Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries in Maryland Car Accidents

Being involved in a car accident can take a major toll on the body. While many serious car accidents result in new injuries that require treatment when none was needed before, other accidents can aggravate pre-existing injuries. This may be the case in even a low-speed collision when the impact is too slight to cause any new injury.

X-ray of Knee

In lawsuits alleging the aggravation or acceleration of a pre-existing condition, a plaintiff must be careful to distinguish the symptoms of the injury before and after the accident. This is because a court will not hold a defendant liable for the pre-existing condition itself, but it may hold a defendant liable for an aggravation of the pre-existing condition. This can often be a very contested element of a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. A recent case illustrates the difficulties one plaintiff had seeking compensation for the aggravation of a pre-existing knee injury.

Harnish v. Corra: The Facts

Corra was injured when he was struck from behind by Harnish’s vehicle while waiting to make a left-hand turn into a parking lot. Having recently undergone neck surgery, Corra was most concerned with his neck in the moments after the accident. However, once he was transported to the hospital, he began to notice that he had pain in his right knee.

Corra filed a lawsuit against Harnish, seeking compensation for his injuries, including roughly $9,000 for his neck and $16,000 for his knee. Part of the recovery sought for Corra’s knee was to cover the cost of a surgery that he had after the accident.

At trial, Harnish admitted liability for the accident, as well as the fact that Corra’s neck injuries were caused by the accident. However, Harnish denied that Corra’s knee injuries were the result of the accident, claiming that the injury was a pre-existing condition. Each side presented expert testimony on the issue of whether Corra’s knee injury existed prior to the accident. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Corra, but only in the amount of $9,000, which was compensation for his neck injuries.

Harnish appealed the grant of Corra’s motion for a new trial to the state’s highest court. That court agreed with Harnish that there was conflicting evidence presented and that the jury resolved the evidence in favor of Harnish. There was no reason to grant the new trial because the jury’s verdict could be reconciled by the facts presented, namely that the injury was pre-existing and not sufficiently aggravated by the accident to warrant surgery.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for all that you have been through, including the worsening of any injuries you had prior to the accident. However, as you can see from the case discussed above, these claims are often met with fierce denials from defendants and their insurance companies. To ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the trial process, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney at 410-654-3600 today. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

DUI Accidents on Maryland Roads, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published May 17, 2016.

Premises Liability Case Dismissed Based on Lack of Foreseeability of Harm, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published June 2, 2016.

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