Any auto accident injury situation may have facts that seemingly tip in favor of the defense. Perhaps you didn't experience symptoms right away. Perhaps you endured previous injuries to that same area of your body. Perhaps the collision was a low-speed crash.
The key, in circumstances like this, is not to assume that these factors automatically prevent you from suing successfully and obtaining much-needed compensation.
To discover how strong your case really is, you need to get knowledgeable answers from an experienced Santa Barbara vehicle accident lawyer.
A truck accident case from San Diego is a good illustration of this point.
K.Y. was stopped at a stop sign when a city garbage truck, which was making a left turn, crashed into the passenger side of the man's front bumper. The injured man did not require emergency treatment; rather, his friend simply came and took him to an "Urgent Care" clinic.
One year later, he required surgery (a microdiscectomy) because he had a herniated disc in his lower back, which allegedly was a result of the crash.
Based on the harm he suffered, the man sued the city. The city asserted some of the defenses that at-fault parties often use in accidents like K.Y.'s. The city didn't contest fault but asserted that the collision couldn't have caused the serious harm the man alleged. Specifically, the city alleged that the crash was a low-speed (<10mph) one and that K.Y. had a history of preexisting back pain.
In reality, even low-speed accidents can cause substantial injuries. These often involve soft-tissue harm to the neck, shoulders, and/or back, including nerve damage or disc injuries. Research has shown that a person can experience a whiplash injury in crashes as low as 6 mph.
Additionally, your symptoms arising from your low-speed crash may not present themselves right away. You may not notice issues for days or even weeks after the collision. Just because you don't start displaying symptoms right away does not mean that those injuries are not attributable to your crash.
Preexisting Conditions and the Law of 'Causation'
Your medical background may play a role if you have a history of problems with the body part(s) that you allegedly injured in the crash. An argument that your harm was the result of a preexisting condition is one of the most common defense approaches. That's because your truck accident case likely will seek compensation based on a legal concept called "negligence." To win a negligence case, you have to prove, among other things, that your accident caused the injuries you alleged. If the defense can persuade the court that your injuries were the result of a preexisting problem, then that will disprove causation and undermine your case.
A strong case presentation can overcome this. Many people suffer neck or back harm in auto accidents. Many people also have, over their lifetimes, endured various injuries to their necks or backs (perhaps even from previous auto accidents.) Just because your back wasn't in pristine health before your crash does not necessarily mean that you cannot win a low-speed accident case.
In fact, in K.Y.'s case, the jury found in his favor and awarded him $375,000 in economic damages and $2.14 million in non-economic damages.
Whether your crash was a low-speed "fender-bender" or a high-impact collision, you may be entitled to recover significant compensation through appropriate legal action.
The skilled Santa Barbara truck accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP can help you assess your case and map out the best plan going forward.
Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.
GALINE, FRYE, FITTING & FRANGOS, LLP - SANTA BARBARA OFFICE
Thank you so much for all of your legal help on my case. I’ve really enjoyed working with you and your professional team including Lisa and Mavis. I also appreciate your efforts in reaching a settlement on my behalf. I will definitely refer my clients and friends to your firm they are in need of legal representation in the future. Regards.- ADRIAN C.