If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be concerned you will not receive full compensation for the injuries you sustained in a car accident. For example, before the car accident you sometimes experienced lower back pain after lifting something heavy or standing on your feet for several hours. While this pain limited a few of your activities, it did not dramatically affect your lifestyle. However, after being injured in a car accident that was not your fault, your minor back problem is now a severe medical condition. You are facing back surgery and are unable to return to work.
Can you recover all of your damages from the other driver? The answer is yes.
Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
In personal injury cases in California, if a victim of a car accident has a pre-existing medical condition, he or she is referred to as an “eggshell plaintiff.” This simply means that a car accident victim who had a pre-existing medical condition was more vulnerable to injury compared to someone without a pre-existing condition. This does not mean an eggshell plaintiff cannot collect all of his or her damages after being injured in a car accident.
As with any car accident, the accident victim must prove the other driver is liable for the accident and that the victim suffered injuries because of the accident. If the injury from the accident aggravated or worsened a pre-existing medical condition, medical records and statements from medical providers are used to prove that the accident caused the pre-existing medical condition to become worse. The accident victim can receive full compensation for the damage caused by the accident even though the damage may not have been as severe had the person not already had a pre-existing medical condition.
The personal injury laws in California are very clear on this subject. When a car accident case goes to trial with an eggshell plaintiff, the judge will instruct the jury with regard to the law as it pertains to the pre-existing medical condition. Jury instruction CACI 3927 reads:
“Plaintiff is not entitled to damages for any physical or emotional condition that he/she had before defendant’s conduct occurred. However, if plaintiff had a physical or emotional condition that was made worse by defendant’s wrongful conduct, you must award damages that will reasonably and fairly compensate him/her for the effect on that condition.” (emphasis added)
As you can see, it is clear that if your condition was “made worse” by the car accident, the jury should “award damages” to “compensate” you for the effect the car accident had on your pre-existing medical condition.
If you have been injured in a car accident that has aggravated a pre-exiting medical condition, you can receive full compensation for your damages. Contact my office to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and your legal rights to receive compensation for your injuries.
Contact an Experienced Long Beach Car Accident Attorney to Assist with Your Claim
“Your Injuries are Personal to Me”
My law practice exclusively represents personal injury victims and does so with a deep understanding of their suffering and an absolute commitment to their recovery. I take your injuries personally, and that is why I directly handle all aspects of every case to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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