I recently re-injured an injury I previously had. Can I get compensated?

Attorney Jason MacriAuthor: Attorney Jason Macri

The older a person gets, the greater the probability that they have suffered an injury of some type. As we get older, our bodies degenerate and thus, we become more susceptible to injury. Common injures in Car Crashes and Slip and Falls are herniated discs of the neck or low back, shoulder, knee and head injuries. Many people have strained their neck or back at some point in their life but with some rest and possibly some conservative medical care, many of those people have gotten better in a relatively short period of time. Then one day they get rear-ended in a car crash and all of a sudden, that previous injury becomes monstrous.

The question becomes; can a person get compensated for an injury that they previously had? The short answer to that question is yes. Under Florida Law, a person can be compensated for the aggravation of a pre-existing injury. Specifically, a jury may be instructed, by the presiding Judge, that an Aggravation or activation of disease or defect may allow a Jury to award a plaintiff damages.

The Jury instruction is as follows: “If you find that the (defendant(s)) caused a bodily injury, and that the injury resulted in [an aggravation of an existing disease or physical defect] [or] [activation of a latent disease or physical defect], you should attempt to decide what portion of (claimant’s) condition resulted from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. If you can make that determination, then you should award only those damages resulting from the [aggravation] [or] [activation]. However, if you cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the condition would have existed apart from the injury, then you should award damages for the entire condition suffered by (claimant).”

Essentially, the Jury is told that they are to try and determine what portion of the Plaintiff’s claim came from the aggravation of the pre-existing injury. If a Jury can’t make that determination, then they are to award damages for the entire injury. Clearly, this instruction can be very helpful in a case where a person might have previously complained to a doctor about a pain to a particular body part, only to have that pain subside. Then, years later, that person may be rear-ended in a car crash and not only re-aggravate that prior injury but make the prior injury much worse. Fortunately, our laws will allow that person to receive compensation for the aggravation of that injury.

If you or someone you know has been injured call the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer. Our lawyers will let you know where you stand and will do everything in their power to help get you compensated for your injuries.

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