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Proving Pre-Existing Injuries at Trial

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When someone is injured because of the negligence of others, they deserve to be compensated, even if they have a pre-existing mental or physical medical condition. Some common pre-existing conditions can include or involve back and neck pain.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans aged 45 and under. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of adults have chronic pain in their lower back, and name it as a common reason they go to the doctor.

In addition, approximately 50 percent of adults in the U.S. have suffered from neck pain, and 126.6 million—or 50 percent of American adults—are affected by musculoskeletal issues.

The bottom line is this, back and neck injuries are very common. It is also very common for people with preexisting back or neck pain to be injured further by the negligence of others. When this happens, you can still seek compensation for the damages that are caused or made worse by the negligence.

When you suffer from additional back pain, neck pain, or any other musculoskeletal conditions, it is the lawyer’s job to help the jury understand just how your life was severely impacted by the defendant’s negligent or reckless actions. When you have preexisting conditions, you will need witnesses to corroborate your story and win your case. Anyone who is in touch with you in any capacity is a potential witness.

With pre-existing back, neck or musculoskeletal conditions, it is critical for your lawyer to get your doctors records and make sure your lawyer knows your full medical history. Beyond the records themselves, your attorney must know answers to the following questions:

  • What physical activity did you engage in before the accident?
  • How has your activity changed since the accident or injury? How has your physical activity decreased?
  • What are your new injuries? Do you experience any new pain since the accident?
  • What is your personality like?
  • Are you active in the community?

It is the lawyer’s job to make it obvious in the mind of the jurors that the accident caused the injury, and therefore the defendant is at fault for your injuries. Your attorney must prove that the accident and the injuries are causally linked and must rule out any other possible causes of the injury, both of which may require expert testimony to achieve.

Another matter to consider is the eggshell plaintiff rule. This states that the defendant must take the plaintiff as they existed at the time of the accident, regardless of the existing health of the plaintiff, even if the accident only made an existing condition worse. Again, separating the before from the after is a difficult task that must be supported by credible evidence.

For these reasons, using competent expert testimony may be vital to make your case against a reckless or negligent defendant and obtain compensation for your injuries especially if you have pre-existing injuries.

If you have preexisting injuries that are made worse by the negligence of someone else, to obtain compensation for those injuries it is critical that your lawyer present the types of evidence required to separate the new or enhanced injuries from the prior condition. The lawyers at The McCraw Law Group are experienced proving up these difficult claims. If you find yourself in this situation, call us.