How Do Pre-existing Conditions Affect My Car Accident Injury Claim in Florida?
Understanding a car accident injury claim is often a daunting endeavor, especially when pre-existing conditions are involved. In Florida, where the law intertwines with your personal history, understanding the impact of your prior health status on a current injury claim is crucial. We’re here to guide you through these complexities with a blend of formal expertise and the warmth of a trusted advisor.
Florida’s Modified Comparative Fault Rule
Florida follows a NEW system (as of March 24 2023) known as the “modified comparative fault rule” in cases where multiple parties may share the blame for an accident. This system is designed to allocate the responsibility and damages based on the degree of fault that is attributed to each involved party. Here’s how it works:
- Determining Fault: After an accident, the fault is determined for all involved parties. Each party is assigned a percentage of fault based on their contribution to the cause of the accident.
- Awarding Damages: The total amount of damages is calculated. This may include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other related costs.
- Applying Modified Fault: The damages awarded to a person are reduced by a percentage equal to their share of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident, and the total damages amount to $100,000, you would be eligible to recover only $80,000.
- Threshold for Recovery: Under Florida’s modified rule, however, under if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you are barred from any type of recovery.
It’s crucial to understand this rule because it directly affects the compensation you can receive after an accident. In a lawsuit, the jury (or the insurance adjuster during settlement negotiations) will determine each party’s fault percentage. It is then used to adjust the compensation accordingly.
Pre-existing Conditions in the Sunshine State
In Florida, a pre-existing condition doesn’t bar you from seeking compensation after a car accident. However, it does add a layer of complexity to how your claim is evaluated. Here’s how this can play out in different scenarios:
- The Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine: Florida recognizes the “Eggshell Plaintiff” rule, which means that a defendant must take a plaintiff as they find them. Suppose your pre-existing condition was exacerbated by a car accident. In that case, the at-fault party can’t argue they shouldn’t be responsible for the additional harm caused, even if the injury might not have been as severe for someone without your pre-existing condition.
- Causation vs. Aggravation: A significant aspect to consider is whether the car accident caused new injuries or aggravated pre-existing ones. It’s a distinction that can heavily influence your claim. Medical records and expert testimony become pivotal here, showcasing the link between the accident and your injuries.
So, how do you go through this challenge? Here are some practical tips:
- Full Disclosure: Be honest about your medical history. Concealing pre-existing conditions can hurt your claim if discovered later.
- Medical Documentation: Keep comprehensive records of your medical treatment before and after the accident. This information is vital in distinguishing between past and current injuries.
- Expert Testimony: Your attorney might suggest enlisting medical experts who can explain how the accident impacted your pre-existing conditions.
- Mitigating Damages: You’re expected to mitigate your damages. This means following through with medical advice and treatments to ensure you’re not exacerbating the injury post-accident.
Contact Our Lawyer Team in Florida.
Remember, having a pre-existing condition doesn’t disqualify you from seeking fair compensation. It’s about clearly establishing the connection between the accident and your injuries, both new and pre-existing. And while this can be a complex process, it’s one you don’t have to face alone.
If you’re grappling with these concerns after a car accident in Florida, contact us. Contact The Dash Cam Lawyer®, at 561-DASHCAM (352-5299) for personalized guidance. Our approach is rooted in understanding and advocating for your unique situation—because here, you’re not just a case; you’re a valued member of our community seeking justice.
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