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NJ Car Accident Law: Can You Recover Damages for Aggravation of a Pre-existing Condition?

Philip Ciprietti, NJ Car & Truck Accident Lawyer

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New Jersey car and truck accidents often result in drivers and/or passengers sustaining injuries. In car, truck or bus accidents on the NJ Turnpike, Atlantic City Expressway, or other NJ highways, drivers and passengers often sustain serious injuries because the cars are traveling at high speeds when the accidents occur.

Some of the serious injuries may include:

• traumatic brain injuries;
• fractured bones;
• loss of limbs;
• death.

NJ drivers and passengers may also have pre-existing injuries that are aggravated by the car accident. Most injured car accident victims with pre-existing injuries wonder if they can recover for the aggravation of these injuries, and the answer is yes.

In a car accident lawsuit, the injured plaintiff has to prove that there is a causal link between the accident and the claimed injuries sustained. Causation is typically questioned when the injured plaintiff claims that the accident aggravates a pre-existing condition, especially in an accident where the injured car accident victim has verbal threshold.

Proving Aggravation of a Preexisting Condition in a Verbal Threshold Lawsuit

When a plaintiff who has verbal threshold claims that a car or truck accident aggravated his/her pre-existing medical condition, the New Jersey Supreme Court has said, “[w]hen a plaintiff alleges aggravation of pre-existing injuries as the animating theory for the claim, then plaintiff must produce comparative evidence to move forward with the causation element of that tort action.” Davidson v. Slater, 189 N.J. 166, 170 (2007).

In other words, plaintiff must provide medical evidence that compares her pre-existing injury prior to the car accident and after the accident.

For example, prior to a car accident, plaintiff had a herniated disc in her lower back as shown in an MRI taken prior to the accident; however, it was asymptomatic. She had no pain, numbness, etc., and this is documented in her medical records. Further, she received no physical therapy or any other medical treatment for her back.

However, after the accident, she began to feel numbness, tingling and pain in her lower back and down her leg. An MRI taken after the accident shows that the disc is now more protruded and pressing on nerves causing the numbness, pain and tingling.

In this situation, plaintiff can provide sufficient comparative analysis via medical records to differentiate her medical condition before and after her car accident.

Suggested Reading: New Jersey Car Truck Accidents – What Can You Recover?

New Jersey Car and Truck Accident Lawyer with Over 35 Years of Experience. Free Consultations

If you are subject to verbal threshold and were in a car or truck accident that aggravated a pre-existing medical condition on a New Jersey highway, feel free to contact Phil T. Ciprietti, Esquire for a free initial consultation. You need an experienced NJ car accident lawyer to successfully bring a lawsuit. 800.281.8695

Here’s what former clients have to say about working with Phil Ciprietti:
“Phil is professional in his dealings and a great communicator. He never comes off as pompous or talks down to us. He asks for our opinions, and applies any information to help our case.” -William J. Bell, Sr. and Noni Bookbinder Bell

*Disclaimer: Every case is unique and you should not take any action or make decisions in your case without speaking to a qualified car and truck accident lawyer in New Jersey. This website page does not provide legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Discussion of prior outcomes and results is no guarantee of the same or similar outcome in current or future cases. Use of the contact form on this website or emailing Mr. Ciprietti does not create an attorney-client relationship. In addition, confidential information should not be sent through the contact form.

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