Pre-existing Injuries and Your Personal Injury Case
Not every victim of someone’s negligence comes into a situation with a perfectly healthy body. Many people have some form of a pre-existing injury, whether it’s serious or minor, that existed prior to the incident. Whether this injury includes knee pain, spine injuries, hip pain, or a shoulder injury, pre-existing injuries won’t necessarily derail your personal injury claim.
If you’ve developed new injuries in addition to any pre-existing injury, then you still may be able to receive compensation for any new injuries caused by negligence, in addition to any aggravated injury compensation you are eligible for. Your medical records and the testimony of a medical expert may be used to establish which injuries you had prior to the accident and which injuries were the direct result of the incident in question.
Aggravation of Injuries
While you are not entitled to payment for injuries that existed before an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the degree to which any pre-existing injuries were aggravated or exacerbated by someone else’s negligence. Aggravation of a pre-existing injury means that your injury was made worse as a result of the incident in question.
Examples of aggravated injuries include:
- Neck and back pain
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Prior bone fractures
- Prior head injuries
In the case of aggravation of a pre-existing injury, you may be compensated for the degree of exacerbation and not for the entire injury. You may not be compensated for the treatment you were already undergoing as the result of your pre-existing injury but may be compensated for any additional care that was required. Proving the aggravation of an existing injury requires a thorough and extensive review of medical records and current medical examinations to compare an individual’s condition before and after an accident.
A defendant can’t avoid liability simply because a plaintiff was more prone to injury due to a pre-existing condition. A negligent party will still be liable even if the plaintiff was more susceptible, due to a health condition, to being seriously injured.
Average Settlement For Pre-Existing Injuries
According to the settlement examples listed on this page, the typical Florida aggravated injury settlement is anywhere from $400,000 to $1,600,000. Settlements depend greatly on the unique circumstances of each case, so the amount for aggravated injury car accident settlements in Florida varies greatly.
$750,000/Auto Accident/2023 – Recent
Our client is a very nice young lady who ran marathons and was very active prior to this auto accident. On the day of the accident, our client was driving on the Sunshine Skyway bridge when she veered to the left to avoid a crash that had occurred ahead of her. She hit the guardrail, and her car became disabled. She exited her vehicle and stood next to it away from oncoming traffic. Cars were slowing and stopping and veering around our client’s car. The defendant was an elderly gentleman who was not paying attention to traffic around him. He failed to stop and slammed into our client’s disabled vehicle propelling it into our client.
The severe impact caused our client to suffer a compound fracture of her lower right leg. This injury required extensive surgical repair and a second surgery to remove the implanted hardware in our client’s leg. Our client also suffered a concussion and an aggravation of a pre-existing back injury. Our client ultimately hit a remarkably great recovery.
Our firm was hired approximately a year and a half after the accident, and we immediately filed suit. The defendant’s insurance company denied that their insured was at fault and asserted that our client overreacted to an accident ahead of her, lost control, and was standing next to her vehicle in a very dark part of the bridge. Our firm hired an accident reconstruction expert who flew a drone over the Skyway and recreated the accident scene under similar weather and lighting conditions. Our expert determined that the defendant had time to perceive and react to our client’s stopped vehicle if he’d been paying attention.
We subpoenaed the defendant’s cell phone records to try and establish that he was on the phone at the time of the collision. The defense objected to producing them. We next took a six-hour deposition of the defendant to establish that he was at fault for the crash. After the deposition, the insurance company offered a paltry amount which we rejected. The case then proceeded to mediation. Once again, the defense offered a very small amount to settle the case. We then filed a motion with the court to compel the defense to produce the cell phone records and set it for a hearing. We also filed a Proposal for Settlement in the amount of $750,000.00. The Proposal was set to expire one day before our hearing on the motion to compel the records.
The insurance company called our office numerous times over several weeks asking if we would negotiate below the $750,000.00. They declined to accept their calls. On the last day the Proposal could be accepted at nearly the close of business, our Proposal was accepted, and the case was settled for $750,000.00. This was a terrific result for our client, and she was very happy with our representation.
Pre-Existing Injuries Settlement Amount
In one case, our client and his spouse were in a vehicle, traveling on a road in the same direction as the defendant’s vehicle, when the defendant pulled off onto the shoulder of the road and made an illegal U-Turn in front of our clients’ vehicle.
Both of our clients suffered injuries to their neck and lower back. The MRIs of the neck and lower back revealed multiple herniated discs. The husband was involved in a motor vehicle accident several years before this accident which resulted in herniated discs in his lower back. The new MRI revealed he sustained an aggravation of his previous lower back injuries.
Our clients were treated conservatively for neck and back pain with multiple injections. The husband’s conservative treatment failed. The surgeon recommended that the husband submit to lower back surgery to alleviate his lower back pain and radiating symptoms caused by the aggravation to his pre-existing lower back injuries from the prior accident. The husband submitted to lower back surgery and it was a success.
The wife suffered from intermittent and occasional neck and lower back pain after conservative treatment.
The defendant’s insurance company merely offered the husband and wife $40,000 & $70,000 respectively to settle their claims pre-suit.
Suit was filed and the case progressed through the litigation process to mediation. At the mediation, the defendant’s insurance company offered $60,000 to the husband and did not increase their offer to settle the wife’s claim. Those offers were rejected, and the case was set for trial.
Two months before trial the defendant’s insurance company accepted the formal demands to settle the wife’s case for $150,000 and to settle the husband’s case for the full policy limits of 250,000 for a full and final combined settlement of $400,000.
In this second aggravated injury settlement, this client’s case settled for $1,600,000 several weeks prior to trial. Our client was a passenger in a friend’s vehicle at which time his friend made an improper left-hand turn and violated the right of way of another vehicle proceeding in the opposite direction resulting in a substantial impact with massive amounts of property damage. The client was taken by ambulance to the hospital and diagnosed with a neck fracture, a subdural hematoma, and pelvic fractures.
After conservative care and treatment, he was ultimately diagnosed to have the following permanent injuries: a mild traumatic brain injury; an unoperated cervical herniated disc; and an aggravation of previously existing lower back degenerative changes. In 2019, the defendant initially disputed liability and merely offered $350,000 as their “final offer”.
We filed suit and proceeded to take depositions from several witnesses to establish defendant’s fault for causing the accident. Additionally, we hired several well qualified experts to examine our client who ultimately verified that the client suffered permanent spine injuries and a traumatic brain injury that would continue to affect his cognitive abilities.
The case was mediated resulting in the defendant’s “final offer” of $750,000. A mediation impasse was declared, and a trial was set to take place.
Defendant’s experts examined the plaintiff and eventually had to admit that our client suffered a permanent mild traumatic brain injury caused by the accident.
A second mediation took place several months prior to the scheduled trial date. At that time, the defendant’s “final offer”, was $1 million. The second mediation, as with the first mediation, resulted in an impasse. Shortly after the second mediation the case settled for $1.6 million several weeks prior to trial.
Contact a Trusted Florida Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, you should consult with experienced personal injury lawyers. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.
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