Pre-existing Injuries in Personal Injury Cases

September 24, 2010
By Parker Scheer LLP on September 24, 2010 5:16 PM |

The law in Massachusetts regarding exacerbation of pre-existing injuries is crystal clear and yet cases involving a worsening of an underlying condition can be extremely difficult to prove. Massachusetts law holds a defendant who injures another as a result of negligence responsible for the exacerbation of any pre-existing injury that plaintiff suffers as result of the accident. Despite the state of the law, plaintiffs' lawyers often face vigorous opposition when attempting to convince an insurance adjuster and defense attorney that the accident at issue caused the plaintiff's underlying condition to worsen.

Plaintiffs' attorneys typically encounter exacerbation of injuries as it relates to the neck and back. A plaintiff may have an underlying herniated disc in his neck for which he received conservative treatment five years prior to the accident. The plaintiff is subsequently injured in a motor vehicle accident which causes him to have severe neck pain. Following the motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff receives medical treatment including surgery on his neck. That plaintiff often faces an uphill battle attempting to prove to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the motor vehicle accident exacerbated the underlying neck injury and necessitated the resulting surgery.

Plaintiffs such as the one just described with underlying injuries that are exacerbated as a result of a personal injury case should be prepared to hear that the condition was pre-existing and nothing the defendant did caused the underlying condition to worsen. Plaintiffs must refute the defendant's denial of the claim by demonstrating through use of the medical records, radiological films and experts that the pre-existing condition was in fact worsened as a result of the negligence of the defendant.


If you have been involved in an accident that caused an injury or an exacerbation of a pre-existing injury, contact out attorneys for a free confidential case review at 866-414-0400.