The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Lipkin and Apter were contacted by T.G., a 32-year-old executive with a large automobile manufacturer. T.G. was involved in an automobile collision and aggravated a pre-existing lower back injury. In his early twenties, T.G. underwent successful back surgery for a herniated disc. After he recuperated, 10 years passed without T.G. seeing a doctor for back pain. Following the car accident, T.G. treated with an orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics. The surgeon obtained his medical history, examined him and scheduled an MRI. No specific diagnosis was made beyond aggravation of T.G.’s pre-existing disc herniation. Conservative treatment, consisting of cortisone injection and physical therapy, was prescribed.
Under Illinois Law, a person who negligently injures another is responsible for the injuries and damages caused. When a pre-existing injury is concerned, the defendant is responsible for the same categories of damage as exist with an entirely new injury – bills for medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and restriction of one’s regular activities (known as disability). In short, the defendant does not benefit and the plaintiff is not penalized because of a pre-existing injury. The legal principle is the same. A defendant must compensate for damages cause by his negligence, no more, no less.
Fortunately for T.G., his condition improved over time and, after undergoing approximately ten months of physical therapy and examinations with his doctors, he reached the point where he had been before the 2010 rear-end automobile collision.
T.G. experienced pain, tingling and numbness in one of his legs from the accident. For a few weeks, the accident caused him to miss a short period from work and also affected his ability to be involved in his usual social activities. We counseled T.G. as to the potential value of his case if placed into suit versus an attempt to settle quickly without litigation. T.G. decided on settlement – assuming the defendant’s insurance company would pay him $40,000.00, which we negotiated, and so T.G.’s case settled.