Occasionally, a pre-existing injury can affect the amount that a plaintiff can recover for injuries in a personal injury claim. Sometimes, the damages award may be reduced if it is later found that an injury was actually a re-injury of a prior existing injury.
A pre-existing injury is an injury or medical condition that was present before the accident occurred. It is possible for old injuries to be aggravated following a more recent accident. If this happens, it can make it difficult to determine the liability of the person responsible for the accident. This is because it would be unfair to hold the defendant liable for damages for injuries that were already present, rather than the ones caused due to the defendant's own negligence.
For example, suppose that a car accident victim had a neck injury from before the accident. If this person then received a whiplash injury from the car accident, it might be difficult to tell whether the new neck injury would have been less severe if not for the prior neck injury. If it is found that the whiplash simply aggravated the older neck injury, it may reduce the amount of damages that the victim can claim.
In order to determine whether or not a new injury exacerbated a previous injury, an expert medical witness may be required. Expert medical testimony can calculate the percentage that the defendant may be liable for. It could be necessary to look at factors such as the difference in time between the previous injury and the current one. In some cases this can be a very complex determination and may also require the assistance of a personal injury attorney or other professionals.
Personal injury claims are all different. For instance, if a person who have never experienced a brain injury falls down a flight of stairs and suffers a concussion will have a different case than, perhaps, a former football player who has suffered several concussions over time would in the same situation. What will make the biggest impact is the attorney you choose. The Chicago personal injury attorneys from Nemeroff Law Offices are prepared to help you will all legal matters following your injury.
For more information, contact Nemeroff Law Offices at 312–629–8800.