Back Injuries from Rear End Car Collision...

by Pamela
(Park Forest, IL)

The weather was clear and the streets dry. We were about to proceed in traffic when I saw the emergency vehicle to our right stopped for an officer and was rear ended pretty hard by another vehicle. The Park Forest, IL officer witnessed the accident and called paramedics. My 5yr old was buckled in his car seat but still hit his face on the back of my seat. I was not in my seat belt and hit my head on the dashboard. I immediately felt back pain as well as my husband who was in his seat belt.

My son and I went to the hospital by ambulance. My husband stayed behind with the car and came after he finished the accident report. We all were examined, had x-rays taken and CT scans.

My husband and I had 2 months of physical therapy and we both still have back problems. He's seen a specialist who has recommended surgery, but it's left up to him how long he can tolerate the pain. We both have had existing back problems in the past (injections, pain killers, etc), but the car accident just made the pain worse. Our son was fine, just a slight bump to his forehead and was frightened. I still experience the migraines. The driver was insured at the time accident occurred on 4-29-2010.

Can we receive compensation for future medical if we decide to have surgery at a later date? Also, are we entitled to pain & suffering? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Back Injuries from Rear End Car Collision...":

Pamela (Park Forest, IL):

In your representation of the facts you say you “saw the emergency vehicle to our right, stopped for an officer and was rear ended pretty hard by another vehicle.” Although you indicate the emergency vehicle was rear ended hard by another vehicle you do not indicate which vehicle, if any collided with your your vehicle. We will presume some vehicle collided with you.

For the sake of this discussion we will presume the driver of the vehicle which collided with your vehicle was at fault.

If so the next step would be for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to investigate the collision. The insurance company’s representative is referred to a Claims Adjuster. Once investigated she would have decided whether her insured was at-fault. If so, she would have then contacted you and your husband in an effort to secure your statements.

Presuming she found her insured was at fault she would have then made arrangements with you to pay a portion of your medical bills. We say a portion because when injured parties have pre-existing injuries insurance companies are hesitant to pay any amounts above the actual medical bills which can be directly linked to the new injury.

The reason they will hesitate is time honored. It's often virtually impossible to determine which part of a party’s pain and suffering was a result of the injury and which part was as a result of exacerbated pre-existing injuries.

Because the line is often blurred the burden of proof shifts from the at-fault driver to the injured parties – in this case you, your husband, and your child. Although your child had no pre-existing injuries his injury does not appear to be serious enough to have resulted in a substantial amount of medical bills.

If you decide to have surgery at a later date you should be sure to have the at fault driver’s Claims Adjuster authorize such surgery in writing. If you do not you may have difficulty having your surgery and that of your husband paid for.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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Comments for Back Injuries from Rear End Car Collision...

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Back Injuries from Rear end car collision
by: Anthony Castelli

Each jurisdiction has their own laws on what you can recover. So this is just some general information from my experience.

Whether you can recover or not for a particular injury, in your case back injury, depends first if the person you want to recover from was at fault, ordinarily termed negligence. Then you must show that the collision was a cause of your back injury.

The fact of preexisting injuries clouds the case for a potential jury. They of course will argue that's the real cause of your problems and/or that your husband was likely to have surgery without the injury.

One of the things taken into consideration is how forceful was the collision. Juries want to see significant car damage in order for them to think you have proven your case by a preponderance of the evidence.

How serious were your previous injuries and when was the last time you went to the doctor for them? Did the doctor recommend the possibility of surgery for previous injuries?

Will your Doctor give you an opinion that he is convinced that you have aggravated old injuries as a result of the car accident and/or been caused new injuries? Is there objective evidence (x-rays, ct scans, mri's) that the doctor can pinpoint that show your injury is new or was aggravated or is he going by just what you tell him?

These are a few considerations. And yes I would recommend you see an experienced personal injury trial attorney in the area where you live to advise you.

Anthony Castelli
Cincinnati personal injury lawyer

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