Will my pre-existing arthritis prevent me from recovering compensation for an accident? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Osteoarthritis is a commonly prevalent form of arthritis. It is an affliction of the joints where the cartilage that acts as a buffer between the bones, depletes. People affected by this chronic illness must live with joint pains every day of their lives. The degree of pain, however, is subject to the interpretation of nerve signals by an individual’s nervous system.

There is a substantial level of variation amongst individual patients. While some may experience debilitating pain, others may live with the condition without even being aware of it.

Osteoarthritis and Car Accidents 

The trauma of a motor vehicle accident can have a major impact on a person with a pre-existing condition like osteoarthritis. Arthritis and other such pre-existing conditions can worsen after car accidents. 

Sometimes, the condition can manifest after an accident in people with no prior history of the illness. It may take a long time to manifest, and the medical term for it is post-traumatic arthritis.

Legal Entitlement in Virginia

It is difficult to calculate the precise impact of a new trauma on a pre-existing affliction. At the same time, there are reports about the re-activation of latent osteoarthritis in some people. A person with a pre-existing condition like osteoarthritis enjoys the right to claim personal injury damages under the Virginia laws. But the limit of the compensation is to the extent of the new pain the accident causes.

Only a medical expert can explain an accident’s impact on a person with a pre-existing condition, and establish how the new accident exacerbates the old condition. It’s always prudent to contact a personal injury lawyer in case of injuries in an accident, especially if you have an underlying illness. 

Insurance Companies’ Policy

If medical tests for your injuries from an accident confirm an underlying condition that is making it harder for your injuries to heal, it cannot stop you from claiming compensation.

The insurance company may try to wriggle out of paying damages citing pre-existing conditions, but you can hold them liable. The insurance company’s first reaction to seeing a pre-existing condition in your medical records will be to reject the claim. They will argue that the pre-existing medical condition is the cause of the injuries.

The Personal Injury Attorney’s Role

The role of a personal injury attorney is to hold the insurance company responsible for paying you compensation for your injuries. Post-accident, you might need to undergo extensive new therapies instead of the treatments you were receiving earlier.

If the doctor’s opinion about your injuries or their impact on your pre-existing condition is not clear, your attorney can meet your doctor to review the previous medical records. Your doctor’s professional opinion about how the accident has worsened your pre-existing condition carries a lot of weight in the court. Sometimes your attorney will consult more than one of your doctors, and obtain their written opinions.

Your attorney can compel the insurance company to admit that the new injuries from the accident have aggravated your pre-existing condition. Your attorney will use your medical records and related evidence to prove that the injuries in the accident have harmed, traumatized, and unquestionably affected your life. 

Things You Need to Do

To help your personal injury attorney build a case to establish the impact of the injuries on your life, make sure you do the following:

Maintain a Diary

Maintain a diary with details of your daily life since the accident. Make extensive notes on how you feel physically and keep a record of the good and bad days. Jot down any changes you may have had to make in your lifestyle, like not being able to attend social events because of the pain.

Collect Evidence

Collect evidence of your life before the accident. These could include pictures of you attending social events and family reunions, and evidence of your active physical lifestyle such as your exercise routine. Your attorney can help you gather all this evidence of your life prior to the accident and juxtapose it against your present circumstances, to build a case.

Practice Discretion

Take care not to discuss the details about your accident or injuries with anyone except your lawyer.

Be Wary of Any Misinformation 

The insurance companies may try to mislead or misinform you regarding your rights and their liability. Be well-informed of your rights and work with your attorney so they can help you to claim rightful compensation, under the law.

Talk to Our Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys Today

If you or someone you love is a victim of an accident that has aggravated a pre-existing condition, or you were being treated for your underlying condition, the fight for appropriate compensation can be very stressful. Our attorneys will collect and present evidence of the deterioration in your quality of life, and the financial losses suffered because of the injuries.

Consult with our team of experienced personal injury experts at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Call (833) 997-1774 today or contact our Virginia personal injury lawyers online and schedule a free and confidential consultation today.