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What happens if my accident aggravated a prior injury (a/k/a “Pre-Existing Injury”)?”


Hi, I’m Jon Ostroff. Thanks for visiting ostrofflaw.com. You’ve clicked on the question “Can I recover if I have a pre-existing condition?” and the answer is yes. A pre-existing condition is insurance talk, indicating that you’ve had an injury to the area of the body that you’re claiming is now injured in the crash that is in front of the insurance company.

So for example, you claim you have a shoulder injury from a car accident, but you had shoulder surgery on that shoulder, 10 years ago. If you have damage to an area of your body that was hurt before, often times I argue before a jury, or to defense lawyers, or insurance adjusters, that that’s worse than never having had that area injured in the first place. If you had surgery on your shoulder before and you’ve recovered from it and now you’ve hurt it again, I think that’s worse psychologically for an injury victim, than never having that shoulder hurt at all. You recover from a surgery, only to be injured again. Sometimes you injure an area, where there wasn’t prior surgery.

Let’s say you’ve had back problems and you’ve seen a chiropractor for years and now you’ve had a back injury and new findings. Or even an aggravation of current findings. You can recover for that. If you’ve been in an accident and you’ve injured an area, or aggravated an area that was previously injured, you’re entitled to recover for that. There’s a saying in the law that says, “You take your victims as you find them.” and even as they’re fragile, or they have prior injuries, if the injuries are made worse, prior surgeries made worse, they need new surgery to an area where they’ve had surgery, whatever the case may be, you are entitled to a recovery for an aggravation to a pre-existing injury.

One important thing here, you want to make sure your doctors are helpful and supportive of tying in the difference between the old injury and the new one. That they will really document what’s new, since your current accident, so we can differentiate what’s old and what’s new and we can get them to give us an opinion on that. This is critical to defining what’s new and what’s old and to making sure that your compensation is full and is appropriate. I hope that answers your question. Thanks.

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