Car accidents are incredibly traumatic to the body. If you were already dealing with a physical ailment, such as a back or neck injury, a crash could make your condition a lot worse.
If an Ontario car accident aggravated a preexisting condition, you can seek compensation for additional treatment you would not have otherwise needed, in addition to compensation for new injuries caused by the crash.
The challenge is proving the crash is the reason your injury worsened. The insurance company is going to argue this is a natural progression of the injury.
Greg Monforton and Partners is committed to securing full compensation for your injuries and damages. Our Windsor vehicle accident lawyers have been helping crash victims in Windsor and throughout Ontario for decades.
Call to schedule your free legal consultation. Call (866) 320-4770.
What is a Preexisting Condition?
A preexisting condition is an injury or medical condition you were dealing with before the accident occurred. An example would be a herniated disc that doctors diagnosed before you were involved in a car crash. You were dealing with the injury before the accident, and it was in no way caused by the accident.
Preexisting Conditions That Could be Aggravated in a Crash
There are any number of preexisting injuries or conditions that could get aggravated in a vehicle accident. Some of the more common medical problems that could get worse after a crash include:
- Fractured bones
- Knee injuries, such as sprained or torn ligaments
- Herniated discs
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Chronic back pain
- Concussion and other traumatic brain injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- And more
Your body could suffer a variety of impacts during the collision. Your head could get violently whipped forward and backward, aggravating your preexisting back or spinal cord problems. Your arms or legs could hit the steering wheel, dashboard or windows hard enough to worsen an existing fracture.
We tend to tense our bodies in the moments before a collision with another vehicle, which increases the risk of injuries. This is because when you tense up, the impact of the collision can transfer throughout your body. For example, the force of the collision could transfer from your hands into your shoulders, aggravating existing injuries to these joints.
Can I Include a Preexisting Condition in My Claim?
You can seek compensation for the aggravation of a preexisting injury. However, you must prove the aggravation would not have occurred unless the crash also occurred. In other words, you can seek compensation for aggravation of a preexisting condition, if this aggravation is linked directly to the crash and would not have happened otherwise.
This concept is known as the crumbling skull rule. The goal of this concept is to help ensure victims have a chance to return to the position they were in before the accident. For example, victims with back injuries should have a chance to recover compensation to help them get their back injury back to where it was before the crash.
How do I Prove Worsening of a Preexisting Injury?
The challenge with recovering compensation for the worsening of an existing medical issue is proving the crash is the reason why your preexisting injury got worse. You can bet the insurance company is going to argue your injury would have gotten worse anyway.
You need the help of an experienced lawyer to build a strong argument for why you should receive compensation for worsening of your old injury. This evidence is likely to include:
Medical Records From Before and After the Accident
One way to show an injury was aggravated by a car crash is to compare your pre- and post-accident treatment for your preexisting condition.
For example, maybe you suffered a back injury years earlier and it only caused minimal pain. Your medical records would show that this was not a significant injury, and it was not something that required a lot of monitoring. Maybe you took some over-the-counter medication to manage the pain, but you only had to do this every now and then.
If the injury gets worse after the crash, you are likely to need a lot more treatment. That means a lot more appointments with doctors, which will be noted in your medical records. Notes about your treatment will also be different – you may be reporting greater pain and other debilitating symptoms that did not exist previously. This is clear evidence that your injury got worse after the crash.
Your medical records will provide even stronger proof if they contain imaging tests from before and after the crash that show clear differences.
Your doctors are likely to note the potential cause of your worsened condition in your records. For example, the doctor may say you reported more pain and other symptoms following a car accident.
Evidence of Missed Time at Work
If you are missing work more often because of your preexisting medical issue, records of your absences and the reasons for those absences can be strong evidence in an auto accident claim. These records can be especially important if you were not missing work that often before the accident. This implies a strong causal connection between the crash and your worsened condition.
Evidence of your diminished capacity to work can be helpful, but it works best when combined with other evidence, such as medical records and testimony from friends and family members.
Testimony From People in Your Life
While victims know best how an injury or medical condition affects them, others in the victim’s life know a lot as well. For example, your spouse or close friends may be able to explain how your preexisting injury has gotten worse since the crash.
They can explain what you were like before the crash and how you have changed since then. Maybe you can no longer take part in the recreational activities you once enjoyed. Maybe you are not as physically active as you used to be, and your friends and family members have noticed.
Back and neck injuries could make it difficult to sleep. Victims often struggle to get comfortable. Lack of sleep can affect a person’s mood and their energy level.
Testimony From a Medical Expert
It may be necessary to bring in a medical expert who can explain how you are not dealing with the natural progression of your injury. He or she can explain how the crash affected the area of your body that was affected by the preexisting injury. The expert can review records from before the crash to explain how your injury was likely to progress if the crash did not happen.
Call Greg Monforton and Partners After a Car Crash
The legal process after a car accident has many steps. Managing this process on your own is a lot to ask, considering you have a significant injury.
Greg Monforton and Partners is here to help. We have been representing the injured in Windsor and the surrounding areas for decades. We have obtained hundreds of millions in compensation.
Our legal services come with no upfront costs. We do not get paid unless our clients receive compensation.
We are ready to assist you during this difficult time. Call today: (866) 320-4770.