Most people reach a certain age and it’s unlikely that some part of their body hasn’t sustained some degree of prior trauma or degeneration. Remember that high school football injury to your knee 30 years ago? Yeah, it likely bothers you today – especially when the weather changes.
In fact, lots of people have either degeneration to a joint, like a knee or shoulder, or an area of their spine without even knowing it. It may be “asymptomatic”, or without symptoms. It’s just as a result of walking around for three or four decades and is normal wear and tear on the body.
So, when someone is in a car wreck and suddenly they hurt all over, often diagnostic tests reveal not only an injury, but also an underlying condition of degeneration or even arthritic changes. “But I felt fine!” True, but as your doctor and attorney know, some of the damage was already done. That’s why you so feel so crummy – you hurt from the collision but also your body is reacting to what had been simmering for years.
Does that mean I don’t have a case for the injuries I got in this bad crash? No, of course not. In order to maintain a claim for injuries against someone for a car crash case, you must demonstrate that you have a “permanent injury” directly related to the crash. Well, actually, your physician must demonstrate that because no insurance company is going to take your word for it.
Now, in Florida, a lawyer can maintain a claim for a permanent injury which is defined as: (1) death (duh!); (2) any physical scarring; and, (3) virtually anything else that a physician discovers. Most clients fall into the third category of “everything else”.
An exacerbation, or worsening, of a prior injury isn’t technically a permanent injury; it’s basically stirring up what was already there. However, a good physician will be able to tell through x-rays, CAT scans or MRIs as well as a physical examination if there is any worsening of a prior medical condition. After all, once a body part has sustained an injury, it’s only logical that a compromised body part is highly susceptible to being worsened by another trauma.
So, just because the aging process tends to wear us down, injuries from a recent trauma are generally separate and apart from the degeneration that may have taken place. Do not let that deter you from seeking justice for your situation. The laws of entropy may be a nag, but it doesn’t take us out of the claim.
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