Degenerative disc disease is a form of osteoarthritis of the spine that affects more than three million people in the United States every year. The pain in the spine is caused from a damaged disc.
Degenerative disc disease results when normal changes that occur in your spine’s disks lead to pain in your spine. Spinal disks serve as shock absorbers that are between the bones of your spine. These disks help your back remain flexible, so you can twist and bend. When you age, they will start showing signs of wear and tear.
Degenerative Disc Disease After a Crash
Sometimes degenerative disc disease is in its early stages and there are no visible symptoms from the condition. Trauma, such as being hit by a drunk driver, can activate the symptoms and cause the pain. Insurance companies take the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease and use it as an excuse, saying that it is a natural condition that wasn’t caused by the crash.
The car accident can exacerbate the symptoms or activate them. While insurance companies might tell the crash victim that they don’t owe them any damages because the degenerative disc disease was pre-existing, this isn’t necessarily true.
If you have been hit by a drunk driver and you have pre-existing degenerative disc disease that was aggravated, causing you pain, you are still entitled to compensation for your injuries suffered in the crash, and you might have substantial damages. Having a pre-existing condition can make you more vulnerable to being injured in a crash, and if you were hit by a drunk driver, it doesn’t cause nullification of your claim.
Exacerbation of Injury and Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition
Your personal injury attorney will argue on your behalf to prove that your pre-existing condition was exacerbated or aggravated from being hit by a drunk driver. Without the trauma from the car crash, your pain wouldn’t have been as severe and your ability to function wouldn’t have become as limited or restricted.
In most cases, you are entitled to receive compensation for the exacerbation nor aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition. Below are some damages commonly suffered in accidents with drunk drivers:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
Some states allow punitive damages as a form of punishment for drivers who act negligently as a way to deter further behavior. Drunk driving is negligence, and many courts are trying to crack down on drunk driving, so depending on where you live, punitive damages could be a possibility.
Talk With a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease after having been hit by a drunk driver, you should consult with a personal injury attorney that practices in your state. Because personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you will not have to pay unless you win. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form today.