Article by Ryan P. Lee, a personal injury lawyer in Calgary, Alberta
One of the most challenging problems when advancing a claim for personal injuries following an accident is proving the injuries actually occurred. This problem is further emphasized if you’ve had health concerns in the past due to previous accidents, sports, or other activities, or health concerns, or you’ve sustained an intervening injury due to another car accident, a sports injury, or the onset of some other condition after your car accident, but before your claim is resolved. The insurance company and the courts will carefully scrutinize your medical history to determine whether your claimed symptoms are attributable to injuries sustained in the accident, or whether they are related to an incident or condition wholly separate. This is part two of a two-part article dealing with the impact of unrelated injuries.
Injuries Part 2 – Intervening Injuries
Once you’ve been involved in an accident or sustained an injury for which you’ve commenced a legal claim, the process is a methodical one which may take an extended period of time to resolve. While the process is ongoing, our clients continue to live their lives by continuing to work, remain active with their families and in the community, and continue with their routines to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, while doing so, some people sustain further injury due to some other incident. Examples of this include sustaining an injury while playing sports, developing a medical condition or being involved in a subsequent accident. Your claim may be impacted, depending on what or how the injury occurred or what it affects.
If you’ve sustained an injury to your neck and back, which is the subject of a legal claim and subsequently injure your leg in a sports accident, it’s unlikely that your claim will be impacted, because the injuries are divisible. That is, it is easy to discern and separate the injured areas from your legal claim versus your unrelated incident. However, if your injured leg impacted your posture which aggravated your neck and back, that may be taken into consideration when assessing the range of damages.
Consider again if you’ve sustained an injury to your neck and back, which is the subject of a legal claim. Subsequently, you develop a genetic medical condition which causes pain all over your body (including the neck and back). In that case, the injuries may not be as easily divisible, since you now suffer a condition which is superimposed onto the original injury you suffered. In this case, it may be necessary to consult with medical experts investigate and answer these key questions:
(a) Was the subsequent condition related to or caused by the accident?
(b) How, if at all, did the subsequent condition aggravate the accident injuries or vice versa?
Finally, consider if you’ve sustained an injury to your neck and back, which is the subject of a legal claim. Then, your neck and back are subsequently injured in yet another accident prior to recovering fully from your injuries from the first accident. Both parties who caused the injuries and subsequent aggravation may share apportioned responsibility for your injuries’ duration, severity, and impact on your life. This is because it may not be possible to determine when the effects of one injury end and the next one begins. Therefore, when your claim is assessed upon resolution, they may be valuated together as a single sum, rather than separately. Alternatively, if you’ve injured your neck and back but fully recovered prior to the second incident, both injuries may be considered and valuated separately as it is discernable as to when one injury resolved and the next one began.
If you have been injured in an accident, the lawyers at Kubitz & Company would be happy to discuss the claims that are available to you. Please call us at 403-250-7100 to speak with us.
Article by Ryan P. Lee, a personal injury lawyer in Calgary, Alberta.