Can You File a Claim for a Pre-Existing Injury That Is Aggravated in an Accident?
Humans are delicate creatures. As such, many people develop injuries, illnesses and other conditions over the course of their lifetimes. Most pay little attention to these conditions. However, individuals who suffer injuries in accidents are often forced to give them renewed consideration. This is because a pre-existing injury can affect the outcome of a personal injury claim.
As a rule of thumb, you cannot seek damages for a pre-existing injury. However, sometimes an accident exacerbates or aggravates such an injury. If this is the case, you may be able to pursue compensation for relative damages. Unfortunately, a personal injury claim with a pre-existing condition may prove to be much more complicated. At least when compared to an accident that occurred when you had a clean bill of health. Many insurers use pre-existing conditions, such as back pain or a brain injury, as a reason to deny a claim. Or as a reason to minimize what they would otherwise award the victim.
If you are involved in an accident that aggravates or accelerates a pre-existing condition, it’s important that you understand your rights. An aggravated pre-existing injury can adversely impact your life. In fact, it can be just as damaging as a new injury. You have a right to hold the at-fault party responsible. For help ensuring this, contact a personal injury lawyer near you.
What Is a Pre-Existing Injury?
A pre-existing condition is any medical condition that you have from prior to the accident. This could be anything from a recent physical injury to an old but never-fully-healed injury. Or, even a chronic medical condition. In personal injury cases, it is not uncommon for insurers to review the claimant’s medical records. This is in order to identify as many conditions as they can. Even if they are seemingly unrelated. The goal is to avoid having to pay for medical expenses related to the conditions. Or other losses on the basis that the injury existed before the accident.
Sometimes, accidents accelerate the deterioration of a condition or worsen it significantly. In this case, you may wonder if you should merely omit the existence of the injury from your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney would strongly encourage you against doing so. A pre-existing injury may complicate your claim. But, dishonesty will only make things worse for you. Upon your disclosure, a skilled lawyer can paint a convincing picture of how the aggravation further complicates your life. In addition to helping ensure you receive adequate compensation for it.
Examples of Pre-Existing Injuries That Get Aggravated in Accidents:
For many people, a pre-existing condition has little impact on a person’s life prior to an accident. When blunt force is involved accidents are all it takes for conditions to become troublesome or life-threatening. Many injuries and conditions are prone to exacerbation. The following are some of the most commonly cited pre-existing conditions in personal injury cases:
- Broken Bones and Sprains: A sprain, fracture or broken bone can make it difficult for you to go about your daily life and may possibly interfere with your work. If you have a bone that is on the verge of healing and then you get into an accident, it could set you back considerably. If the bone was already weak, further trauma could worsen the fracture or even result in a subsequent break.
- Back Problems: Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work in the United States, accounting for 264 million missed worked days per year. That amounts to two and half sick days per each working American. Accidents, especially car accidents, can easily aggravate existing yet manageable back problems to the point where they become debilitating.
- Brain Injuries: Brain injuries often compound with each subsequent blow. A person with a mild concussion could develop moderate to severe traumatic brain injury in a serious car crash.
Can You Recover Damages for an Aggravated Pre-Existing Condition?
If you file a pre existing condition car accident claim, you may worry that said condition will entirely prevent you from recovering compensation . The good news is that it will not. Though the insurance company will certainly try to deny your claim. They can even devalue it because you were injured or ill before the accident. However, if you can show that the aggravation complicated your life, the courts may hold the at-fault party liable. Damages you may recover in such a situation can include medical bills for the management of the condition. In addition to pain and suffering damages, lost wages and other related losses.
To determine the value of your claim, the deciding parties will consider the damages you suffered. As well as the damages you amass that would not be an issue had you not been in an accident. For example, say you took prescription medication for an existing back injury. But otherwise were able to work pre-accident. Then, after the accident, your back pain became so excruciating that you underwent physical therapy and take significant time off work. The at-fault party might not be liable for the cost of your prescription medications. However, he or she may have to cover the cost of therapy and your lost wages.
What Is the Eggshell Rule?
Some states abide by the “thin skull” or “eggshell” rule. Per this doctrine, a defendant in a personal injury case is liable for the full extent of injuries. Regardless of how fragile the victim was going into the accident. It does not matter if a healthier individual would have sustained far less severe injuries in the same accident. Beware if you have an accident in any of the states that recognize this legal doctrine. Because recovering for a pre-existing injury may be far less difficult than recovering in a state that does not recognize the rule.
Contact an Experienced Local Personal Injury Lawyer
Recovering compensation for a pre-existing injury following an accident can be difficult. But, it’s not impossible. A skilled lawyer can help you understand your rights in your unique situation. Or possibly help pursue the maximum amount of compensation.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced attorney in your area!