Jack loved to play tennis. He worked hard as an engineer at a manufacturing plant every day. He loved playing at the tennis club in the evenings and on weekends. Lately Jack had not been able to take to the tennis court. While repairing a machine on the factory floor, Jack sustained a back injury. He went to physical therapy, but tennis was out of the question. Because the accident happened at work, Jack’s Worker’s Compensation was covering the expenses associated with his recovery.

Then things took a turn for the worse. A texting driver sideswiped Jack’s car. Jack was back in the hospital with a spine injury. Now, instead of physical therapy, Jack needed surgery to repair the damage to his spine. The Worker’s Compensation insurer wanted to cut-off treatment, claiming Jack’s injuries were due to the auto accident. The distracted driver’s insurance company did not want to foot the bill; they claimed that Jack’s injuries were due to the accident at work.

Jack was faced with the prospect of paying his medical expenses out-of-pocket while the Worker’s Compensation provider fought with the auto insurance company over responsibility. He was also facing a more intense medical situation and lifelong consequences from his spine injury. It seemed Jack would never make it back to the tennis court. Would he ever be able to cut through all this red tape and get the treatment he needed for his injury?

Eventually, Jack realized he needed someone on his side to sort this out. He sought legal counsel and found an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to fight for his interests. Jack’s lawyer brought both Worker’s Compensation and the auto insurance company to the table to work out a fair settlement, getting Jack the surgery he needed to heal his spine.

Your Prior Condition Does Not Let the Other Party off the Hook

Having a prior medical condition that makes you more fragile after a subsequent auto accident doesn’t negate the other driver’s responsibility to restore your health when he or she is at fault. For example, if you have back problems, a fender-bender can be more serious for you than for a healthy person.

An insurer or lawyer might argue that an extra susceptibility to injury is not the other driver’s problem. The law does not back up this position. Just because the accident may not have resulted in an injury for another person doesn’t mean that the offending driver is not responsible for your injuries and for your proper care.

What About Old or Healed Wounds?

When an injury occurred in the distant past, say 5 to 10 years ago, and you have not received treatment for this injury for a long time, it is still very difficult for anyone to argue to deny you treatment. Your case for full compensation remains strong. Consult an experienced attorney to navigate the issues and negotiate with the insurer.

Responsibility for Ongoing Medical Conditions

Ongoing medical conditions that are aggravated by a car accident are more difficult cases. It may not be clear to what degree the accident is responsible for the worsening of a pre-existing condition. The insurance company for the driver at fault will try to make the case that the accident did not contribute to the worsening of your medical condition.

There is a lot at stake. If your injury is permanently aggravated, you could need more medical treatment or lose your ability to work. The other driver may be responsible for these effects, and his insurance should pay for the ongoing costs of damages caused by the accident.

An experienced lawyer helps you limit their ability to mitigate an award for damage based on your pre-existing condition. Your attorney:

  • Brings all parties to the table to review facts and come to a consensus.
  • Provides resources to assess the future effects of the accident in your life.
  • Ensures you get fair compensation for the long-term effects of a car accident even if you have a prior condition.

Sorting Out Coverage
Cases involving injuries at work and car accidents are even more complicated. If Worker’s Compensation is providing coverage for an injury sustained at work, they may limit coverage when injuries are aggravated by an auto accident. But the auto insurance company may not want to provide coverage for the pre-existing injury.

These issues are complex because you are dealing with different organizations with competing agendas. The organizations may not always have your best interest in mind. They are going to work hard to minimize their responsibility. Legal counsel assesses your situation, brings all the parties to the table, and determines a fair settlement to get you the medical care you need to fully recover.

If you have aggravated a medical condition due to an auto accident, you could have an uphill battle ahead. Due to your previous condition, receiving a damage award from the accident my be more difficult than it first appears. You could face long-term consequences of your injury, including increased medical expenses and the inability to work. If this is happening to you, contact a lawyer to assist you in sorting things out and advocate on your behalf.