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How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect a Personal Injury Claim

November 15, 2023Firm News,Personal Injury

Pre-existing conditions can complicate a personal injury claim, but you may still be entitled to recover compensation.

How Can a Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Claim?

One of the key considerations in a personal injury claim is establishing a clear link between the incident in question and the injuries sustained. Pre-existing conditions can complicate causation. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys may argue that the current injuries are not solely the result of the accident but rather exacerbated by pre-existing conditions. Proving that the accident substantially worsened the pre-existing condition can be crucial in such cases.

Additionally, personal injury claims that involve pre-existing conditions often face increased scrutiny. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may conduct thorough investigations into the claimant’s medical history to identify any pre-existing conditions that could be used to diminish the severity of the injuries. This heightened scrutiny can make it imperative for you to provide comprehensive and accurate medical records.

The Eggshell Skull Rule

The eggshell skull rule, also known as the “take your victim as you find him” principle, is a legal doctrine that holds a person responsible for the full extent of the harm caused to another, even if the injured person had a pre-existing condition or a peculiar vulnerability that made them more susceptible to injury. In practical terms, this means that if a person with a pre-existing condition or some unique sensitivity suffers an injury, the person who caused the injury is held liable for the full consequences, even if those consequences are more severe than they would have been for a person without such conditions.

As a result, pre-existing injuries or conditions do not disqualify you from recovering compensation. When an accident causes a previously diagnosed medical condition, ailment, or minor injury to worsen, medical professionals refer to this as “exacerbation” or “aggravation” of a pre-existing condition.

  • Exacerbation refers to a minor flaring up of a condition.
  • Aggravation is a severe injury that requires further medical treatment.

Therefore, you must be able to provide medical evidence of your condition before the accident and how it was exacerbated or aggravated.

What Are Common Types of Pre-Existing Conditions

Common types of pre-existing conditions include:

  • Back injuries (e.g., herniated or slipped disc, sciatica, chronic pain, degenerative disc disease, etc.)
  • Neck or head injuries
  • Past surgeries
  • Healed bone fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory conditions
  • History of chiropractic care
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic illness
  • Emotional or psychological conditions

It is highly advisable to report any pre-existing conditions or injuries to your attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company. Failure to do so can sabotage your credibility and chance of recovering fair compensation. If the at-fault party’s insurer finds out about your condition on their own, they may be able to reduce or deny your claim.

A Lawyer Can Help

If you or someone you love has a pre-existing condition that has been worsened due to another party’s negligence, speak to a trusted Fresno Personal Injury Lawyer. They can help you navigate your claim, gather evidence to support the exacerbation or aggravation of your pre-existing condition, and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact Freedman law today by calling (559) 447-9000.