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I Had Neck Problems Before My Car Accident, But Since They’ve Gotten Much Worse. Can I Still Get Money From The Insurance Company?

Yes, but no two cases are alike.

Technically, the law is that “you take them as you find them”; this means that if you had a fragile, but not very painful neck before the accident, but you have severe pain after the accident, the insurance company still owes you for the extent to which the other driver made your condition worse.

You need an “opinion letter” from your doctor stating that the accident caused your new injury, or “exacerbated your preexisting condition”, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

If the other driver is the “straw” that broke your back, his insurance company is responsible for fixing your back and all the damage that the accident caused. If your back is as fragile as an eggshell, then the other driver’s insurance is responsible for everything that follows from breaking your “egg.”

But there are a whole lot of things that might get in the way of what you – and your lawyer – consider a full recovery.

The insurance company may hire a doctor to examine you, who might say that your injuries would have happened anyway. (I have heard insurance lawyers ask the doctor “Your back can go out with just a sneeze, right?”)

The insurance company may bank on the jury’s reluctance to award a lot of money for a small impact. Virtually everyone has been in a rear-ender; but if the impact isn’t that great, most people don’t expect surgery to result from it.

But still – if you were free of treatment for a while before the accident, and your doctor had not recommended surgery beforehand, and he says that the accident caused your problems now, it sounds like a good lawsuit to me.

Here are some of the things that might make a difference:
• How long had it been since you talked to a doctor about your neck, or treated for it?
• Had your doctor recommended surgery?
• How hard was the impact?
• Who is the insurance company on the other side?
• Is your doctor willing to say that the accident caused you to require new treatment?

I have been a lawyer over 30 years. Even if you have a prior injury, you should always talk to a lawyer if the accident made you worse. If you have a personal injury case in Cincinnati, Ohio or if you want to know what your lawsuit is worth, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Injury Attorney about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.

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