What is the Difference Between Exacerbation and Aggravation?
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What is the Difference Between Exacerbation and Aggravation?

Most of the discussion regarding injuries in a motor vehicle crash or other forms of accident involve medical conditions that resulted from the collision. After all, there is a misconception that injuries that existed before an accident cannot be covered through an injury claim afterward. The reality is that if another person’s negligence makes your pre-existing condition worse, you could be entitled to compensation.  

Keep in mind, your injury claim would only cover the degree the at-fault party worsened your condition. This can occur when your previously dormant injury is temporarily aggravated, or if a condition you were already suffering from is exacerbated. Ultimately, exacerbated injuries are temporary, while aggravated injuries are permanent.  

Understanding the difference between these terms is important prior to an injury claim, but you have the right to pursue compensation in either case. To get started, let a personal injury lawyer carefully review the factors surrounding your injury.  

Exacerbating an injury  

Compared to aggravating an injury, exacerbation involves a temporary worsening of a pre-existing condition. In a vehicle accident, pre-existing conditions that are often exacerbated include arthritis, osteophytes, bone spurs, spondylosis, and degenerative disc disease.  

In other words, exacerbating an injury is an act that causes a pre-existing condition to flare up temporarily. It could involve temporarily worsening a condition that was already bothering you, like arthritis. In the alternative, it could also include the temporary return of pain you had been successfully managing.  

Aggravating an injury 

Aggravated pre-existing conditions are a step above a temporary flare-up. It is important to understand that an aggravated injury does not change a patient’s diagnosis. The original pre-existing condition is the same, only the degree is now permanently worsened.  

Most of the time, a doctor will not immediately assume a pre-existing injury has been aggravated. Medical professionals will review your progress over several weeks in an effort to determine if your condition has improved. Over the course of six to eight weeks, the doctor may find your condition to be aggravated if there are little signs of improvement.  

When does an injury go from exacerbated to aggravated? 

There is no firm deadline on when it becomes clear a flare-up has become a permanently-worsened condition. That said, most medical experts consider exacerbated injury to subside within 2 to 8 weeks. For injuries lasting longer than six weeks, doctors may begin to consider them to be permanent, aggravated conditions. The prognosis of each injury is different, though. If you are considering an injury claim, your personal injury lawyers can advise you on how best to approach the prognosis of your condition.  

The difference in the two conditions is important, as it can limit the amount of financial compensation you could be entitled to. If your condition is exacerbated, you could be limited to damages during the time of your recovery as well as the cost of your treatment during that period. For aggravated injuries, you could have a claim for damages for the rest of your life.  

Discuss your injury with experienced attorneys 

It is never in your best interest to attempt to diagnose your own condition. By relying on experienced attorneys and skilled medical providers, you are more likely to address your injuries and recover monetary compensation for your damages.  

If you have questions about how an exacerbated or aggravated injury could impact your legal claim, contact Los Angeles personal injury attorneys as soon as possible.  

Ellis Injury Law has a long track record of success in pursuing injury claims in Los Angeles and throughout California. To learn how they could help, schedule a free consultation right away.  

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