When a car accident lawyer hears from a client that “the accident caused my bulging disc,” it is unlikely that is medically accurate. But that does not mean that there cannot be a meaningful settlement or verdict at trial. Let me explain.
Many of us have bulging discs. Unlike a herniated disc, most bulging discs are not as the result of trauma. But, clearly, trauma can exacerbate a bulging disc that is otherwise dormant and has not caused any symptoms. Under Maryland accident law, the defendant is obligated to pay for the net harm caused by the accident.
This Maryland law that protects the vulnerable is reflected in Maryland pattern jury instruction 10:3:
Susceptibility to Injury
The effect that an injury might have upon a particular person depends upon the susceptibility to injury of the plaintiff. In other words, the fact that the injury would have been less serious if inflicted upon another person should not affect the amount of damages to which the plaintiff may be entitled.
So just because the accident victim had a pre-existing injury – in this case, a bulging disc – it does not mean that the victim cannot recover even if the same accident might have caused less or no harm to someone without that preexisting injury.
Our accident lawyers have used this metaphor for preexisting injuries at trial. Let’s say a farmer gets rear-ended by a truck while carting a full load of eggs, causing the eggs to be broken. The truck driver who rear-ended the farmer cannot come into court and say that he had no obligation to pay for the broken eggs because if golf balls had been in the crates instead of eggs, there would not have been any harm. Similarly, a defendant cannot argue that an accident victim would not be hurt if he/she did not have a bulging disc.
If you have a bulging disc claim and need an accident lawyer, call 800-553-8082 or click here for a free initial consultation.