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What if a Car Accident Worsens My Back Injury?

Traumatic v. Non-Traumatic Back Injuries

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal injuries in the United States. The impact of a collision can put a tremendous amount of stress on the spinal column, leading to a variety of injuries. The spinal cord is an essential part of the nervous system that runs down the back and sends signals from the brain to the rest of the body. Any damage to the spinal cord can cause a range of symptoms, including paralysis, loss of sensation, and chronic pain.

Spinal injuries are classified into two categories: traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic spinal injuries are caused by sudden trauma, such as a car accident or fall. Non-traumatic spinal injuries are caused by degenerative conditions, such as arthritis or spinal stenosis.  Oftentimes, people experience both types of injury.  They may have degenerative disc disease or arthritis for example and then be involved in a car accident that jolts the spine and worsens the pre-existing condition.

In a car accident, the body can experience a sudden jolt of impact, causing the spine to move in ways that it was not meant to. This sudden movement can lead to a variety of injuries, including herniated discs, spinal fractures, and spinal cord injuries.

Herniated discs occur when the soft inner material of a spinal disc protrudes through the outer layer and presses against a nerve. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or legs. In a car accident, the force of impact can cause a herniated disc, leading to symptoms that may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.

Spinal fractures occur when the bones of the spine break or crack. These fractures can cause instability in the spine, leading to pain and limited mobility. In severe cases, spinal fractures can cause paralysis or loss of sensation in the legs.

Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is damaged or severed. The severity of a spinal cord injury depends on the location and extent of the damage. In some cases, spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis or loss of sensation below the level of the injury.

If someone has a pre-existing spinal injury, a car accident can exacerbate the injury or cause new symptoms to appear. The sudden jolt of impact can cause the spine to move in ways that can damage already compromised structures. Additionally, a car accident can cause inflammation and swelling around the spinal cord and the spinal column, leading to further damage.

It is essential to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you do not feel any immediate pain or discomfort. Some spinal injuries may not show symptoms right away, and delaying treatment can lead to more severe and long-lasting damage.

If you suspect that you have a spinal injury after a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may order imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans, to diagnose the extent of your injury.

California Law on Exacerbation of Pre-Existing Conditions

Two principal concepts come into play from a legal perspective when analyzing exacerbation of pre-existing spine injuries from auto accident claims in California.  These are as follows:

Egg shell Plaintiff Rule: “The tortfeasor takes the person he injures as he finds him. If, by reason of some preexisting condition, his victim is more susceptible to injury, the tortfeasor is

not thereby exonerated from liability.” (Rideau v. Los Angeles Transit Lines (1954) 124 Cal.App.2d 466, 471.

Exacerbation Rule: “[A] tortfeasor may be held liable in an action for damages where the effect of his negligence is to aggravate a preexisting condition or disease. Plaintiff may recover to the full extent that his condition has worsened as a result of

defendant’s tortious act.” (Sanchez v. Kern Emergency Medical Transportation Corp. (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 146, 168 [213 Cal.Rptr.3d 830].)

How can a California Personal Injury Attorney Help Maximize Recovery for Exacerbation of Pre-Existing Back Injuries in Auto Accident Claims?

A California personal injury attorney can be instrumental in helping to maximize recovery for exacerbation of pre-existing back injuries in auto accident claims. The attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the claims process, from negotiating with insurance companies to representing the client in court.

One of the key ways that an attorney can help maximize recovery for exacerbation of pre-existing back injuries is by thoroughly investigating the case. This may involve reviewing medical records, consulting with medical experts, and conducting an independent investigation of the accident. The attorney can use this information to build a strong case for the client and help prove that the defendant’s actions caused or worsened the plaintiff’s injuries.

Another way that an attorney can help maximize recovery for exacerbation of pre-existing back injuries is by accurately calculating the damages that the plaintiff is entitled to. Damages in personal injury cases can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with the injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that all of the plaintiff’s damages are properly documented and accounted for, so that the plaintiff can receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.

Additionally, an attorney can help negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of the client. Insurance companies are often focused on minimizing their own costs and may try to settle claims for less than they are worth. An attorney can use their knowledge and expertise to negotiate a fair settlement on behalf of the client and ensure that their rights are protected throughout the process.

Finally, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, an attorney can represent the client in court. This involves presenting the case to a judge or jury and advocating for the client’s right to compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that the case is presented effectively and persuasively, and can work to secure a favorable outcome for the client.

In summary, a California personal injury attorney can help maximize recovery for exacerbation of pre-existing back injuries in auto accident claims by thoroughly investigating the case, accurately calculating damages, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing the client in court if necessary. If you have suffered a pre-existing back injury that has been aggravated by a car accident, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.


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