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Is there any other way that I can recover $ damages for my injury from a second accident that has altered my life & abilities?

Glen Ridge, NJ |

I was already seeing back pain Dr. due to previous accident when I was hit again in 2nd auto accident. I contacted lawyer after 2nd accident, & now its 3 yrs later & lawyer is telling me i get nothing due to pre-existing back condition, even though the injury is in entirely different place with different type of pain that I live/deal with everyday. Prior to second accident I was mountain biking, jogging, competition dancer, could lift heavy items & children, now I cannot! Also because 3 yrs has lapsed since 2nd accident, can I get another lawyer because the one that has determined this awful fate is weak & has not served me well? Is it possible that the law firm is keeping all the money? What can I do as the victim here?

Attorney Answers 12


  1. It sounds like each accident contributed to your current condition. Your doctor will need to apportion your injury between the two accidents. It sounds like you aggravated the pre-existing condition of the first accident in the second. This can be done, but needs to be analyzed in detail.


  2. This situation is not altogether uncommon. The key is having the right medical expert to address just how the injuries are different (if they indeed are different), or even if in the same area, whether the prior condition has been exacerbated (made worse).

    As to the 2d issue, the case is yours. If you do not feel that the current attorney representing you for the 2d accident is doing the job, you can find a new one. You don't mention whether this 2d case is set for trial, but if it isn't, there are likely many other lawyers willing to at least review it for you and see if they feel it's worth pursuing. If the case IS set for trial, and trial is upcoming soon, that may limit your pool of lawyers who will handle it, as many lawyers are leery of taking on cases that have already been "set in stone" and on the eve of trial.

    Good luck to you.

    Disclaimer- The information you obtain at our web-site or through postings on such sites as this is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for specific advice regarding your individual situation. Any response given here is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


  3. I think you should discuss this with your present attorney. It sounds like the attorney did a poor job of explaining his or her evaluation of your case to you - you have a right to get a better explanation and to have your questions answered. My suggestion would be to do that before you do anything else. Go in with a list of questions.

    The law firm could not get any money on your case and keep it, that's not possible.

    Good luck,.

    This response does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of the law and to the limitations of this forum, this information may not be adequate for your specific situation.


  4. Personal Injury - 2nd Accident - Aggravation of Pre-existing Condition - Statute of Limitations - By Patrick Amoresano: Are you and your doctor able to describe the specific injuries you got only as a result of the 2nd accident? Did your lawyer file a lawsuit before the 2yr. statute of limitations expired on the 2nd accident that occurred 3 yrs. ago? Why hasn't the even older 1st accident case been resolved yet? These are just a few of the questions I have for you.


  5. There are a number of valid reasons why your attorney may be taking this position. Without knowing more, it's impossible to say whether or not your attorney is correct or not. In situations such as this,I always recommend setting up an appointment with your current attorney to meet in person and discuss why he or she feels this is the case. Cases involving subsequent accidents can be very difficult, especially if your claim is subject to the Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold.


  6. You certainly have the right to a second opinion. Something doesn't sound right.

    973-984-0800. Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.


  7. Aggravation of a preexisting condition is still actionable in your second case. It sounds like the lawyer on your case is having a tough time settling it given the facts. You should find an attorney that isn't afraid to go to trial to get you what you deserve. Too any personal injury attorneys these days are focused on quick, easy settlements. Cases like yours often create snags for those kinds of lawyers. Get one with some real aggressive litigation strategies.

    Answering questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered into a written contract, signed by me, wherein I expressly assent to be your attorney. Nothing I post should be construed as legal advice to be acted upon, it is merely a legal opinion.


  8. I hope the case was filed so there isn't a statute of limitations problem. Call one of the above lawyers in your state to investigate.


  9. Even an aggravation of a pre-existing condition has value. But that assumes this assessment by the lawyer is correct. Make an appointment with your doctor. Go over your prior condition. Go over your post-2nd accident condition with your doctors. Ask if any of the injuries he diagnosed are new from the 2nd accident, hence not aggravations of pre-existing? If so, it is not truly an aggravation case. Start their and submit again with what he says pre vs. post.

    Please note even if it is pre-existing herniated disc then ask how big it was pre vs. post. See if any change (i.e. millimeters taller or wider pre vs. post). The point of this is even if it is pre-existing is there any way to quantify the pre-existing condition was injured more or made worse.


  10. Call a local car accident lawyer immediately for a second opinion. Request an examination and report from your treatment doctor to differentiate the earlier and later injury and their effects. Get the doctor all the records also. This will tell you how the evidence will present from your own expert. Ask you new lawyer for his opinion regarding the case and his opinion on your issue immediately.


  11. You can have an exacerbation claim of pre-existing injuries. Sure. It all depends on your subjective complaints and your doctors' objective opinions. You only have 2 years to file a personal injury lawsuit in NJ though. So if you or your attorney hasnt filed a Complaint yet, you may be barred. If you are barred, and you believe its your attorney's fault, you can seek a malpractice attorney's advice. If you or your attorney did file the 2nd Complaint, and its simply on-going, and you are not happy with your current attorney, you can seek a different personal injury attorney. Good luck.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.


  12. Want money do you suspect your attorney's office is possibly keeping from you? They could only obtain money for you if you sign a release and settled your claim.

    It is not unusual for personal injury clients to have had prior injuries. I have represented people with 3 or 4 prior auto accidents before they come to my office. It is up to the attorney and medical experts to help parse out what is directly caused, activated, or aggravated by the latest accident. If you decide to change counsel, make sure that your statute of limitations is protected by your current counsel so that you do not have issues if you have a delay in finding an attorney willing to take on your claim.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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