Personal injury claims are made when another person’s negligent behavior injures someone. As you can imagine, pre-existing conditions or injuries can complicate an already complex matter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a solid personal injury case with the help of a skilled attorney. In some cases, your pre-existing condition could even make your case stronger.
A pre-existing condition or injury is simply one you had before your accident. Consider how the following scenarios differ:
The second scenario is more complicated–especially regarding the “pain and suffering” aspect of the injury. It can be difficult to collect damages because the insurance company will likely argue the individual’s pain is due to their pre-existing back injury.
You can have just about any pre-existing condition or injury. But there are some common pre-existing injuries and illnesses that we frequently see in personal injury suits. Some common pre-existing injuries include:
In addition to making specific injuries worse, an accident can complicate and worsen a pre-existing medical condition. An accident could affect conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more.
A personal injury attorney will work diligently to prove your accident caused a specific injury. Even if you have pre-existing conditions or injuries, that doesn’t mean you can’t collect compelling evidence to support your case. Often, detailed medical records prove critical in showing how your condition or injury has changed since the incident.
Cases involving pre-existing conditions are especially tricky. You can count on insurance adjusters and defendants arguing that your injuries are exaggerated, fabricated, or that they already existed. But a skilled attorney can gather proof that your pre-existing condition or injury has changed after your accident.
Damages refer to the compensation you receive after a successful personal injury lawsuit. The damages you could collect if you have a pre-existing condition are the same as any other personal injury case.
You could get compensation for the following:
Calculating pain and suffering can be one of the most challenging aspects of a case involving pre-existing conditions. Putting a dollar amount on pain and suffering is already tough, but much more so when dealing with a condition “made worse” by a recent accident. Nevertheless, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Your personal injury claim cannot include any damages for conditions or injuries you had before your accident. What your personal injury attorney must do is prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused new injuries or made your pre-existing condition worse.
While determining liability and calculating damages can be more difficult when pre-existing conditions are involved, they aren’t always bad for your case. For example, someone with a pre-existing condition might get regular updates from their doctor, including x-rays and other medical records documenting their condition. This can make it easier to show how their condition changed immediately after their accident.
If you have a medical issue that existed before your accident, you may feel hesitant to pursue a personal injury claim. However, the law recognizes that pre-existing conditions can make a person more susceptible to injuries. This is where the “eggshell skull rule” – also known as the “eggshell plaintiff doctrine” – comes into play.
The eggshell rule essentially means that a defendant takes their victim as they find them. This means that if you have a medical condition that makes you more vulnerable to injury than the average person, your pre-existing condition cannot be used against you in court. In other words, the person or entity responsible for your accident cannot argue that your pre-existing condition meant you were already predisposed to injury and therefore, they’re not responsible for the full extent of your injuries.
One key benefit of the eggshell plaintiff doctrine is that it can result in higher compensation for your injuries. Since your pre-existing condition cannot be used as an argument to mitigate your damages, the full extent of your current injuries will be taken into account when calculating your compensation.
However, it’s also important to understand that proving your pre-existing condition had no impact on your current injuries can be challenging. Insurance companies and defendants may try to claim a connection between the two, potentially pointing to previous medical treatment or records. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you build a strong case.
In many cases, it’s tough to determine whether the accident caused the damage or simply aggravated pre-existing conditions. This confusion may lead to compensation battles with insurance companies, making it important for people to know how medical experts can help establish causation in such cases. Medical expert witnesses can help establish causation in accident injury cases with pre-existing conditions by:
If another person’s negligence caused your injuries or worsened your condition, Thompson Law can help. As your advocate, your personal injury lawyer will ensure you get fair compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.
To help determine fault, your personal injury attorney will gather information, review evidence, and use their legal expertise to help determine what kind of compensation might be fair in your personal injury case. Don’t depend on insurance adjusters to advocate for you; call the trusted team at Thompson Law so you can focus on getting the treatment and care you and your family need.
How soon do I need to get a lawyer after a crash?
Calling 911 and getting prompt medical care for your injuries is the first order of business after a car crash. Once you are safe and secure, you should contact an auto accident lawyer right away. Time is of the essence in terms of collecting evidence, speaking to witnesses, and speaking to the insurance claims adjuster assigned to your case.
Do I really need a lawyer for a personal injury lawsuit?
Yes. Especially if you have pre-existing conditions, a personal injury lawyer is essential. An attorney specializing in these matters will help you gather compelling evidence and clear documentation to prove you deserve compensation after your accident.
What are some common causes of car accidents in Texas?
Common causes of car accidents in Texas include drunk driving, texting or talking while driving, speeding, tailgating, and aggressive driving or road rage. While drivers are often tempted to multitask, even a few seconds of distraction can cause a severe or even fatal crash.
How can a personal injury attorney help?
A personal injury attorney can handle the complex process of a personal injury lawsuit while you focus on relief and recovery. Your lawyer will investigate your accident, talk to the insurance company, negotiate a fair settlement, and estimate your damages. Sometimes, your lawyer will take your case to court and represent you there.
Who determines fault in a Texas accident?
Deciding fault might look different in each case. Liability depends on the unique details of your accident and whether you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Law enforcement and insurance adjusters make specific judgment calls regarding fault, but if you sue for personal injury, the courts will ultimately decide.
Thompson Law receives an attorney fee and you pay no legal fees as our client unless we pay you. Thompson Law has 350 years of combined experience in legal representation and has won over $1.8 billion dollars in cash settlements for our clients. We master the art of managing client cases with empathy, compassion, respect and, of course, prodigious skill. Contact us today for a free, risk-free consultation to discuss your accident and your options.
State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.