The short answer is, yes, car accidents very often make arthritis and other pre-existing conditions worse. Car accidents can even cause arthritis in people who did not suffer from the condition before. This is called post-traumatic arthritis and can sometimes take months or even years to manifest.
Say you have recently been involved in an accident, and now you just can’t get the pain to stop. Your medical care provider requests that you have an MRI to see if there is more to your injury than what the initial exam indicated. Your doctor finds on the MRI that you have arthritis in that area and it is being aggravated by the soft tissue injury you received. The arthritis is going to make it harder to heal, and so the course of treatment is changed.
Does this mean that you cannot seek compensation for your injuries since they were made worse by a preexisting condition? The answer is no. Regardless of what the insurance companies may want you to believe, just because there is a preexisting condition does not mean they are “off the hook” for your injuries.
Insurance Companies Are Not Looking Out for Your Best Interest
The first thing that an insurance company will likely do if they see in the medical records that there is a preexisting condition is to deny the case. From their point of view, if there was a medical condition in the injured area before the injury, that was the cause of the injury. They will state that the damage may not have happened at all had the condition not been present.
As your attorney, we will show the insurance company exactly why it is their responsibility for the injury and that the injury itself is what has aggravated the condition. If you were not diagnosed or receiving treatment for the issue before the accident, then a preexisting condition may not exist. Without the treatment or diagnosis for that condition, the insurance company could admit that you were living life symptom-free and without pain and suffering. The pain and suffering you are enduring now is, therefore, a direct result of the accident.
If you were receiving treatment before, and now you have to undergo extensive treatment or new therapies, the insurance company may have to acknowledge that the condition was manageable before the accident and now has been aggravated by the new injury.
As your attorney, we will work to prove with medical records and other evidence that the injury did cause you more harm and that your life has been undeniably affected.
Working with Your Attorney
To prove the impact that this injury has had on your life, you are encouraged to do the following to help your attorney build the case:
- Keep a diary of how you physically feel since the accident. Be very honest and document the good days and the bad. Make notes on things you may have had to change as a result of the accident. Be sure to note lifestyle changes such as having to hire help around the house or not being able to go to social events due to the pain.
- Gather evidence of how active you were prior to the accident. Show pictures of the gardening that you did. Show pictures or other memorabilia from events you attended. Make a list of clubs you participated in actively. All of this information can be used to build a case for compensation.
- Do not speak about your accident and injuries to anyone other than your attorney.
Do not let the insurance companies fool you. Even if you have a pre-existing condition such as arthritis, you may still be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and other damages.
If you have been injured in an accident, speak with one of our attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet. Call our Daytona Beach office at (386) 210-7989 for a free consultation and case review.