When an accident occurs, one of the most common issues that arises is how to do deal with pre-existing conditions or injuries that are exacerbated by an accident.
Back pain is a prime example of a condition where we see many injuries from pre-existing conditions. Back stiffness, lower back pain, bulging discs, or other back issues are often recurring conditions that could easily be reinjured because of a car accident.
The “thin-skull” or “egg-shell skull” rule applies in pre-existing condition cases. The doctrine states if you had a pre-existing condition which was made worse due to a car accident, work accident, or slip and fall incident, you can still file a personal injury claim. The personal injury compensation will include any new injuries suffered as a result of the accident or injuries that are made worse by the accident. A defendant cannot make the argument that a healthy person wouldn’t have suffered the same injuries under similar circumstances.
What if the victim is still being treated from injuries suffered in a previous personal injury claim? If the victim is still recovering from injuries suffered in a previous accident, the defendant who caused the injuries is still liable for the new injuries caused by their negligence.
The at-fault party is always required to accept a victim as they found him. Just because someone is more susceptible to injuries, it doesn’t limit their legal right to collect damages when their health has been impacted by the negligence of another driver.
How the Insurance Companies Handle Pre-Existing Conditions
In these types of accidents, insurance companies will try to say your pre-existing condition caused your health issues, and they may try to deny your claim. You need an experienced law firm who can improve your odds of success when dealing with automobile insurance companies.
Victims cannot file claims for injuries sustained before a car accident, but they are entitled to compensation for damages to the degree that the accident exacerbated their injuries. Not only are victims entitled to compensation for physical injuries, but they may also be entitled to rewards for mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
If you’ve lost income because of your injuries suffered in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages too.
Disclosing Prior Conditions and Pre-Existing Conditions
It is always wise to disclose prior injuries and conditions to your attorney when you speak with them. Give your lawyer as much of your medical history and medical records as possible. Even if you think it is a minor issue or not related to your current injuries, you should still disclose these health issues to your attorney. It is possible some health conditions could be related to your injuries even if they don’t seem related. An attorney needs as much detail as possible when preparing your defense in the courtroom.
If your case is not settled and goes to trial, the lawyers that represent the insurance company will look for any gaps in your health history that you forgot to disclose to try to discredit your credibility and the claims you are making. They will do research on your medical history and make sure no stones are unturned. It is your responsibility to arm your attorney with as much information as possible about your health so that they can adequately prepare for your case.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident where you had a pre-existing condition, give Epperly & Follis a call at 804-648-6480. These cases can be quite complex, and insurance companies may try to use your pre-existing condition to limit your compensation even when you know your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence.
If the insurance company knows you have legal representation, they are less likely to try any shenanigans to limit your right to compensation. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to protect your legal rights, and we are here to help you win the most positive outcome of your case.