Causation in Personal Injury Case and WHY It Matters So Much
After practicing personal injury law for over 21 years, one thing that appears in almost every case is CAUSATION. What does this mean in “Legal Land?” It boils down to this – the injured party must prove that his/her injuries were MORE LIKELY THAN NOT caused by the wreck, defective product, fall, accident or other way in which they were injured.
The Defense taken by most insurance companies is simply “we didn’t cause that.” It is really an easy defense for the insurance company to take and they are masters at it. It works like this. You are 40 years old. You are rear-ended. Your back hurts, but you hope it will go away. Two days later it still hurts. You go to the walk in clinic and they say its probably just a strain. You take some over the counter medication. Three weeks later you are still having problems. You start making plans to see another doctor. On the way to that doctor, you are hit again. The insurance company in the first wreck just got a HUGE GIFT. How are you going to show what was wrong with your back from the first wreck. No one looked inside your back after the first wreck. The most you had was an x-ray and it only looked at the bones in your back. Not surprisingly, none were broken. So, guess what you hear from the insurance company about your first wreck? “We are sorry, the records don’t support anything other than a strain from the first wreck. If anything is wrong with you going forward, it must be from the second wreck.”
But wait, it gets better, the second wreck will now try to blame the first wreck. But wait, it gets even better yet, both wrecks will blame whatever pre-existing condition you had in your back before either wreck and they will also blame your life after both wrecks. Doesn’t matter to them – they will blame anything else other than the wreck you had with them. Notice, none of this mentions that their insured was at-fault. They won’t dispute that. They will simply argue that the wreck did not CAUSE you any injuries.
How do you combat against all this? Get treatment ASAP after you are injured. Waiting is generally not your friend. List all your injuries from head to toe. Take photographs of your injuries. Fill out your medical forms carefully. List all problems you have following your injury from head to toe as stated above. Where possible explain what your body did during the crash so the doctor understands how you were injured in the crash. Take photos of your car, motorcycle, or item that injured you. And, no matter what, don’t go on the record and give a recorded statement to the insurance company.
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