Getting into a car wreck is a stressful, scary, and overwhelming event for anyone, especially if you are not at fault. However, regardless of fault, senior citizens have an additional source of stress following an accident. Insurance companies are becoming more and more notorious for using senior citizens’ age and any pre-existing conditions they may have against them to avoid paying compensation for injuries, claims, and other damages.
How are these practices ethical and continuing to happen?
The short answer is that they are not ethical, but they continue to occur. How do insurance companies manage to get away with agism and using senior citizens’ pre-existing conditions against themselves? Insurance companies are very well-versed in these scenarios as well as legal loopholes. They also know precisely how to approach these claims and disguise their discriminatory practices.
Insurers will aim to use higher rates of seniors with pre-existing conditions to claim a car accident is not the cause of sustained injuries. This means insurance companies will try to claim the injuries were already present or rooted in a pre-existing condition.
However, an experienced personal injury attorney will utilize the law to justly expose these tricks and equivocations and help senior citizens get the compensation they deserve. Suppose you or a loved one (over 62 years of age, aka a “qualifying resident”) are involved in a motor vehicle accident. In that case, there are several essential circumstances to be aware of.
One of the most common tactics insurers will use to manipulate a situation in their favor is by painting pre-existing conditions as the cause of a plaintiff’s injuries instead of the actual cause — the collision. Insurance companies have access to medical records and history that they may sift through and, as a result, often find a way to distort a person’s medical past to fit their own narrative.
These tactics are menacing, but it’s essential to be aware that exacerbation of any pre-existing conditions from an accident is, in fact, grounds for compensation. California holds insurance companies accountable if an individual’s injuries worsen due to an accident in which their client is deemed at fault.
Despite a company trying to convince you otherwise or even threaten you into believing they are in no way liable; this is simply false.
In the end, insurance companies and/or the person who injured you must make you whole again for the damages caused by their negligence.
Chronic Pain Is Not Uncommon
The body decreases the speed and efficacy at which it heals itself as it ages. A senior citizen may take up to eight months to recover from a broken bone, while someone younger with the same break could heal in two months. Unfortunately, the injury caused or impacted by a severe collision can be worse than a nasty fall at home for anyone at any age.
Common injuries resulting from car crashes are injuries like whiplash, back injuries, neck injury, herniated disks, and broken bones. Many senior citizens report high pain levels after an accident, along with ongoing pain that can be relentless.
Insurance companies should be held financially accountable for the level of pain generated by a collision, regardless of the claimant’s age.
What to know about California and the “Eggshell Plaintiff”
California has recently passed a law to protect its seniors and all vulnerable citizens from being rejected in a personal injury claim on the grounds of fragility. The “Eggshell Plaintiff” is a theory of law requiring that defendants essentially take the plaintiff as they found them.
Suppose a senior citizen gets injured in an accident that may not have harmed a younger individual. In that case, the defendant cannot use that fact to escape liability. Plaintiffs are not permitted to theorize what could or may have happened if the defendant weren’t as fragile or as old.
New Statistic: A recent study by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that drivers in their 70s (according to current data) are less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers in their mid-30s to mid-50s.
Drivers in their 70s are found to be driving much more carefully and getting into less severe accidents overall. Insurance companies have always reported and defended their bias by simply stating that they are going by the data and the numbers.
Hopefully, this intriguing new report and its eye-opening findings will build your confidence if you are a senior and have recently been in a wreck.
What to do if you’ve been in a collision in the Bay Area?
Trying to negotiate a personal injury case without the help of an attorney can bring about significantly lower compensation and success rates. While there are already established laws to protect seniors from car insurance company manipulation (as mentioned above), it is still advisable to contact a knowledgeable and experienced Bay Area Car Accident Attorney. Make sure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to (for all injuries you’ve incurred due to a collision) and any other related damages.