What could possibly destroy your personal injury case against a distracted driver? It could be easier than you think to lose a case even when the other driver admits to being in the wrong. This is what you should know.
You have to establish the link between the accident and your injuries.
Even a relatively minor accident can produce major injuries if you're struck at just the right angle or have something that makes you particularly prone to injury -- however, it's also possible to be in a big accident and still walk away with little more than a few scratches.
It's up to you to prove the connection between the accident you were in and the injuries you were treated for after that accident -- and, it's important to note, just because one follows the other doesn't automatically connect them in juror's minds.
For example, jurors in a Georgia case recently found in favor of a distracted driver who admitted to letting her attention wander and striking another driver from behind. However, her attorney successfully argued that there wasn't enough evidence connecting the accident to the other driver's back and neck injuries. The plaintiff had previously had chiropractic care for other back and neck problems and his current chiropractor didn't review the previous treatment notes before concluding that the injuries were related to the car accident.
Take specific steps to build yourself a stronger case.
The good news is that you do have some control over the situation and can take steps to help build a stronger connection between the accident and your injuries:
- Seek early treatment -- that helps show that you were experiencing pain and problems right after the accident and that there wasn't any other event in between that could cause your accident.
- Be clear with your treating physician about the difference between this injury and any prior injuries in the same area. For example, if you received chiropractic care in the past, be open about it to your current chiropractor, but explain what was different about your problems then as opposed to now and discuss how the old injury was resolved.
- Don't try to hide any pre-existing condition. You can still be compensated even if the current accident aggravated a pre-existing condition that was stable. However, if you try to hide the pre-existing condition, you could create unnecessary doubt in the jurors' minds about your current problems.
- Keep a pain journal. Many personal injury cases are built on the plaintiff's descriptions of his or her suffering -- journals and diaries can help give jurors a realistic timeline of the ups and downs of your healing process.
Keep in mind from the very start that the defendant's attorney is probably going to try to turn any pre-existing injury to his or her advantage -- basically implying that you already were suffering from your complaints and just took the opportunity that presented itself through the accident to collect some cash.
For more information, talk to a personal injury attorney like The Bernstein Law Firm.