don’t Let a Prior Injury Discourage You from Filing a Claim
Regardless of the state of your health before an accident, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney to file a claim. Having a prior or preexisting injury does not disqualify you from receiving fair compensation — even if the current injury worsened a prior injury.
Call Mark Petro of Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys
Mark Petro has built a reputation of being the go-to guy to get personal injury claims handled in a manner that maximizes the amount of recovery so that you get what you deserve sooner rather than later. Call Mark Petro of Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys for a free consultation about your case. Let us fight for you!