About a week after a rear end collision, I reached out to a doctor due to low back pain increasing. I was able to follow up with the doctor after the xrays and learned that I have degenerative discs in my lower back and scoliosis ( the scoliosis I new about). Although this was not caused by the accident, the doctor said that the impact probably exacerbated these symptoms. I am not sure how long I will be in physical therapy. I have to go three times a week. There was no indication of any permanent injury such as broken bones or bulging discs, etc. Do I have a claim?
You have the ability to recover for aggravation of a preexisting condition here in Fl. There are many variables that need to be examined to determine if a claim can be pursued. All of which need to be examined by an experienced injury attorney. You should consult one as soon as possible. Physical therapy unless arranged the right way may not be covered by your PIP auto coverage.
It sounds as if you have a viable claim for the exacerbation of a preexisting injury. Keep in mind that Florida has a threshold requirement that you have suffered a permanent injury as a result of the accident. As such, you will need to follow your healthcare providers advice and obtain a legitimate medical opinion as to permanency. The best advice I could give is to retain an attorney sooner rather than later. Your attorney can help you though the minefield of issues you will face. Good Luck.
You do have a claim. The issue will be what is the worth of your claim. By the way, x-rays will not reveal whether you have any bulging or herniated discs. An MRI would reveal those conditions. Let me give you some advice. Make sure the doctor you are treating with is qualified to treat your type of injury. I would shy away from treating with your family physician or PCP. Instead, try to find an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, or sometimes a chiropractor. Even though the x-rays revealed degenerative changes, the person who caused the collision is responsible under Florida law for aggravating a pre-existing condition. A lot of people have degenerative conditions of the spine, but never have any problems or symptoms. If you were asymptomatic prior to the accident and now your underlying pre-existing degenerative condition was caused to become symptomatic, the person causing the accident is responsible for all the changes. The real issue will be whether you can prove whether you sustained a permanent injury, or a permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition. The Florida No-Fault laws require you to prove a permanent injury or a permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition in order to be entitled to recover ANY money for your pain and suffering. Permanent injury is not the same as permanent disability. They are two totally different concepts. Usually, in a case like yours, your doctor might not be able to render an opinion whether you have a permanent injury for at least four to six months after the accident. The insurance companies will typically defend claims like yours not on the basis that it wasn't the other guy's fault, but on the basis that you didn't suffer a permanent injury.
Aggravation of a preexisting injury is a valid claim for damages in Florida. It would be medically impossible to know if you sustained a permanent injury yet because it sounds like you just started treating. I would absolutely speak with a Florida personal injury attorney about your potential claim.
I am reachable at 561-630-5363 if you'd like to discuss your case in detail.
In any negligence case you must prove liability and damages.
A rear end collision is almost always the fault of the car behind for failing to maintain an assured clear distance ahead. The driver did not leave enough room or was going to fast to allow him/her to stop without hitting the car in front. So it appears you satisfy the first criteria.
With regard to injury and damage, if your doctors are willing to commit to an opinion that "within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, you have a particular injury or an exacerbation of a particular injury then you satisfy that element as well. If your doctor is only willing to say for instance that auto wreck "probably" exacerbated the symptoms of your scoliosis, this would not be enough.
The value of your claim will depend on many factors but chief among them will be the nature and extent of your injury. Consequently, how well your doctors can connect your condition to the wreck and the degree of seriousness of those conditions will in large measure determine the value of the case.
Also, some states have a threshold that must be overcome to bring a claim. Having an injury is not enough. It must be a serious injury causing a serious impairment of an important body function. I do not know if your state has any such requirements.
Yes. Essentially, insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to the Board of Directors.
Even in soft tissue injuries, those tissues stretch and scar, or cause corresponding pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, leaving behind permanent problems for some. I have had clients need surgeries years later because of a bulging disk and have their entire world collapse for what seemed inconsequential at the time. Insurance companies want you to settle as soon as possible and treat as little as possible. Attorneys matter. They change their gameplan when a lawyer is involved. It seems like your injuries are more serious.
For that reason - and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should consult lawyers who take the time like on sites like this. Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law REQUIRED knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck) far greater and more specific than you'd think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim.
If you have any further questions, feel free to email me- firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our website- www.knowthelawyer.com. We'd love to help you. Our number is 800-6-know-law.
Get free answers from experienced attorneys.
26,638 answers this week
2,869 attorneys answering
Get answers from top-rated lawyers.
26,638 answers this week
2,869 attorneys answering
Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.Browse our legal dictionary