If some of my injuries were present before an accident, can I still sue?
Getting in an accident is bad enough when you are in perfect health. If you have already been injured, things can be much worse. You were already suffering, and now you might be suffering even worse. You may wonder if you will be able to bring a personal injury suit if you had pre-existing injuries. After all, you may wonder, why would anyone believe that you had been hurt before? Why would the law want to help you if you had already been injured? Fortunately, the law has already answered the question of what happens when an injured person gets injured again.
What the Suit is About
It’s important to stop and remember why you bring a suit. A lawsuit isn’t an attempt to get rich or even an attempt to punish the other party. Rather, a lawsuit is an attempt to help you be made whole once again. If you were injured, it is entirely possible that you can be injured worse than before. You may have reached an equilibrium in your life where you were dealing with the injury just fine, or you may have even been on the way to getting treatment. When you were involved in your accident, you had your life disrupted. It is only fair, then, that you are given a chance to be put on the track to health once again.
Of course, it’s not always possible to put you back in the state you were before. If you were injured, the court doesn’t have an interest in just making you injured again. The interest lies in putting you back on that track to health or, failing that, back on the track to being able to live something resembling a normal life.
The Eggshell Plaintiff
The term eggshell plaintiff can be used to describe an party who is somehow more delicate or easier to injure than average. The idea is that it doesn’t matter the plaintiff’s health – you take the injured party as they are. It doesn’t matter if the extent of the injuries are foreseen in an accident, only that the accident occurs and that the other party was at fault. As such, the law is more than prepared to deal with the idea that a party can be injured and can be further injured by a new accident. It may not be easy to determine the fault or exactly what happened, but the law is more than prepared to deal with the basic situation.
The Hard Fight
This, of course, does not mean that you are in for an easier fight just because you have pre-existing injuries. What the other side will want to prove, and perhaps rightfully so, is that the damage you sustained in your accident was pre-existing. Think of your suit as if you were dealing with a car accident – you wouldn’t want to pay for damage that had occurred to the car before the accident, so you’d want to prove that you were only liable for new injuries. It makes a kind of logical sense, and it’s something for which your attorney will be prepared.
Just because the other side makes the argument, though, doesn’t mean they’ll win. Your attorney will show evidence that your injuries were caused by the accident and that the other party exacerbated what had already occurred. This isn’t always an easy fight, especially if it’s hard to tell when the injuries occurred, but it’s still something that’s done on a fairly regular basis. Don’t let the fact that you have a pre-existing injury make you afraid of bringing a legitimate suit to court. You deserve to be made whole.
You can absolutely sue if some of your injuries were present before the accident. While you can’t get any restitution for old injuries, you may be able to get restitution if the new accident made your old injuries worse. This is a complex type of case, and something that absolutely requires the help of a skilled attorney who has experience in personal injury law. A personal injury suit doesn’t rely on what’s happened before your incident, but rather what happened due to the fault of the other person. You will not be punished simply because something else has happened to you in the past.