Back on the Bike: What Happens If A New Accident Makes an Old Injury Worse?

At some point in almost every motorcycle rider’s life, an accident will occur. Whether it is a minor road rash injury after sliding on gravel or a full-on collision, experienced riders know that the key to conquering your fear of another accident is to get back on the bike.

It’s not uncommon to have long-term pain after an accident or collision. If you are in a new motorcycle crash that aggravates your existing injury, who is responsible? Are you entitled to compensation if a second accident makes pre-existing injuries worse?

Eggshell Skull Rule

A long-standing principle of the law known as the eggshell skull rule says that someone who injures another person takes their victim as they find them. The idea behind the rule is that someone who causes an injury is legally responsible for all of the expected consequences, even if the injured person was especially vulnerable to a certain type of injury.

For example, if a woman punches a man in the head, she may not expect that that man would die. However, if the man had just been in a motorcycle accident and was recovering from a cracked skull, her punch could do serious and unintended damage. It wouldn’t matter if the woman did not intend to seriously injure the man, or that the same punch wouldn’t have hurt an otherwise healthy man. The woman would take her victim as she found him, and be responsible for all the damage she caused.

Riding With Pre-Existing Conditions

Many people live their lives with health conditions and old injuries. Unfortunately, after an accident insurance companies often seize on these pre-existing conditions and claim that prior injury and not the accident is the cause of the injured person’s pain. According to the eggshell skull rule, however, the only thing that matters is whether or not the negligent driver caused the injured person pain.

Pre-existing conditions or old injuries can lay dormant for years without causing pain, and may only become symptomatic after a collision. For example, an old back injury or a bad knee might not have bothered the person for years, but an accident can make the pain flare up again. When an accident makes the pain worse, the person who negligently injured the other is responsible for aggravating the injury.

Though the eggshell skull rule is simple enough, insurance companies will not hesitate to claim that your pain was not caused by the accident, especially in cases involving back pain or soft tissue pain. Since it can be difficult to prove when and how these types of injuries occurred, insurance companies jump at the chance to attribute the pain to anything but their client’s negligence.

For this reason, many people hesitate to seek legal help after an accident if they had a pre-existing condition. They believe that if they were already injured or in poor health, then they will not be able to recover any damages in a lawsuit. This could not be farther from the truth.

If you think an accident made your pre-existing condition worse, you need to speak with an attorney. As soon as practical after your accident, contact the Law Office of Jonathan M. Galler, P.A. Our experienced Boynton Beach personal injury lawyers understand that a prior health condition or pre-existing injury should not keep you from getting the compensation you deserve after an injury caused by negligence.

To schedule your free consultation, contact our office today by calling 561.881.6912.

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