At our firm, Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have heard this question hundreds of times from prospective clients. I was hurt in a car accident, but I already had a painful back or neck. Can I still sue to receive compensation for my injuries?
The short answer is yes. If you are in more pain after the accident than you were in before then you can sue to recover compensation for that increased pain, the law refers to that as an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. So, just because you may have had a car accident years ago and, for example, suffered a herniated disc in your back as a result of that accident, if your most recent accident caused your back to now be more symptomatic and painful you may sue for that increased pain.
Another argument often heard is that a “normal" healthy individual would not have been injured in the light collision that caused almost no damage to the vehicle but, because you already had a bad back that is the reason you were caused to suffer this injury. This is what is known in the law as the “egg-shell” plaintiff.
The classic “egg-shell” plaintiff is an elderly person that trips and falls on a sidewalk and fractures a hip. The radiology studies now show that the person suffered the fracture because they had very thin and brittle bones. The law is clear that even if you have an underlying medical condition that makes your body more susceptible to an injury you may still sue and recover compensation for your injuries.
Because proving injuries that are an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, or an injury suffered by an “eggshell” plaintiff, are more complicated than proving an injury such as a fracture suffered in an accident, it is important to choose a lawyer that has experience in this area as well as the resources to hire the right experts to prove the injuries and the damages suffered. You may require experts such as a radiologist to compare your old and new MRIs and explain the difference in your condition from before and after your recent accident, as well as an orthopedist to explain the treatment needed and the permanency of your condition.
If you or a loved one were injured in an airplane accident, then contact us today for a free consultation. Our lawyers have the experience, knowledge and skill to help you obtain the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.
At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have more than 300 years of collective experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation for their injuries. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys.