If you have been injured through no fault of your own in an accident in Greenville or in any part of South Carolina, you are entitled to recover for all injuries and damages caused by the negligence and carelessness of the person or company responsible. Although a preexisting injury may affect how your experienced and dedicated Greenville SC personal injury attorneys handle your case, a preexisting injury will not prevent you from recovering in your personal injury lawsuit here in Greenville or anywhere else in South Carolina.
Greenville Personal Injury Lawyers — Preexisting Injuries Legal Principles
Under South Carolina law, a wrongdoer “takes the plaintiff as he or she is found” which has the legal effect of making the wrongdoer liable for any aggravation of a preexisting condition. See Waring v. Johnson, 533 S.E.2d 906 (Ct. App. 2000). In general, an injured person is entitled to recover full compensation for all injuries which proximately and directly result from a wrongdoer’s negligent act or omission, even if the injuries may have been aggravated by reason of a preexisting condition. A South Carolina trial judge will instruct a jury that: “A defendant cannot invoke a preexisting condition of the person injured for the purpose of escaping the consequences of his/her own negligence or reducing the damages for which he/she is liable.”
In terms of money damages, the trial judge will instruct that
“If a plaintiff is suffering from a preexisting condition and the preexisting condition is aggravated by injuries sustained in a subsequent accident for which you find the plaintiff should be compensated, the plaintiff would be entitled to be compensated for the aggravation of the preexisting injury or condition as well as any new or additional injuries sustained in the subsequent accident. Provided, of course, such aggravation or new injury is the natural and proximate result of the negligence of the defendant.”
Note that there are two categories of damages set forth in that instruction: (i) money damages for the aggravation of the preexisting injury as well as (ii) any new or additional injuries sustained.
Greenville Personal Injury Lawyers — Medical Records Will Be Key to Prove Aggravation of Preexisting Injuries
Despite the foregoing, the wrongdoers often try and confuse the jury/fact-finder by arguing that the accident did not cause any new injury AND did not aggravate any old injury. This is why your doctor and your medical records will be key to winning compensation from the wrongdoer. Essentially, the medical records and the testimony from your doctor will need to show the extent of the old injury prior to the accident — the preexisting condition — and how it was made worse — aggravated — by the accident. Then, of course, if there are new injuries, then the medical records will show that too by demonstrating that you did not complain of problems with that body part prior to the accident.
As an example, let us say you broke your arm several years ago while you were skiing. The broken bone caused a 10 percent decrease in your hand strength, but otherwise you have healed. Now you are involved in slip and fall at the local Publix grocery store. Your arm is broken again and you also break your leg. The new break in your arm causes further deterioration of your hand strength — now measured at 50 percent loss of strength. At trial, you can claim damages for the new break in the arm, the broken leg and for the aggravation of your preexisting hand condition.
Greenville SC Personal Injury Attorneys: Call David R. Price, Jr. P.A. Today
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or a family member has suffered the death of a loved one, contact the skilled and courtroom-tested Greenville SC personal injury lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Here at David R. Price, Jr. PA we are ready and able to help you. We know South Carolina law. Contact our office today via email or by phone at (864) 271-2636.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.