**You must seek treatment for you injuries that you have suffered as a result of your auto accident at a hospital, doctors office or chiropractor within 14 days of the day of the accident or you will loose you personal injury protection benefits under you insurance policy forever.**
Each year, in the United States, over two million people are injured in automotive accidents. These injuries, which are often related to the back or spine, can be debilitating, especially if the accident victim already has a pre-existing back condition.
Pre-existing conditions can make a person’s back or spine more susceptible to additional injury. Here is a bit of information about pre-existing back injuries and how they may affect an automotive accident victim’s claim.
Are Victims Always Aware of Their Pre-Existing Conditions?
General wear and tear are normal parts of the aging process. However, a back injury with active symptoms is not a standard component of growing old.
Nevertheless, the symptoms of some back injuries present over time. As a result, a car accident victim may not realize that he or she already has an existing back injury at the time of a collision.
How Do New Injuries Affect Pre-Existing Back Conditions?
New injuries can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Past wounds that appear to have healed may even resurface after a car accident.
Here are a few back injuries that are commonly caused by automotive accidents and may aggravate existing back issues.
During an accident, as the lower body is kept stationary by a seatbelt and the upper body is thrust forward, the vertebrae may be torn or fractured. If the vertebrae are already weakened by a pre-existing injury, the fracture may be more severe. In some instances, vertebral fractures cause damage to the spinal cord.
Whiplash is often due to a sudden backward-then-forward movement of the head. If the injured party already suffers from a neck condition, such as a pinched nerve, whiplash can further aggravate it.
A vertebral disc has a soft center, which can become herniated as it presses through the small openings of the disc’s exterior. Disc herniations can cause nerves to become inflamed.
If a victim already experiences numbness or tingling in areas of the body due to a herniated disc, he or she may easily recognize the symptoms as additional areas start to feel weak or numb after an automotive accident.
Spondylolisthesis, which can place pressure on sensitive nerves, is due to the shifting of the vertebrae. It may result in weakness, numbness and problems walking.
Should an Insurer Cover the Medical Care of a Victim With a Pre-Existing Back Injury?
If another driver is at fault during a collision, the accident victim should be reimbursed for medical damages, even if the victim previously injured his or her back. Some states help protect people with preexisting injuries by forcing insurers to cover damages associated with the pre-existing condition.
When compared to a person with no previous back conditions during an automotive crash, a person whose back has been previously injured may be susceptible to more injuries. However, the victim should not be penalized due to the negligence of another driver. If the worsening of the pre-existing condition is due to the accident, the injured party’s medical expenses should be covered.
How Are Insurers Likely to Combat a Payout?
Insurance companies may work to prove that the injuries of the crash victim are solely due to a prior event. If they can show that the victim’s condition is completely independent of the automobile accident, they may be able to lessen their financial responsibility.
To build a case against a large payout, insurers may present the injured party with a medical authorization form. This document, if signed by the victim, allows the insurance company to have access to the injured person’s medical records.
It is best not to sign a medical authorization without an attorney’s approval. Accident attorneys understand that insurers are likely to use the contents of medical records against the accident victim in an attempt to limit compensation. Thus, the lawyers prefer to control which documentation an insurance company is permitted to see.
If you have been involved in an automotive accident and have a pre-existing back condition, contact the office of David Mann & Associates.