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Its easy for us to go about our daily lives believing that a terrible injury causing accident will never happen to us. We get so caught up in our daily routine, it’s hard to conceive of anything truly bad happening. We wake up, get the kids ready for school, eat breakfast and hop in the car with a hot cup of coffee and drive to work every day. Then, when work is over, we are back in the car to pick up the kids and head home. Day after day.
Not may of us considers what kind of accident lawyer we will hire if something bad happens on the road during our daily routine. Most of us are more concerned with mundane issues like problems at work, kids’ behavior at school, and the endless struggle of figuring out what’s for dinner every single night.
The scary reality is that at any moment while we are on the road, someone can make a mistake and cause an accident that could turn your whole world upside down. That very evening you could be looking for a good accident lawyer, for yourself or a loved one. All it takes is someone on the road next to you glancing down at their phone at the wrong moment, or maybe driving while exhausted because their baby is teething.
Most personal injury cases involve a series of injuries that need to be compensated for by the liable party’s insurance agency. “Liable” is a term used to describe the party that is responsible for the accident. Often the injuries are pretty straight forward, and a doctor’s report will be enough to determine the extent of the injuries. Sometimes however, it is not that simple.
The liable party, per the law is not responsible for injuries or conditions that existed before the accident. However, what happens if the accident made a pre-existing injury or condition worse?
How You Can Help Your Injury Lawyer
After you have been injured in an accident, it is often a very stressful and difficult time. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you could be hospitalized, and/or heavily medicated due to pain for some time. The insurance agencies know this, and often will try to take advantage of the situation. An insurance claims adjuster will contact you soon after the accident and ask that you fill out a “statement.”
The claims adjuster will act like they are on your side, and likely tell you that the statement will help them get you more money, quicker than if you didn’t fill it out. In reality the purpose of the statement is to create incriminating evidence that the insurance agency can use against you, in settlement negotiations or in court. They hope that while you make the statement you will say something that indicates that you are liable, or even partially liable for the accident. Maybe if you were involved in a car crash and put on the statement that you didn’t get much sleep the night before, or were eating a granola bar while driving, they can use this against you when it comes time for them to pay up.
In this statement they will likely ask if you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions. This information will be used as evidence against you if you claim that the pre-existing condition was worsened and needed additional medical treatment after the accident.
If you are smart, you will have immediately retained an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The best way you can help your lawyer do their job is by always communicating with them. Do not answer any questions or fill out any statements without talking to your lawyer first. Creating evidence that the insurance agency can use against you will only make your attorneys job harder in the long run.
Another important way you can help your accident lawyer to do their job, is to fully disclose any and all previous injuries you have suffered. It doesn’t matter how dissimilar they may be to the current injuries. If you fail to state any previous injuries or conditions, especially those that affect the same area of the body that was affected by the accident, you can severely discredit yourself and therefore decrease the credibility of the overall claim.
Understanding the Eggshell Plaintiff
The majority of us are able to handle a few minor bumps and bruises throughout the course of our everyday life. However, as we get older, or perhaps even due to certain medical conditions, some people become much more susceptible to injury than others. A simple slip and fall for one person, could results in a bruise and a bit of embarrassment. They very same slip and fall to another person could result in a disastrous medical consequence.
A “Plaintiff” is a person who has filed a claim against another party, alleging that they have been the victim of the “defendants” negligence. The most common usage of the term “eggshell plaintiff” in law school is described as a person who has an “eggshell thin” skull, which is much more susceptible to damage than a person with a regular skull. This person was gently bumped by another person, due to that other person’s negligence, and suffers from a broken skull and is hospitalized.
Now the “eggshell plaintiff” sues the negligent party as they are responsible for all of the serious injuries suffered by the eggshell plaintiff due to the simple bump. In this case the defendant is liable because they must accept the plaintiff as they found him. Therefore, because the plaintiff has an eggshell thin skull, and the defendant was negligent in bumping them, then the defendant is liable for any and all injures caused by the bump. Pre-existing conditions act in the same way in a personal injury case. (Team, eggshell skull, n.d.)
Pre-existing Conditions and Medical Records
If you have retained an experienced injury attorney, then they will compile an extensive medical history from before the accident, complete with medical records and past diagnostic tests, then compare them with records and diagnostic tests from directly after the accident. This will allow the lawyer to record just how the accident has made the pre-existing conditions worse.
If it is necessary that your case goes to trail, your lawyer can call what is called an “expert witness,” in this case a doctor. This doctor can evaluate X-rays and MRI’s and testify how the particular condition was worsened due to the accident, using the diagnostic records as evidence. This expert witness can also use clinical records to testify as to the plaintiff’s increased degree of pain caused by the accident, and if there was any kind of temporary or permanent disability that had occurred.
The Accident Lawyers at Justice Law Center
Our team of accident attorneys at Justice Law Center have been fighting for the people of Ely Nevada for decades. Just because Ely Nevada is a small town, doesn’t mean that injury causing accidents doesn’t happen here all the time. The insurance agencies are just as quick to try to take advantage of an Ely resident as they are in any other community in the U.S.
If you have been injured, and someone else is at fault, the very first thing you should do is contact the Justice Law Center, Ely office, so we can connect you with an experienced and professional injury lawyer. All our initial consultations are free, so you can get the legal advice you need to make an informed decision about whether you need a lawyer or not.
Call us today.
Team, W. D. (n.d.). eggshell skull. Legal Information Institute – Cornell Law School.
Josh is writer and paralegal, with over 10 years of experience in family law, personal injury, criminal defense and more.