When You Suffer Personal Injuries that Make a Pre-Existing Condition Worse, Can You Still Obtain a Financial Recovery?

We field many calls from prospective clients asking if, and how, they have a viable personal injury claim if their pre-existing condition was worsened after being involved in a car accident or truck wreck or other incident caused by the negligence of another person or party.  Many of these prospective clients are concerned about whether they could ever prove their case if they had problems or a medical issue before the accident. Do not fret. Our team of Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys can help. 
 
Fact: In most cases, you can still pursue a financial recovery in Virginia and just about any other jurisdiction for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, so long as that aggravation or worsening of the condition occurred due to the negligence of another party. 
 
Related Content
So say you had two prior neck surgeries and are smashed into from the rear by a negligent driver who is looking at a cellphone.  If your doctors, preferably ones that treated you before you were rear-ended, are familiar with your condition and know that as a result of the rear-ender that just happened, that your neck injuries were made much worse, then everything should be good and you should be able to recover for the worsening of your neck condition in your personal injury case. 
 
Sometimes new clients were literally treating with a chiropractor or other doctor up until just weeks before some other negligent driver smashed into their car.  Believe it or not, we can recover in those cases if we prove that the condition got much worse because a negligent driver smashed into their vehicle.  Remember, you're not recovering for the condition you had the day before the new personal injury occurred, you're seeking to recover for the worsening of your condition. 
 
There is actually a Virginia model jury instruction which judges routinely give because people just don't walk into court without having pre-existing conditions of some kind.  And it's not incredibly unusual for someone to have previous conditions that are made worse after a car wreck in Virginia.  The Virginia model jury instruction reads as follows:
 
Instruction No. 9.030 
 
If you find that the plaintiff had a condition before the accident that was aggravated as a result of the accident or that the pre-existing condition made the injury he received in the accident more severe or more difficult to treat, then if you find your verdict for the plaintiff, he may recover for the aggravation and for the increased severity or difficulty of treatment, but he is not entitled to recover for the pre-existing condition.
 
The above instruction is routinely given in a case where someone had a prior neck or back or other injury that was made worse because of a car or truck or other type of accident in which they suffered worsened injuries.  And it stands to reason that someone with a pre-existing condition will not only be made to have a worse condition, but think about how they develop scar tissue and a more brittle condition when they are smashed into by another negligent driver.  The trick is having a qualified physician outline what was made worse, how the condition will fester or become a problem in years to come and things like that.  Lawyers develop this evidence and try to present it in a convincing way.
 
If you have questions about pre-existing conditions and a condition made worse in a Virginia personal injury claim, where a negligent party makes the pre-existing injuries  worse, please contact us for a free confidential consultation.  We have a long track record of working on these types of cases and can give you free legal advice as to whether we can help you with your potential claim.
Richard N. Shapiro
Connect with me
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia