If you already suffer from a back injury, it serves to reason that you increase the risk of aggravating it during a car crash. Unfortunately, many insurance companies try to deny claims to accident victims when there is a pre-existing condition like a back injury. It’s important to know your rights after an auto accident because if your existing condition worsens, someone needs to be held responsible.
Sometimes, the insurance companies argue that pain after an accident actually has nothing to do with the accident if there was a pre-existing injury. This, of course, can be quite false. The law is fortunately on the victims’ side when their pre-existing back injuries are aggravated by a vehicle crash.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is a vital step in protecting your rights after you’ve been involved in a car crash. A good lawyer will be able to get you the compensation you are entitled to if you have suffered an injury or have exacerbated one.
An Aggravated Pre-existing Back Injury May Make You an “Eggshell Plaintiff”
Some courts have ruled that various pre-existing conditions including back injuries qualify accident victims as “eggshell plaintiffs.” Many laws state that if an accident victim has a pre-existing condition, the person responsible for the crash may still be to blame. These laws are in effect despite anything insurance companies claim.
The “eggshell plaintiff” concept holds that victims with pre-existing injuries are vulnerable to worsened conditions after accidents. People don’t normally choose to be in an auto wreck and they likely will avoid aggravating an existing injury at all costs. So, if a crash should occur, they have the right to claim recovery for medical claims and other damages associated with an aggravated injury.
Pre-existing Degenerative Disk Disease
Just about all people suffer from some level of degenerative disk disease and they might not even know they have it. Without experiencing any symptoms whatsoever prior to a crash, they could incur aggravation of the disease following an accident. The impact of a vehicle collision is often bad enough to severely harm a healthy person. With any stage of degenerative disk disease, the potential for long-term damage is real and substantial.
Degenerative disk disease involves deterioration of one or more intervertebral disks in the spinal column. The disorder develops gradually over many years, and sometimes over decades. It is sometimes aggravated by the stresses of normal life, but can be significantly impacted and accelerated by an auto crash.
If you have experienced pain after an accident or even if you have not, see a doctor immediately. You may have a new injury or it’s possible you aggravated an old one. The most common pre-existing back injuries that are aggravated in automobile accidents include:
- Degenerative disk disease
- Sciatica problems
- Injuries to ligaments or muscles in the back
- Fractured or dislocated spine
- Injuries causing compression of the nerves in the spine
Seeking Compensation for an Aggravated Back Injury
The insurance company for one or more parties involved in your auto accident may try to deny your personal injury claim. The lawyers for the insurers may argue that the companies aren’t liable for your expenses related to the injury because you already had an injury prior to the accident.
The court and the jury, however, will determine who is responsible for the pain you feel. If you experienced increased pain after your accident, the law says you can claim recovery of damages. Damages may include medical treatment to repair, or attempt to repair, your aggravated injury. When you work with a personal injury attorney after an auto accident, you must disclose any health problems you had prior to the crash. Even minor injuries should be shared with your lawyer. When your attorney understands your complete health picture, it’s more likely you will get a resolution in your favor.
Patterson Law Group’s team of personal injury lawyers want to help you if you’ve suffered an aggravated back injury as a result of a crash on our Texas roads. Fill out the form on this page and we’ll be in touch with you promptly to hear your story.