If you’ve been suffering from an injury or condition that is similar or closely related to any injuries you’ve sustained as a result of another’s negligent actions, the defendant will likely make an effort to focus on your pre-existing injuries or condition in an attempt to avoid legal liability. Fortunately, under California law, you may still be able to recover damages even if you have a pre-existing injury or condition, as long as your injury or condition was exacerbated by the negligent actions of another.
In a California personal injury case, you are required to show proof of your damages. When you have a pre-existing injury or condition, this can complicate your case because if your “new” injuries are similar or closely related to your pre-existing injuries, the defendant is likely to assert that their negligent actions did not actually injure or damage you. They will argue that your injuries and other damages were present before the incident and thus cannot be attributed to them.
For example, perhaps you have suffered from a nerve or spinal disorder for many years, and this disorder causes occasional pain in your arms and legs. If you then injure your back and your spine in a slip and fall accident, it can be said that your injuries are fairly closely related to your pre-existing condition. However, if you can establish that your injury is actually new or that your condition was materially worsened, you may be able to recover damages.
When an individual’s pre-existing injuries or conditions are aggravated or exacerbated by another’s negligent actions, they might be able to recover under what’s known as California’s “eggshell plaintiff” rule. In these instances, a defendant can be held responsible if the injured individual was just inherently predisposed to injuries that might be because of a pre-existing injury or condition. For example, say an elderly person with brittle bones slips and falls and breaks their fragile bones. Oftentimes when this occurs, it is tough for the elderly individual to recover fully from their injuries. Because of their inherently fragile and weak frame, their injuries might be much more severe than if a teenager were to slip and fall under the same circumstances. In this case, the defendant, perhaps a negligent retail store, would take the elderly injured individual as they find them. In other words, the defendant would be responsible for the total damages even if the injuries or damages were significant because of a pre-existing condition and weakness of the “eggshell plaintiff.”
The exacerbation or aggravation of other conditions or injuries may be harder to prove. Oftentimes, injured individuals will be required to offer expert medical testimony and other evidence to show that their pre-existing condition or injury was aggravated by another’s negligent actions. If an individual can successfully establish their claim for aggravation of a pre-existing condition or injury, they typically can recover only the damages actually associated with the aggravation. For instance, if you have a pre-existing back or neck injury, you would only be entitled to the measurable damages that are related to the aggravation of your condition.
Call The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew L. Taylor Today
If you have suffered injuries due to the negligent actions of another, even if you have a pre-existing injury or condition, you should contact an experienced Rancho Cucamonga Personal Injury Lawyer right away. Call the Law Offices of Matthew L. Taylor today at (909) 989-7774 to schedule your free consultation.