No two plaintiffs are alike, and defendants must accept their plaintiffs as they are, even if the plaintiff is unusually vulnerable to injuries. If you were injured sometime before your accident, those injuries might influence the outcome of a lawsuit.
You can still sue for damages from a car if you were previously injured. Your injuries and overall health might affect how your case turns out. Defendants might argue that they are not responsible for all your injuries, but they are responsible for new injuries and how they might have worsened existing injuries. In the end, a plaintiff’s sensitive or fragile condition does not relieve a defendant’s burden. You may claim damages and receive compensation for your injuries. Your prior injuries might cause your overall damages claims to go up, especially if the crash badly exacerbated existing injuries. You might also add greater pain and suffering to your overall damages.
Call our Maryland car accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, private case review with the team at Rice, Murtha & Psoras about your accident, current injuries, and prior injuries.
Can I Sue for a Car Accident if I Have Prior Injuries in Maryland?
If you already had injuries when you were further injured in a car accident, you may still sue for damages. While having pre-existing or prior injuries might make your damages claims a bit more complicated, it should not preclude you from suing or getting fair compensation.
There is often some confusion surrounding cases involving prior injuries. Can you sue for damages related to the old injuries if they occurred before the accident? Generally, our Towson car accident lawyers can help you sue for all injuries caused or worsened by the accident. The fact that you were already hurt and perhaps more vulnerable to additional injuries does not somehow absolve the defendant of liability.
In injury lawsuits, the legal rule of thumb is that defendants take plaintiffs as they are. If the plaintiff is strong and healthy, injuries from the accident might be less severe. Alternatively, if the plaintiff is in bad health and very susceptible to injuries, their injuries might be much worse. The defendant cannot argue that since injuries in a healthier person would be less severe, they should not have to pay for the plaintiff’s damages.
This is sometimes known as the “eggshell skull rule.” If the plaintiff has a medical condition making them vulnerable to injuries even from minor accidents, the defendant must take them as they are.
Compensation for the Harm a Car Accident Caused in Maryland
Think of your medical status and overall health right before the accident as a baseline when determining damages and compensation. Where was your baseline when you were injured in the accident? For someone with no prior injuries, their baseline for damages might be higher, meaning your damages and compensation might be a bit less. If you had prior injuries or health conditions, your baseline might be lower because you were already injured and vulnerable, and you might be entitled to greater damages.
For example, when a relatively healthy individual breaks their arm in a car accident, they will likely undergo typical medical treatments and healing processes. A broken arm usually takes several weeks to recover in a cast. More intense and expensive medical treatments might be necessary for someone with a prior arm injury or a medical condition that inhibits recovery, and the healing process might be much longer. Your compensation should reflect your greater damages.
How Previous Injuries Might Impact Your Car Accident Lawsuit in Maryland
Old injuries or underlying medical conditions might make run-of-the-mill injuries far worse, and the damages from the injuries and accident can be greater overall.
If you have prior injuries or medical conditions when you are involved in a car accident, your new injuries might interact with the old in a way that makes the entire situation much worse. This might be because your old injuries are not fully healed, or your medical condition makes new injuries more complicated.
Car accident survivors who have prior injuries often incur much higher hospital bills. Your body might be more fragile, and your injuries could be more severe and require more extensive treatment and care. Even if your injuries are not worse, you might have a longer road to recovery.
The more time you need to recover, the more time you might need to take away from working. If this happens, you might lose substantial income when you need it the most. In some cases, plaintiffs take extended leaves of absence from their jobs because their recovery process is so time-consuming.
You should also consider how your old and new injuries cause you pain and suffering. It goes without saying that the pain might be enormous when old injuries are re-injured. Imagine having a broken arm and then getting into a car accident. Your arm might be damaged even worse, and the pain might be immense. Do not discount the psychological or emotional stress. Recovering from injuries can be stressful as it is without having to worry about new injuries and a traumatic accident.
The defendant may be liable for all damages caused by the accident if they are deemed negligent. This includes additional damages stemming from the fact that you have prior injuries from before the accident.
However, if an old injury that existed before the accident did not impact your new injuries, the defendant might not be liable. For example, suppose you broke your right arm before the car accidentally. Next, suppose that the car accident did not further the injuries to your broken arm in any way. You might not be able to hold the defendant liable for your broken arm as it does not have much to do with the current accident and was not exacerbated by the defendant’s negligence.
However, suppose your broken arm was injured even further, making it far worse. The defendant might want to argue that since your arm was already broken, they are not fully responsible for the severe injury to your arm. This is untrue. Remember the eggshell skull rule. Defendants must take plaintiffs as they are, old injuries and all.
Contact Our Maryland Car Accident Attorneys if You Were Injured Before the Crash
Call our Baltimore car accident attorneys at (410) 694-7291 to set up a free, confidential case evaluation with the team at Rice, Murtha & Psoras about your accident and injuries, current and prior.