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  • Writer's pictureMERCADO KRAMER LLP

Defeating Degenerative Evidence

This is Part 2 of our updates on degenerative issues. Read Part 1 here.


Picture of an elderly woman's hands. Trauma like a car accident can trigger arthritis and other problems.

You’re injured in an accident and the responsible car insurance company says your ongoing pain is due to age or degenerative issues, not the wreck. What can you do?


1. If you don’t already have a personal injury attorney, consult one right away. Fighting your case is going to be a challenge.


2. Make sure you trust your attorney. Fighting evidence of degenerative issues takes time and resources.


3. Find evidence of what is causing your pain.

a. Example 1: Your spine MRI shows only age-related wear and tear, but your doctor notes severe muscle spams in your low back that explain your pain.

b. Example 2: A 63-year-old woman has arthritis in her neck that is well-controlled by medication. She’s in a wreck and feels severe pain. Her rheumatologist testifies that trauma from whiplash made her arthritis flare up. After the wreck, the rheumatologist had to increase the woman’s dose of arthritis medicine.


4. Radiologists have frequently testified to our attorneys that they can’t know for sure if an injury such as a disc bulge is traumatic versus degenerative. The injured person’s attorney will need to look at other factors to prove their client’s pain is related to an accident, not age:

a. The person’s activity level before and after the accident

b. The person’s past medical records

c. Testimony from a family doctor and other people who knew the person before the accident


Degenerative disc disease and other wear and tear will almost always create problems and challenges in your case. The right personal injury attorney will look for ways to fight these challenges – and then take the time to honestly and clearly explain to you what they find.

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Our personal injury attorneys can answer your questions in Salinas, San Jose, and throughout California.

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