Can Pre-Existing Conditions Impact a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Personal injury claims, which encompass car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and more, can be complex matters in and of themselves. However, when pre-existing medical conditions come into play, a personal injury claim becomes far more intricate. Understanding how pre-existing conditions can impact a personal injury claim is crucial for both claimants and their lawyers to understand.

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical illness or injury that existed prior to your current condition. Some common examples of pre-existing conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Concussion
  • Herniated disc
  • Arthritis
  • Mental health illnesses
  • Chronic pain

For example, imagine that you have always had chronic migraines. One day, you get into a car accident and slam your head against the dashboard. Now, you’re dealing with exacerbated head pain and perhaps new injuries as well.

Importance of Evidence

Evidence is absolutely crucial in proving your pre-existing condition and it can ultimately make or break the validity of your claim. After you have been injured, it is crucial that you seek medical assistance and keep all documentation of bills, prescriptions, appointment summaries, and more. Without proper documentation that has been authorized by a medical professional, it will be much more difficult to both prove that you had a pre-existing condition and that the condition was further aggravated by your recent accident. While you cannot pursue damages for pre-existing conditions, you can pursue damages for worsened pre-existing conditions, as well as newly developed conditions or injuries.

Scrutiny from Insurance Companies

If a claimant has a pre-existing condition, it is highly likely that an insurance company will look at their claim with increased scrutiny. Insurance adjusters will closely examine your medical records to determine how influential your pre-existing condition was on your current injury. It is highly likely that insurance companies will try to minimize the compensation you deserve by looking for loopholes in your claim. For this reason, it is essential that you gather all pertinent medical records.

The “Eggshell Plaintiff”

The term “eggshell plaintiff,” also known as the “eggshell skull rule,” is a legal doctrine that was put in place to protect plaintiffs with pre-existing conditions. Essentially, the doctrine states that a defendant’s liability will not be reduced if the plaintiff has a pre-existing condition that makes them particularly vulnerable to injury or re-injury. This rule helps to protect the victim from being discriminated against or barred from receiving less compensation than they deserve due to the fact that they had a pre-existing medical condition.

Seek Legal Assistance

As you can see, pre-existing conditions can be difficult to navigate when filing a personal injury claim. Therefore, it is advised that you seek legal assistance from an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney who can help ensure that your pre-existing condition does not impede your ability to obtain the compensation and justice you deserve. Do not be taken advantage of due to your pre-existing condition and take initiative in getting what you rightfully deserve.