I have auto accident claimants who are involved in a second auto accident while I am pursuing their claim for damages from the first auto accident. How does the second auto accident impact and affect their claim? What should they do?
Infrequently, but not uncommonly, I am handling a claim for damages sustained by my client arising out of being rear-ended while at a stop. The client has soft tissue injuries, whiplash, or lumbar strain. They have been in medical treatment, they are going to physical therapy, and they may have had epidural steroid injections. They are doing much better, but not fully recovered or at maximum medical improvement. Now they are involved in a second rear-end collision and their symptoms are suddenly much worse, they are set back, and they either have new injuries or the existing injuries are made much worse.
I recommend that they immediately go back to the physician who last evaluated and treated them prior to the second auto accident to be re-evaluated. The client needs to make sure the treating physician knows exactly what their condition was prior to the second auto accident, and then do a detailed evaluation and document any and all changes that signify that a new injury has occurred or that the healing process of the first injury was disrupted and that the first injury has been exacerbated. This re-evaluation needs to occur as soon as possible.
I always make a claim against the insurance carrier for the party whose negligence caused the second auto accident. As soon as the insurance carrier for the party whose negligence caused the first auto accident learns of the second auto accident, that insurance carrier will point the finger of blame at the insurance carrier for the second accident and the insurance carrier for the second accident will point the finger of blame at the insurance carrier for the driver whose negligence caused the first injury. At this point, it is inevitable to me that a lawsuit is necessary. I recommend that the negligent drivers in both the first and second auto accident be sued, and march to a jury trial.