Car crashes can cause a wide range of injuries. Sometimes, the harm is apparent, like when a person breaks a bone. Other times, the injuries are less obvious and may take time to discover or diagnose. Fibromyalgia is one of these types of conditions, and it can cause a great deal of pain and psychological stress for victims who develop it after a car crash.
When injuries are less evident, they can create challenges for the victims when proving their claims. However, with a strong case strategy, you can demonstrate the extent of the harm and the link to the accident and recover damages for more complicated conditions than the obvious ones that appear on the surface.
Car accidents can trigger fibromyalgia, and if you are the victim of a crash that led to this condition, you should call an attorney. An Orange County car accident attorney can help you understand your legal options for pursuing damages. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, call 949-727-9300.
Fibromyalgia causes pain all over a person’s body. Other symptoms of this poorly understood condition include fatigue, sleep difficulties, depression, migraines, difficulty with memory and concentration, and emotional distress. A patient who suffers from fibromyalgia will often experience pain differently because of abnormal pain perception processing.
The risk of developing this condition rises as you age, but even children can develop fibromyalgia. Individuals with certain autoimmune conditions are at a greater risk of fibromyalgia. Women are more likely to have fibromyalgia than are men, and evidence suggests that it is more likely in individuals with a family history of the condition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the many possible triggers for fibromyalgia is a stressful or traumatic event, such as a traffic accident.
The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Car Accidents
Although researchers still have much work to do to understand the causes of fibromyalgia, studies suggest that repeated nerve stimulation contributes to developing this condition. Repeated nerve stimulation is possible in people who suffer from traumatic injuries.
Your brain has pain receptors that activate when you suffer an injury. A car crash-related injury can cause physical and emotional pain that makes those receptors more sensitive. Symptoms might not become apparent for weeks or even months following the date of the crash. The early signs might include physical pain mixed with depression and anxiety.
If you believe you suffered fibromyalgia because of a car crash, you will need to seek medical attention and advice from a doctor. Proving your claim will require medical evidence of the injury.
Proving Damages Related to Fibromyalgia
The delay in the onset of fibromyalgia is just one factor that proves a link between car accidents and this condition a challenge. There is a statute of limitations for filing your injury claims. In California, the statute allows just two years from the date of the accident. Once you believe that you have symptoms of this condition, you should tell your lawyer.
You will also need to prove that you are suffering from symptoms that might not be apparent to others. Your attorney may need to find a medical expert who can convey the connection between a traumatic event and your fibromyalgia to the court.
What Damages Can You Collect For Fibromyalgia After A Car Accident?
If you develop fibromyalgia, you will likely need treatment from doctors, prescription medications, and other medical care. The expenses of these treatments can add up and become burdensome for the car accident victim. If you can succeed in proving that another driver negligently caused your injuries, you can recover damages that will compensate you for those losses.
Some of the likely damages that a victim can recover will include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Medical treatments
- Future anticipated medical costs
- Lost wages
- Future lost earnings
- Loss of quality of life
Although these damages cannot reverse the harm that the crash caused you, they can help alleviate some of the burdens and help you focus on your recovery during a difficult time in your life. You can discuss your case with an Orange County auto accident lawyer to better understand the damages that might be available based on the facts in your particular claim.
Pre-existing Injuries and Car Accident Damages
In California, you cannot recover from pre-existing injuries or illnesses after a car crash. Essentially, you cannot blame that condition on the collision if you had fibromyalgia before the accident. However, you can recover damages if the collision made your condition worse; this is known as an “Eggshell Plaintiff”. Any time that a crash exacerbates an injury, the increased harm is compensable.
Proving that a crash made injuries worse is a difficult task. You would likely need to provide a great deal of medical evidence demonstrating that the crash made the condition worse. Next, you would need to show how the more severe condition is further damaging your quality of life.
For example, imagine you had a fibromyalgia diagnosis, but you and your doctor had the condition under control, and you were living a full life. Then, you suffered injuries in a car accident, and the fibromyalgia became worse than ever and began to impact your ability to work and engage in activities that you enjoyed. Perhaps you now need additional medication to get by because of the added pain. In that instance, you might be able to prove that the car accident exacerbated your condition and that you, therefore, deserve compensation.
Comparative Negligence and Fibromyalgia
Auto accidents can be a messy and confusing situation. Defendants often try to pin fault on the injured person. Sometimes, the injured person is partly at fault for the collision. If the court agrees that the injured person shares blame for the crash, then it will reduce the available damages for the victim.
In California, the courts practice pure comparative negligence. Under this legal policy, a person who suffers injuries in a crash can recover damages even if they are primarily at fault for the collision. If the other party is also liable, then the victim can collect damages.
Imagine that you are 60 percent at fault for a crash, and your damages amount to $100,000. In that scenario, you could collect $40,000 from another driver who was 40 percent at fault.
Filing a Claim After a Car Crash
The legal system is challenging to navigate. Even before you file a lawsuit, insurers might contact you and offer to settle the claim. Remember that insurers are trying to keep their expenses to a minimum and offer quick settlements to get the claim off their plates.
You should not take a settlement without consulting with a lawyer. Remember that you might not know the extent of the harm in many cases, such as fibromyalgia, until long after the crash. While a quick settlement might sound appealing, you need to take the time to investigate your options with the support of an experienced lawyer.
Remember that most cases never go to trial, but your lawyer should be prepared to take the case all the way if they feel that the defendant is not offering a reasonable settlement.
Hire an Experienced Orange County Car Accident Attorney
If you have fibromyalgia because of a car crash, you will need to speak to an attorney about filing a claim. These cases can be challenging because proving the link between this condition and a collision will require detailed and technical medical evidence. At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas and Associates, our dedicated auto accident attorneys are ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our personal injury attorneys represent car accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a personal injury lawyer, please call 949-727-9300.
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