Personal injury accidents are quite common. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 31 million Americans suffer an injury each year that requires medical attention. Many people involved in a personal injury case will be dealing with injuries that worsened a pre-existing condition or situation. If this happens to pertain to you, it is important to fully understand your responsibilities and rights in these situations. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can prove to be beneficial as a result.
Limit Your Liability by Providing Full Disclosure of Prior Injuries
The last thing you want is for a judge to find that you are hiding medical information and not disclosing the truth. Be as honest as you possibly can by providing full disclosure of all of the prior injuries you've sustained that have worsened as a result of the accident. Failure to disclose all injuries to the court can result in impugning your credibility and also the worth of the overall claim.
For example, if you broke your leg several months ago biking and got into a car accident recently that broke the same leg again, you should definitely let your attorney and the judge know. The car accident injury would have worsened your pre-existing leg injury, causing a lot more damage. The accident may end up causing temporary disability or injuries resulting in a longer recovery.
Understanding the Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine
While some defendants may argue it is unfair for them to pay for additional medical expenses, as there was a pre-existing injury, most judges honor the eggshell plaintiff doctrine.
The eggshell plaintiff doctrine is an additional legal doctrine that generally applies to tort cases. It is used to determine the amount of responsibility that the defendants have in regards to the injuries sustained from the accident and is generally in favor of the plaintiff.
This doctrine basically argues that the defendant breached his or her duty, which resulted in the accident. As a result, he or she should be responsible for all of the expenses incurred. If the accident did not occur, the plaintiff would not be in a worsened state.
Collect Evidence by Comparing Medical Records from Before and After the Accident
Getting proof that an accident worsened a pre-existing injury shouldn't be difficult. Your doctor should easily be able to tell how the accident worsened your injury, and should be able to either provide you with a doctor's note or testify on your behalf as an expert witness. An expert witness can easily testify how the injury worsened and what can be expected as a result.
One of the strongest and most convincing pieces of evidence you can use is your medical records prior to and after the accident. For example, if you had x-rays or blood work done, compare the x-rays together to further prove the extent and severity of the damages caused. Clinical records stating the amount of pain you were in previously, diagnostic tests and other types of medical records should all be submitted as evidence. They will only help to support your case and prove your credibility.
If you have a pre-existing injury prior to the accident and it worsened, you want to be as honest as possible by fully disclosing all of your medical information, as it pertains to the case. If you don't, your credibility can become tainted and the ruling may not sway in your favor. Speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the type of evidence you need to provide and the type of defense you should bring up should the defendant attempt to downplay their liability and involvement in the accident.