How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Affect Your Injury Claim
August 18, 2020
Accidents always manage to happen at the worst possible time. There have even worst timing when they after already suffering from an injury. This unfortunately happens to more people than most realize. Getting injured is terrible and those with pre-existing conditions can suffer even more severe injuries when involved in serious accidents. These pre-existing conditions can get way worse and cause significant damage. When this happens they can seek legal compensation for the injuries they suffered in an accident. That is If it was caused by someone else’s negligence. This would involve filing a personal injury claim. However, unlike a normal claim, one that involves a plaintiff with pre-existing conditions can have many challenges when it comes to holding the person at fault liable.
What is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is an illness, condition, or injury that a person has before getting involved in an accident. Some of the most common ones that many people are:
- degenerative disc disease
- nearsightedness or farsightedness
- high blood pressure
- heart murmurs
The best way of proving pre-existing conditions are medical records. A plaintiff is always advised to be forthcoming with their medical records. They can prove all of their relevant pre-existing conditions. If they hide their medical records only for the defendant to uncover it by an investigation, the defendant might use this secrecy to discredit their claim. Even the judge may sanction the plaintiff with a large fine for being secretive and dishonest about it.
What Kind of Pre-Existing Conditions Matter in Accident Claims?
Previous injuries and chronic conditions are the two types of pre-existing conditions that matter in personal injury claims. With previous injuries, imagine you have a broken leg. When you’re on your way to the hospital for a consultation you get in a car crash. Your leg that was starting to heal gets injured again. The issue here is: does the at-fault party pays to fix your leg? It was already broken before the car crash. However, if the broken leg got worse by the accident, then the at-fault party will have to give you compensation.
With chronic conditions, imagine you have really bad chronic neck pain caused by a herniated disk. You get in a car accident and suffer from whiplash. Your neck is still pretty hurt after the crash. Is the pain caused by the already herniated disk or by the whiplash? Only a medical expert can know. That is why it is so important to get medical help immediately after being involved in an accident.
How Can Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Your Injury Claim?
Like with every personal injury claim, the insurance company will first determine whether or not the victim had any pre-existing conditions before the accident that caused the injuries. The main reason they do this is to find a way to try and minimize or even deny the victim’s claim. Insurance companies will try to argue that the victim’s injuries were not really caused by the accident and instead they already existed.
If the insurance company succeeds in this, they can minimize or deny your claim. These corporations are greedy and will do anything to turn a profit instead of paying out.
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What is the Eggshell Skull Rule?
The Eggshell Skull Rule states that accident victims can’t have pre-existing conditions used against them to minimize the level of damage done to them when the pre-existing condition gets aggravated. When someone is involved in an accident and suffers an injury when they already have a pre-existing condition and the injury gets worse or complicates the pre-existing condition, then they still have the right to receive compensation.
This comes from a theory that says if a man with a skull as soft as an eggshell gets in an accident and gets hit in the head, the at-fault party is fully liable for the injuries they caused, despite not knowing of the frailty of the man’s soft skull.
It is important to know that someone that has suffered from a severe injury because of someone else’s negligence should always seek compensation. Even if they have a pre-existing condition that makes them more vulnerable to injury. This eggshell rule guarantees that those who are at fault are held liable for the damage they caused. It does not matter what pre-existing conditions the victim had before the accident.
Can I Get Compensation For Pre-Existing Conditions?
Yes, victims with pre-existing conditions have the right to compensatory damages just like everybody else. However, these damages are only limited to the additional injuries they suffered at the accident. It depends on the case, but the defendant can also be liable not only for the medical bills but also for any lost wages, pain, and suffering. If the defendant acted in a bad way, the court can also impose punitive damages.
If you have a pre-existing condition and were involved in a car accident or any other personal injury incident, contact us! We can help you build a strong case around how your pre-existing condition got worse after the accident. Get a free consultation by calling (702) 748-7777.
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