4 Tips for Taking Legal Action if a Car Accident Aggravated a Pre-Existing Back Injury
Your injury might not be new, but if a a crash caused by another driver made it worse, you are entitled to be fairly compensated for this aggravation of your injury. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may still be entitled to a financial recovery. Here’s what to do if you suffered injuries in a car accident.
Tip #1: Seek Medical Assistance Immediately
After any vehicle crash, seeking professional medical care should be your first priority. The adrenaline and shock of the collision can mask your injury symptoms. What may seem like a minor injury could be debilitating in the coming days, especially if you had previous medical problems that were made worse by the trauma of a motor vehicle crash. A health care professional can conduct an exam, X-rays and tests to determine whether your prior medical problems were made worse by your crash.
Furthermore, having medical documentation from treatment you received immediately following a car crash can be strong evidence in your case against the at-fault party. A physician’s records will show the injuries you sustained as well as the added physical damage to your pre-accident medical problems. As you undergo therapy, surgery and/or other care for your injuries, the medical documentation will show your progress toward healing and help determine whether a full recovery will be possible.
Tip #2: Hire Legal Representation by an Experienced Attorney
When someone causes a car crash that injures another person, the victim may hold him or her accountable. The injured person can seek compensation for crash-related medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Hiring an attorney is the first step toward seeking a financial recovery. Your lawyer will gather evidence to demonstrate how the at-fault party is responsible for your injuries and losses. The lawyer can also show how the crash aggravated a pre-existing injury and led to new problems.
In addition, insurance companies are notorious for attempting to undercut payment to those who have been injured previously. Even if an adjuster initially makes a low offer, an experienced car accident attorney can work to prove the victim deserves more and obtain that through negation or a lawsuit.
For example, Ostroff Injury Law obtained a $400,000 verdict on behalf of a woman whose pre-existing neck and back injuries were aggravated in a car crash and required surgery. The defendant’s insurer initially offered her $1,000. Attorney Richard Godshall took the case to trial and proved that the crash severely aggravated her preexisting condition. Although the defendant carried only $100,000 of insurance coverage, the insurer paid nearly four times that amount after Godshall obtained a $400,000 verdict in Lancaster County, PA.
Of course, every case differs and will have unique results. However, injured individuals increase their likelihood of obtaining maximum compensation when they hire an attorney with previous success in cases like theirs.
Tip #3: Avoid Signing Anything Without a Lawyers Guidance
Insurance company adjusters use a variety of tactics to get victims to commit to a low payment for their injuries. They have been known to visit injured people in their home or hospital and ask them to sign a “release” for a low settlement, during a time when the patient’s focus is clouded with pain, treatment, therapy, and medication. Once those papers are signed, there is often no turning back— no matter how low a settlement is. If this victim was properly represented, an experienced attorney will direct these meetings and conversations away from the victim and handle negotiations, or file a lawsuit, to make sure the result is fair.
Tip #4: Act Immediately
The three tips above are most effective when the injured person acts immediately after a car crash. Evidence and witnesses are more difficult to gather as time goes on. Each state limits the time people have to file a claim for their injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Taking action right away can help protect your rights and better your ability to obtain the compensation you deserve. You can reach our firm at (484) 685-0781.
What Happens If I Have Limited Tort Insurance?
You may still be able to recover compensation for all your losses in Pennsylvania — even if you selected limited tort on your insurance policy. Pennsylvania law recognizes specific exceptions to limited tort coverage. For example, you may qualify for the “serious injury” exception if you suffer a serious impairment or disfigurement that affects a significant bodily function. Even though the insurers fight this exception the hardest, this is the exception that our Pennsylvania limited tort lawyers most commonly use.
If you have limited tort insurance coverage, you will face even more hurdles after a crash. We can help. Generally, injured motorists with limited tort cannot recover damages for pain and suffering. But there are exceptions to this rule. After successfully handling thousands of cases, we have obtained full recoveries for most of our clients with limited tort insurance.
You don’t pay us until we beat limited tort and get money for you. Call Ostroff Law.