Injured Before an Accident? Will a Previous Injury Limit your Recovery?

When a person is injured in a motorcycle, automobile, slip/fall, or other accident and they are not solely at fault, an evaluation must take place to determine the severity of that person’s injuries. Note, a person can still recover monetary compensation for their injuries even if they are at fault. California law allows for recovery based on comparing the fault of the parties involved in the accident. The evaluation used to determine the severity of a person’s injuries includes assessing whether the injured person had any preexisting ailments. If so, the next question to be asked is whether the preexisting ailment was aggravated as a result of the accident?

Injuries that occur days, months, or even years before the day of the present accident may increase your amount of recovery. For instance, let’s say you are a passenger in an automobile that is struck from behind by a drunk driver. The accident causes you to slip a vertebral disc in your spine. You see a doctor and notify him that you broke your back while riding a bicycle when you were 16-years-old. Your doctor provides treatment and refers you to a physical therapist for rehabilitation. Now, you decide to bring a lawsuit against the drunk driver to pay for your medical bills and recover other compensation for your injuries. However, you are unsure whether doing so is even worth it, considering your back was previously injured.

Obviously, you will be entitled to some compensation for your injuries. But at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn we strive to maximize the compensation for your injuries. Prior injuries may not affect your case at all or in some instances may entitle you to even greater compensation. Regardless of how minor or old your prior injury is, if the new injury aggravated your prior injury, even slightly, you will be entitled to compensation. A defendant cannot escape liability by contending the damages would not have been incurred but for the preexisting condition.

The lesson to be learned is that a prior injury is not an absolute bar to recovery. If you or a loved one is presented with a situation similar to the one described above, please give us a call and allow the experienced attorneys at Aitken * Aitken * Cohn to fully evaluate your case.

Atticus Wegman, Esq.