My name is Arlene, and two years ago, I was involved in a car accident that wasn't my fault. I had some injuries that required a hospital stay, and I was unable to return to work for several weeks. I didn't know how I was going to pay my bills, and it was very stressful for me. My friend told me that I needed to hire an accident and personal injury attorney so I could recover my lost wages and medical costs. I was so glad that I hired the attorney, and my stress level immediately went down. Through the attorney, I was able to get a settlement, and I was no longer in financial trouble. I am writing this blog to let everyone know the importance of hiring an attorney after an accident. It's my wish that this blog will help others who are in similar situations.
Pursuing an auto accident claim that involves a pre-existing injury is not easy. However, the following tips can help you succeed.
Pursue Full Compensation
The first thing you should know is that you don't deserve less compensation just because you had pre-existing injuries. You deserve full compensation even if your fragile state (pre-existing injury) triggered more serious injuries than you would have otherwise suffered.
Most states have the eggshell skull rule that you can use to pursue damages in this case. The doctrine allows fragile accident victims to collect full damages even if other people wouldn't have suffered similar damages. In short, the defendant should take you as they found you, and not as they wish you could be.
Prove Aggravated or New Injuries
The defendant is not required to compensate you for your preexisting injuries. They are only required to compensate you for the aggravation of the injuries or new injuries. For example, if you had a broken arm before the auto accident, the defendant won't compensate you for the injury if it doesn't worsen. However, if it was a simple fracture that worsened into a compound fracture, you deserve compensation for the aggravated injury. Thus, you will need to prove that your post-accident injuries are worse than the pre-accident injuries to get any compensation.
Don't Hide Preexisting Injury
One of the worst mistakes you can make with a case involving pre-existing injuries is to hide the preexisting injuries. There are two main ways to hide the preexisting injuries that can sabotage your case. First, if the defendant discovers the lie (highly likely), they might claim that you were hiding the injuries because you knew your entire injuries were preexisting. Secondly, if the defendant and the court learn of your lie, they will begin to doubt your entire case because you will lose your credibility.
Engage an Expert Witness
One of the hardest tasks you will have during your case is to differentiate the pre-existing injuries and the new or aggravated injuries. This is especially true if both injuries affected the same part of the body. For example, if you had back pain that worsened after an auto accident, it can be difficult to know how much of that pain is due to the auto accident. Consider using an expert witness to help the court understand just how much the accident has aggravated your pre-existing injuries.
In addition to the above tips, consider consulting an auto accident attorney. The lawyer's experience will come in handy when it comes to maximizing your recovery.