In some cases, the cause of an injury is clear. But in certain cases, especially when people have a long, complicated medical history, the cause of the injury can be a major point of conflict in the case. In a recent case, the defendant argued that it was not liable because a man’s preexisting conditions were the actual cause of his injury. In that case, a man tripped and fell over an unsecured metal plate in front of a grocery cart corral. He suffered injuries on his knee, arm, neck, shoulder, and face. As a result, he had to receive extensive medical care, including two spinal surgeries. The man sued the grocery store for negligence.
The store retained a medical expert. He did not examine the plaintiff before formulating an opinion and preparing his report, but he did review the man’s medical records. Based on the medical records, the defendant’s expert determined that the man had a preexisting spinal condition that existed before the fall, and an MRI he had taken after the fall did not show an “acute injury.” The store then requested that the man undergo a physical examination by the store’s expert.
The trial court denied the request, but the state’s supreme court reversed. Since the man’s physical health and the extent of the injuries he sustained at the store were directly at issue, his condition and its cause were relevant. Thus, the physical examination was directly related to the condition in controversy, and the information could not be obtained through other means. Accordingly, the man was required to submit to a physical examination by the defendant’s expert in order to consider his past physical health as well as his present and future condition and the extent of his damages.
Causation in Negligence Claims
To prove a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. In cases that involve an injury to the plaintiff, a defendant may argue that the injury to the plaintiff was not caused by the defendant’s conduct—that the injury was caused by something else, or that the injury is related to a preexisting condition.
In negligence claims in Illinois, to prove causation, a plaintiff must present evidence both of “the cause in fact” (what actually caused the injury) and “legal cause” (whether the resulting harm was foreseeable). To prove “cause in fact” in Illinois, a plaintiff can show that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the injury. In Illinois, to determine whether evidence of preexisting conditions should be considered, courts often consider whether the condition involved the same part of the body, whether it was related to the same part of the body, whether it was similar to the injury, and whether the previous injury had healed.
Have You Suffered an Injury Due to Negligence?
If you have suffered an injury as a result of another party’s negligent conduct, you may recover compensation for your injuries. The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Moll Law Group are available to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers are skilled in many personal injury claims, from premises liability to car accidents and medical malpractice. We also represent people in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and areas throughout Cook County. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we have been involved. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us through our online form to set up a free consultation.
See More Posts:
Recent Study Highlights Risks of Emergency Surgeries, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 18, 2016.
Court Finds Nursing Home Waived Its Right to Arbitration Despite Signed Arbitration Clause, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2016.
Woman Injured by Hot Air Balloon While Standing in Line Permitted to Sue Despite Signed Waiver, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2016.