In a car accident case, pre-existing conditions, diseases or defects can be considered in any claim for damages. Florida’s jury instruction on “causation” or “injury causation” requires that the injured party prove that the negligence is a legal cause of injury. Legal cause is defined as “loss, injury or damage if it directly and in natural and continuous sequence produces or contributes substantially to producing such loss, injury or damage so that it can reasonably be said that, but for the negligence, the loss, injury or damage would not have occurred”. After an accident, defense attorneys and insurance adjusters will carefully examine a claim to find information to support the position that their client is not responsible for injuries. Despite the extent of an individual’s injuries, they will try to prove their client isn’t liable through medical records. In reviewing the medical records, they are hoping to find evidence of any pre-existing conditions. Information about pre-existing conditions in an injured individual’s medical history will allow for the argument that all or some of the damages are not eligible for compensation. If you are involved in an accident and have pre-existing conditions, it is important to hire a competent personal injury attorney with experience handling this issue.
An Overview of Pre-Existing Conditions
If an individual has prior medical injuries or conditions and is then injured in a new accident, the injury they had prior to the new accident is referred to as a pre-existing condition. As stated earlier, pre-existing conditions can be considered in any claim. Some examples of pre-existing conditions include herniated discs, injuries to the neck, injuries to the shoulder, injuries to the knees, asthma, arthritis, as well as congenital conditions.
Pre-Existing Conditions and Your Car Accident Case
Often, pre-existing conditions affect how much compensation is received under Florida law. Where pre-existing conditions are proven, a lesser amount may be awarded. However, a pre-existing condition does not completely bar an individual from collecting damages. Often times medical care provided shortly after an accident and any time missed from work are compensible. Sometimes, however, pre-existing conditions have little impact on the defendant’s liability and the defendant can be 100 percent liable for injuries. Under Florida law, “causation” helps determine how pre-existing conditions impact new injuries. An individual cannot be prevented from collecting damages if they are hurt in any way that is independent from their pre-existing injury or if the new accident aggravates their pre-existing condition.
Wittmer|Linehan has extensive experience litigating personal injury cases and dealing with the issue of pre-existing conditions. Our attorneys understand that arguing pre-existing conditions and protecting your right to compensation can be difficult. Our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys understand the complexities involving pre-existing conditions in personal injury claims and can help you get the results you deserve. We treat each case as if it will proceed to trial. This allows our attorneys and staff to properly evaluate and investigate your case and maximize your ultimate recovery. We understand that results matter for our clients and that your pre-existing condition should not be a barrier to fair compensation for your damages. Call us at (941) 365-2296 to discuss your personal injury matter.