This is a common scenario. Nearly everyone over a certain age will have some sort of degenerative condition in their back like disc herniations. They may have some pain before or were even non-symptomatic but then made more painful or symptomatic following a car accident. I’ve even handled cases where my client was seeing an orthopedic doctor and getting physical therapy months before the car accident. After the car accident, the pain became so intense the only option was surgery.
Defense attorneys and insurance companies always try to spin these cases that the car accident didn’t do anything. They say my client was already hurting. But in California, the law allows for an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. In other words, if you had a prior condition, prior pain, prior injury and it was made worse because of the car accident, you are entitled to compensation for that. Also the law recognizes that some people are more susceptible to injury than others. You’re entitled to compensation even if you are more susceptible to injury than an average adult.
In other words, if you’re eighty years old and break every bone in your body as a result of the car accident, when the same car accident would’ve only bruised an 18 year old football player, it doesn’t matter. You’re entitled to compensation. The best thing to do in that situation is to make sure your medical provider clearly documents how the accident has changed you compared to how you were before the accident.