How a Pre-Existing Condition Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

patient with pre-existing neck injuryIt is rare that an injury victim is in perfect health when an accident happens. Most people deal with a variety of health issues throughout their life, some of which are minor, while others are major. These conditions are called pre-existing conditions, and they can have an impact on your injury claim.

Our accomplished personal injury lawyers in Windsor can guide you through the often-complicated process of obtaining compensation for an injury claim involving a pre-existing injury. Contact our office today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Proving Your Injury is Related to the Accident

Personal injury law entitles an individual to recover compensation for the injuries he or she has sustained because of another’s negligent actions.

While this does not include injuries that were not affected by an accident, it does include pre-existing injuries to the degree that the accident made them worse. This is known as an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, which can apply to both physical and mental injuries.

However, the fine line in determining if a pre-existing injury is covered by your injury claim requires proving that the condition was worsened by your accident.

This is important because the insurance company will look for any opportunity to claim that your injuries were not caused by the accident and should not be covered. If it can prove that your injury existed before the accident and that it was just as severe then as it is after the accident, you likely will not be able to recover compensation.

For this reason, it is vital that you work with a trusted personal injury lawyer who can fight for your best interests and gather evidence to show how your injury was worsened by the accident.

Thin Skull Rule

One important legal concept that could help support your case is the thin skull rule. This rule states that although a pre-existing injury may make an individual more susceptible to being injured, this fact does not relieve the negligent party of liability.

This means that an insurance company cannot use a victim’s frail state to defend against a claim. The at-fault party can still be held liable for the harm he or she caused to the victim, even if the victim would not have been injured as severely, or at all, if it were not for the pre-existing injury.

Crumbling Skull Rule

As a limitation to the thin skull rule, the crumbling skull rule states that a pre-existing condition that would have worsened over time even without the accident can be considered when determining compensation for the victim.

This means a victim’s compensation could be reduced if his or her injury would have progressed to a worsened state even if the accident had not occurred. For example, if an individual had a pre-existing bulging disk that was worsened into a herniated disc after being involved in a car accident in Windsor, his or her compensation could be limited if the disc would have ultimately herniated without the impact of a collision.

Because a victim cannot be compensated for an injury that existed before the accident, this limitation ensures that a victim is returned to the state he or she was in prior to the accident, not to a better condition than before.

Evidence to Support Your Claim

Obtaining fair compensation for an aggravated pre-existing condition will require proving:

  • The nature of the pre-existing condition
  • The condition was stable prior to the accident
  • The accident worsened the condition

To do this, your lawyer will gather a variety of evidence to support your injury claim, the most important of which will likely be your medical records.

It important that your medical records are detailed and comprehensive, describing the severity of your injury and how it affected your life both before and after the accident. Injury victims who received regular medical treatment and check-ups prior to the accident will have ample documentation of the injury before the accident.

Similarly, it is important that you follow through on all medical treatment after an accident and make sure that your records include details about your post-accident symptoms and how your injury affects your life.

Get Help with Your Pre-Existing Injury Claim

If your pre-existing injury was worsened in an accident or an insurance company is attempting to deny your claim because of a pre-existing condition, you need the help of a personal injury lawyer. Our lawyers have decades of experience working with insurance companies and representing a variety of injury victims. We can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact Greg Monforton & Partners today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our experienced team. We work on contingency, which means we do not charge upfront legal fees. You only pay us if we recover compensation for you.

Call (866) 320-4770 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.