Aggravation Of Pre-Existing Injuries

In our trial practice we are often presented with cases where the client had a pre-existing medical condition which was aggravated by an accident. As an example, someone can have asymptomatic degenerative disk disease, be involved in an automobile collision and thereafter begin to experience symptoms of pain because of the injury to their neck or back. Someone can have any asymptomatic pre-existing condition, which is aggravated by the trauma from an accident, which causes the pre-existing condition to become asymptomatic. Obviously, the issue in the all such cases is whether the trauma caused the underlying condition to become symptomatic or whether the condition became symptomatic at or about the time of the accident for reasons unrelated to the trauma.
The debate between defense counsel and plaintiff’s counsel in these cases is all to familiar. Defense counsel always contend that the pre-existing condition was there before the accident, that their client had nothing to do with it and that the client is embellishing or malingering and trying to blame the admittedly at fault client for injuries they did not cause. In reality, many underlying pre-existing medical conditions are entirely asymptomatic and do not cause the victims any pain and suffering or the need for substantial medical treatment until the trauma occurs. This debate can be won and should be won in cases in Georgia because the law of our state is that any injured individual is entitled to compensation for the aggravation of a pre-existing injury.
In Georgia the law is that if you cause injury to another, you take that person as you find them. If they have an underlying condition or prior medical problem and you aggravate that problem due to your negligence, then the victim is entitled to compensation to the extent their pre-existing condition was aggravated by the tort. Thus, in Georgia there is compensation for pre-existing conditions to the extent they were aggravated by the defendant’s conduct.
Because the medical legal issues in these cases are often complicated and involve expert testimony from physicians, it is obviously important that clients carefully review these issues with their attorney so that the attorneys can confer with treating physicians and get accurate testimony for presentation to a jury and/or for use in settlement negotiations.

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