A common question is whether you can recover from aggravated injuries after a car accident? What does this mean? It simply refers to your past injuries becoming worse, after your accident. Here is a basic example. Driver A was involved in a car accident in December 2011, which was paid for by the insurance companies. His injuries included back and neck injuries. After months of treatment he was able to make a full recovery. In April of 2012 Driver A was rear ended by Driver B. As a result of the April 2012 accident Driver A’s previous back condition was made worse. So the question is whether the at fault driver in the April 2012 accident is responsible for the aggravated injury. The simple answer is yes. Under California you are responsible for all injuries caused by the accident. This means that even if the driver had prior back injuries, which were made worse, they are able to recover. Proving those injuries is a different story. However, it is possible to recover for pre-existing conditions, which were made worse.
Egg-Shell Plaintiff Rule in Personal Injury LawsuitsCalifornia law also permits the plaintiff to recover, even if they were highly sensitive. The law does not prejudice those who have certain conditions that make them sensitive to injury. For example, if the plaintiff has very brittle bones and fractures his/her spine during a rear end accident, recovery is permitted. Of course the insurance companies will fight this, but it is the law. In such cases, it is likely that you will need to litigate your claim for damages. So even if the plaintiff or a passenger has a condition, which makes them likely to suffer serious injury from a minor impact, the defendant will be liable. This is considered the egg-shell plaintiff rule.
Insurance Companies ViewpointEven though it is established law that recovery for such injuries is permitted, insurance companies will routinely deny a claim. Why? Remember, insurance companies are a business. This means they must generate a profit. Insurance companies also understand that not all attorneys are capable of taking on a case. And that most attorneys will settle your case. This is not what you want. What you need is someone who will fight for you. I know this expression is used all the time, but what does it mean? Fighting for your means, not settling until a fair value is given to your case. If a fair value is not assigned, then it is the responsibility of your attorney to file a lawsuit. Insurance companies will look at minor impact cases with skepticism and work tirelessly to deny you liability for damages. In-fact they have fought hard to lobby against soft tissue cases. Even though you can suffer serious injuries, unless you have an attorney willing to fight for your case, it will not such damages will not be considered compensable. Keep in mind that like any profitable corporation, insurance companies make money by denying your claim. This is the engine that drives their profitability and allows them to make considerable profits every year.
What Should You Do After Your Accident?You should do a few things after your accident. These steps are important so take note.
- Get medical attention, no matter what. You are not able to self diagnose. In fact that is one of the worst things you can do.
- Make no statements. Insurance companies will contact you after an accident if you are not represented to get a statement. They know that injured parties will not look for an attorney for at least 72-hours after the accident. As a result they will use this window of opportunity to get a statement, which will be recorded and used against you to deny coverage.
- Speak with a personal injury attorney. It doesn’t matter whether it is our firm, or someone else. What matters is that you get proper legal representation.