Degenerative changes and recovering non-econonomic damages

Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 by Ed Harper

I’d like to address the issue of degenerative changes to a person’s spine. While the MRI may establish degenerative changes, the testimony and evidence will often conclusively show that the injured person was not having any symptoms from this condition prior to the crash. The medical literature is replete with studies that show degenerative changes do not always equate with painful symptoms. Yet, following a crash, a client can develop painful symptoms, 100% of which ARE attributable to the collision.

What occurs is a battle over proximate cause ~ that is, the relationship or connection to the injury and the injury-inducing event. The defense will argue the issue as a pre-existing condition, while the injured person and their attorney will argue for a distinctly different condition due to the onset of symptoms.

Further, as for general damages, it seems the offers for compensation fail to address many areas of damage. The jury instruction for non-economic damage lists the following items for a jury to consider:

1) pain and suffering (past and future);
2) mental distress (past and future);
3) inconvenience;
4)disability –the impairment to lead a normal life (partial or total) (permanent or partial); and
5) loss of a specific athletic skill
6) loss of enjoyment of life.

All of these areas can be affected in the life of the injured person. Only by participating in some form (or forms) of curative care, such as physical therapy or home exercises, are individuals able to return to feeling somewhat normal. However, there is a substantial loss that has occurred in the meantime. For example, losing out on a summer of fun and enjoyment can be very detrimental to one’s quality of life.

If you have any questions for personal injuries arising anywhere in the USA, call Harper Law, PLLC at 425 284 3333. We have helped injured persons recover for a variety of injuries and we will provide a free consultation for bodily injury claims.

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