At-fault parties in a motor vehicle accident will work hard to keep compensation as low as possible. They may try to prove that your injuries were not caused by the accident or try to downplay their severity. To lower the amount a victim may claim in compensation, at-fault parties often assert that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, New Jersey law allows plaintiffs to be compensated for their pre-existing injuries if those conditions become aggravated after the car crash. If you wish to file a personal injury claim for injuries sustained after a car crash but are worried that a pre-existing condition could affect the result, then contact a lawyer to discuss your case.
Common Pre-Existing Conditions
Trauma from car crashes could aggravate or worsen an existing condition or old injury. Some common conditions at risk of worsening after a car accident include:
• Herniated disc
• Degenerative disc disease
• The strain of the lower back
• Bones broken in the past
• Injuries to the knees and shoulders
• Old brain injuries, including concussions
New Jersey Pre-existing Condition Compensation Rights
In New Jersey, you may be eligible for compensation for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition if negligence caused the incident. It is unlikely your claim would be rejected solely because you have an existing medical condition or injury if the condition was aggravated or worsened.
The Eggshell Doctrine
The Eggshell Doctrine refers to a legal concept governing cases with aggravated pre-existing conditions. According to the doctrine, victims could be entitled to compensation for sustained injuries if:
• their pre-existing condition was stable;
• there is no reason for the victim to think that their situation could change if not for the accident.
The Eggshell Doctrine is often used if the victim has a condition that makes them more likely to sustain injuries than most people. Although some accidents only cause minor harm to healthy people, people with pre-existing conditions may end up in a much worse state or sustain graver injuries.
Aggravated health or injury claims usually result in insurance providers using pre-existing conditions to try to lower a settlement as much as possible. You will need to provide evidence that the car accident harmed or injured you.
Supporting Your Claim
Proving that the accident aggravated your situation will require evidence or supporting information. To demonstrate that your situation worsened following the accident, you need to show records of your previous condition and then have them compared to the present situation. Insurers don’t need to access all of your records. Consult your auto accident attorney about what documents are relevant to your case. There should also be notes from your physician supporting your claim. He or she should note how trauma from the accident has worsened your condition.
Tell your lawyer everything about your pre-existing medical condition or injury. He or she should know all the relevant details to understand how to correctly handle your case. At The Grossman Law Firm, we have skilled and experienced NJ auto accident lawyers who can help you prepare your aggravated injury claims.
My primary care physician doesn’t accept auto accident patients. Why? What can I do?
Oftentimes in New Jersey when you’re involved in a motor vehicle type accident, you’re hurt. You may go to the hospital and then the hospital may refer you to your primary care physician or your family doctor. You may find that you call to make an appointment and someone in the office says to you, to your surprise, “Oh, we’re sorry, we can’t see you. The doctor will not see you.” You’re shocked. You say, “How is that possible? This is my own doctor.”
Well, in New Jersey many physicians’ offices are not equipped to handle motor vehicle accidents. They’re used to taking your health insurance and dealing with your health insurance and there are certain ways that they get approval for their visits and things of that nature. Well, with auto insurance, it’s a walking minefield for the physicians’ offices, and a lot of them decide, “Hey, I don’t want to deal with this. If we have to bill the auto insurance, I just will not see patients in auto accidents.”
That is why it is critical that you contact a law firm like us here at the Grossman Law Firm, where we engage and will refer you to a local physician near you that meets your needs. That will understand, not the physician but the office, will understand, how to protect you, how to build the insurance company appropriately under the law so that you’re not burdened and stuck with enormous medical debt at the end of your treatment process.
I was in an accident but I didn’t strike my body. Can I still be injured?
One of the most common misconceptions that I hear is that “I was involved in a serious motor vehicle collision, but I didn’t strike my body on anything in the vehicle, does that mean that I can’t be seriously injured?” Well, the reality is that we’ve seen all sorts of severe injuries without your body physically striking any part of the vehicle. Let me give you an example. TMJ injuries are injuries to your joints, in your jaw. This is a very common injury that can take place simply from the whipping of your head going forward and backward at a rapid, rapid speed.
Other injuries, of course, are traumatic brain injuries, different types of torn ligaments, or muscles, or tears, and much more serious injuries from your auto accident. The reality is that we’ve seen this many, many times here at the Grossman Law Firm. We have a network of physicians that will help you, that we will refer you to, who understand how to diagnose these problems and help you through this difficult process.
If you’re going through something, and you have any questions, and you’re suffering from pain, and you didn’t have the pain before, and you don’t quite know what’s going on, and you recently we’re in a violent motor vehicle collision, please, call us. We’re here to answer your questions. We’re here to help you.
About Grossman Law
For over 20 years, Personal Injury Attorney Scott Grossman has been fighting for the rights of the injured throughout New Jersey. He has helped thousands obtain their fair and just monetary compensation to pay for medical treatment, pain and suffering, and more. Mr. Grossman and his legal team truly care about their clients and provide each with devoted and individual personal attention. Whether you have been the victim of an NJ motor vehicle accident, trucking accident, dog bite, brain injury, construction accident, pharmacy error, wrongful death, workplace injury or any other type of injury, we are here to help you recover the fair and just compensation you truly deserve.