Most people believe arthritis only happens to older people and is made worse in cold weather. This is not the only reason for getting it. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in particular can occur after a serious and traumatic injury such as in an auto accident.
If you think that you have this type of arthritis, or it has worsened due to an auto accident and you have evidence to prove it, you may be eligible to file a personal injury compensation claim.
A claim may help you with medical costs and any loss of earnings caused by your inability to work and earn a living.
Don’t miss the opportunity of being compensated for an accident that was not your fault but caused you to suffer from arthritis. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your chances of winning a PI compensation claim.
What is Arthritis and How Can It Affect Your Everyday Life?
Most people believe RA is a joint or bone disorder, but this is not in fact true. It has been discovered that it is related to a person’s immune system.
It is when the immune system no longer functions well and leads to inflammation of the joints in the fingers and knees, for example. Apart from that it can also cause a dry mouth due to difficulties with producing saliva and red, swollen and sore eyes.
There are various factors that cause this to happen and one of these is when the body has been subject to a severe blow like coming into contact with a hard surface in an auto accident which has caused a serious injury.
Becoming an RA sufferer is an important life changing event and may involve giving up work permanently which ultimately means serious financial disruption.
Post Traumatic Arthritis
Post traumatic arthritis is a common affliction after a moderate to serious car accident. Medical authorities estimate that 5.6 million people across the country suffer from this sort of arthritis. Not all post traumatic arthritis is caused by vehicle accidents, as any kind of trauma can cause damage to the cartilage that helps provide lubrication in the joints.
The damage is done when the body is violently thrown out of its normal position when a collision takes place. The violent motion damages the cartilage and ligaments directly and this later develops into an injury that often proves chronic and hard to treat.
The symptoms of post traumatic arthritis are similar to other types of osteoarthritis:
- pain when the joint is moved;
- inflammation caused by pressure build-up within the joint;
- difficulties when trying to move around or use the joint affected to walk, run, lift or swim.
Post traumatic arthritis can have a longer term effect on the accident victim than other injuries as it is hard to treat and may only show up as a problem long after the actual accident. A personal injury claim should take into account the cost of dealing with the arthritis itself as well as any effect on employment, i.e. lost opportunities to earn an income.
Maintaining Documentation to Support Your Claim
Insurers are never keen to release compensation payments. They will want to see evidence that you were not at fault if you are filing your claim with another driver’s insurer and not your own. You will also need to submit as much documentation as possible to support the amount you have claimed.
Be wary of submitting too little a claim for post-traumatic arthritis as it can take longer to show up than other more immediate injuries and could be a long term issue that will affect you financially.
These are the documents that insurers will want to inspect when you submit your claim:
- doctor’s report on your injuries, treatment advised and long term prognosis if arthritis is diagnosed; it is particularly important for the doctor to give an opinion on the causation of the arthritis bearing in mind the recent accident;
- receipts showing cost of doctor’s visits;
- copies of test and scan reports from hospital or medical center;
- proof of cost of medications;
- proof of cost of any hospital treatment;
- proof of lost earnings from your employer or business;
- estimate of future costs of medical treatment and lost earnings if arthritis is diagnosed as a long term problem.
Determining the Other Driver’s Liability for the Crash
If you intend making a claim through another driver’s insurer, you will need evidence that:
- the other driver was negligent;
- that negligence caused a car crash;
- that you were injured in the crash;
- that your injuries were caused by the other driver’s negligence.
- failure to stop at an intersection;
- ran a red light and hit you;
- was DUI at the time of the crash;
- was distracted because of a mobile device or other reason;
- drifting over the center line;
- failing to keep a safe distance behind.
Insurers don’t make a profit by taking your word for it. They need as much evidence as you can obtain that satisfies the points stated above.
Car accidents don’t just happen without a reason. If the other driver was to blame, then you will need to explain why you think s/he was to blame, e.g.
The best evidence that shows who was to blame and why is the testimony of eye witnesses. There aren’t always eye witnesses present and sometimes they may not be prepared to provide a statement or confirm what they saw happen.
If you are able to do so, at least take contact details of anyone who was at the crash scene and may have seen what happened. Your personal injury attorney may be able to subpoena evidence from an eye witness later on if there is a reluctance at the time of the accident.
If the accident took place at a busy intersection there may be a surveillance camera nearby that could have recorded video footage of the accident happening. This may be a long shot but would certainly be valuable evidence of liability.
The other main source of evidence will come from the police report compiled by officers at the crash scene. They will attend if there is a traffic hold up and if an injury occurs.
The Types of Damages You Can Claim For in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
You are entitled to file a claim for arthritis caused by an auto accident that was not your fault. If the claim is ultimately successful.
You should have all your medical expenses paid, compensation for loss in earnings because you are unable to work and an amount calculated for the pain and suffering you have to endure because of an accident that was not your fault.
In some cases you may be entitled to punitive damages if the injury was caused by the negligent behavior of another party. Find out more about what damages you might be entitled to if you file a personal injury claim.
You May Need an Attorney to Help You File a PI Claim
Sometimes it’s possible to file a PI claim on your own but normally when this is done you can’t necessarily expect to get the amount you requested.
An experienced PI attorney knows how difficult insurers can be when it comes to reaching a fair settlement but will negotiate with determination for a fair payment to compensate you for the financial burden of an accident and the arthritis that developed that was not your fault.
If you still have questions on what next steps you have to take, it is always best to speak with a personal injury attorney in your area.