Can You Recover if Your Accident Aggravates an Old Injury?
Summary: One of the more common situations that I run across is when a client who already has an old injury such as a trick knee or a bad back and the new accident makes the old injury worse. Do not assume that you cannot recover for the new injuries because you can.
So you have been involved in an accident. You were not in perfect condition before the accident. Perhaps you had an old injury to your back. Perhaps your prior back injury had not flared up in years or perhaps you noticed minor pain only when performing certain activities. After the accident, you notice that the pain levels have increased. You may even have additional symptoms, such as numbness in an extremity. You may find that you are unable to perform activities which you able to perform prior to the accident. Now, you are worried that if you go see a personal injury attorney that they will tell you that you have no case. So, the million dollar question is whether you can recover monetary damages for the aggravation of a preexisting condition.
Florida Standard Jury Instructions
The standard Florida Jury Instruction which speaks to this issue states,
If you find that the defendant caused a bodily injury, and that the injury resulted in [an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect] [or] [activation of a latent disease or physical defect], you should attempt to decide what portion of (claimant’s) condition resulted from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by (claimant).
Jury Instructions are provided to the jury when they are ready to deliberate the case at trial. A careful reading of the jury instruction in this instance, give us the answer. Yes, you can recover for worsening of an old injury. The jury must attempt to apportion the damages between the old injury and the negligent driver who caused the new injuries. If they cannot apportion those damages, you will be awarded all of the damages caused by the injury.
The next logical question asked by someone who has been in an accident and suffered an injury which aggravates an old injury is, “How can I prove that the accident caused my current pain an injury?” It is a fair question. A good personal injury attorney will use a variety of methods to prove that the new injury has aggravated a preexisting condition. Evidence which will assist in proving your case includes:
1. Your own testimony. You know how much pain you were in both before and after the accident.
2. The testimony of your friends and relatives. The guy that you ran a 5k with the week prior to the accident will make an extremely convincing witness.
3. The testimony of doctors.
4. Expert testimony.
Have you been involved in an accident caused by another
driver which your injuries consisted of aggravating old injuries? Contact an experienced
Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or occupant of a car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call The Law Offices of Bobby Jones at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
The Law Offices of Bobby Jones
6570 30th Avenue North
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