It happens every day: someone is involved in an accident and suffers an injury, the medical exam following the accident reveals degeneration – a natural aging of the body that often does not cause any impairment – but the defendant or his or her insurance carrier fights against a fair settlement on grounds that the injury was pre-existing.
If you are facing this type of battle in Louisiana, know that the law permits injured plaintiffs to recover for pre-existing conditions when they are worsened by someone else’s wrongful act. The fight over a pre-existing medical condition can be very intimidating but injured parties find confidence – and improved results – when they partner with a qualified Lafayette personal injury lawyer.
New v. pre-existing injuries under LA personal injury laws
An accident can cause both a new injury and an aggravation of pre-existing condition. The law accounts for this and injury victims are entitled to recover for injury caused by the accident – including the exacerbation of an existing medical condition. But defendants and their insurance companies routinely use the existence of a prior injury to reduce the claimant’s rightful settlement.
Insurance adjusters and the insurance defense counsel they employ understand that an injury victim is entitled to recover for a pre-existing condition. They all learn about the so-called “eggshell skull plaintiff”, who are physically fragile in some special way. If another party’s negligence causes an injury, even to the so-called “eggshell skull” of someone who was already injured or physically at greater risk for an injury, the negligent party is liable for the injury over and above what had already existed.
Fighting a pre-existing injuries case in Louisiana
A fight over the existence and extent of pre-existing conditions in a personal injury case is tedious, fact-intensive, and dependent on medical experts.
By making a personal injury claim, a plaintiff must provide medical records to, and sometimes undergo a medical evaluation by, the defendant’s and/or his insurance company’s counsel. The opposing counsel will go over those records with a fine tooth comb for any indication of a preexisting condition and use that information to reduce the settlement amount – or deny that there are any related damages at all!
Experienced personal injury attorneys understand and expect this fight. They understand how to piece together a chain of medical and factual events, and back it with expert testimony, to overcome the defense claims. They can even turn the defense arguments around and use a history of medical observation as documentation of a “before” and “after” to show how the accident worsened the injury.
Personal injury representation in Baton Rouge, LA
If you or a loved one have been injured in Louisiana and believe someone else may be liable, you may well experience a fight over pre-existing injuries. If the defense convincingly paints the injuries as prior medical conditions, this can take a substantial chunk out of your compensation. Put your trust in Bart Bernard to fight for full compensation.
Call the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, with offices in Lafayette and Baton Rouge, for a free confidential initial consultation.
Additional “personal injury liability” resources:
- Justia, 2011 Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2315.6 – Liability for damages caused by injury to another, http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/cc/cc2315-6
- Justia, 2011 Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2315 – Liability for acts causing damages, http://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/cc/cc2315