Personal injury is a complicated area of law that involves seeking compensation for expenses related to injury or death caused fully or in part by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, thing, or entity. According to HG.org, a legal resource website, personal injury law refers to the “legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct.” You will hear the word “tort” in personal injury speak; “tort” is the Latin term meaning “twist, wrong, or harm.” In contrast to criminal law, a tort action does not involve criminal prosecution. Rather, these cases involve a private plaintiff seeking compensation for the harm caused by the defendant’s actions.
Tort law is the area of law that protects people from bad acts of others. When a person commits a tort, they violate civil law. If a person is damaged by someone else’s wrongful act, they can bring a claim for compensation against the person who commits the tort. The goal of tort law is to ensure that wrongdoers pay for the damage they cause instead of the victims.
Most personal injury cases are based on the doctrine of negligence, which requires every member of society to act responsibly and avoid putting others at risk. In order to establish liability on the part of the defendant, the plaintiff must prove that a “reasonably prudent person” in the defendant’s position would have acted differently under the circumstances.
Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Claims
Pre-existing conditions are sometimes brought up in personal injury claims. For instance, if someone is rear-ended by a distracted driver and suffers serious injuries because of a pre-existing condition of bone disease that causes bones to be extremely brittle, the damages suffered may far exceed those that someone without a bone disease would have suffered. Insurance companies will always look for ways to avoid paying out large sums of money following a car accident, and pre-existing conditions often come up in accident cases.
By learning that a car accident victim had a pre-existing condition that would cause them to suffer more extensively than a healthy person, a car insurance company will work to prove the person was injured prior to the car accident to avoid paying out large sums of money. For this reason, it’s very important to disclose to your personal injury attorney any pre-existing conditions you may have, and it’s also very important to present any and all medical records you have that document any pre-existing conditions.
Sometimes plaintiffs will try to use their pre-existing condition to show more injury than they actually suffered in an accident, but this simply will not work. The defendant’s attorney (and any insurance company involved) will go to great lengths to find out the nature and severity of any pre-existing conditions, and how those conditions played a part or did not play a part in accident-related injuries.
There really is no way to outsmart an insurance company or competent lawyer, so the best course of action is to be completely honest and transparent with your personal injury attorney whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant in a personal injury case. You must not even consider trying to hide a pre-existing condition, and your lawyer really can’t help you if you’re evasive or deceptive regarding your health and any pre-existing conditions you may have.
If you are injured in Louisiana, please call the Law Offices of J. Ransdell Keene at 800-597-9247 to schedule your free consultation.