If you are injured in an accident, whether a motor vehicle mishap or slip and fall on the premises of another party, and you have a pre-existing medical condition or injury, what should you know to ensure that you will receive the fairest amount of compensation for your injuries as they exist after your most recent accident? This is the first part of an article that addresses this circumstance.
Plaintiffs with pre-existing conditions may still receive damage awards for later injuries. A defendant must take plaintiffs as they find them, which is in the condition they were in at the time of the accident. This legal concept is known as the “soft-shell” plaintiff. If an accident victim is injured independently of the pre-existing condition or if the victim’s well-being was damaged by the accident, which would include any the worsening of the pre-existing condition, causation under the law exists and recovery is proper. Thus, it is important that the injured party and potential plaintiff undertake certain actions to maximize his or her recovery.
First and foremost, it is important to make sure that you fully and promptly disclose any pre-existing injuries or conditions. Your credibility is crucial to any recovery. Showing up for a deposition wearing a neck brace or holding your back and complaining of pain for the first time is not the best way of demonstrating honesty or truthfulness.
Second, Request your past and current medical records immediately. If your pre-existing condition was serious enough to warrant a physician’s recommendation of medical tests like MRIs or CT scans, and you took such tests, obviously, updated tests will be necessary. An experienced personal injury attorney can compare past and present medical records, consult with your physicians, as well as test results, to objectively determine how the accident aggravated your preexisting condition. Your attorney can help you enlist the necessary expert witnesses to provide testimony of the medical facts to reliably measure and describe your condition currently but also before the accident.
Physicians as expert witnesses can testify as to how the accident affected the plaintiff’s condition by reviewing medical records like X-rays and MRIs taken within relevant time frames. Testimony of experts can ascertain relevant evidence related to the plaintiff’s pain, disability, and necessary future care before and after the accident. If some permanent disability has resulted because of the accident, some percentage of which is attributable to the prior condition or injury, an expert can apportion the extent of the plaintiff’s disability aggravated by the accident.
Lehman Franklin, P.C. is located at 127 North Main Street in Statesboro, GA (30458). We proudly serve Bulloch County, as well as the surrounding counties of Chatham, Candler, Evans, Bryan, Effingham, Screven, and Jenkins. Contact our office by telephone at 912-764-9616, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out online at hlfranklin.com. We’re available to meet your legal needs Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM.