How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect an Injury Claim
Posted in Personal Injury on December 13, 2021
Millions of Americans live with a pre-existing condition, such as cardiovascular disease, back issues, or brittle bone disease. These injuries and illnesses can have a major impact on daily life—and they could also impact your ability to recover compensation after an accident. If you have a pre-existing condition and want to pursue a personal injury claim, it is important to understand how your injury or illness could affect your case.
Pre-Existing Conditions and Unexpected Accidents
A pre-existing condition is an injury or illness that was diagnosed or treated prior to a certain event. Examples of pre-existing conditions include the following.
- Sprained joints
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries
If you are involved in an accident, such as a motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall, your pre-existing condition may become exacerbated or aggravated. As a result, you may experience worsening symptoms and need to seek further medical care.
For example, say that you have arthritis in your hips. You are walking in a grocery store and slip on a puddle of oil that employees failed to clean up. You sustain severe damage to your hips as a result of the accident and require reconstructive surgery to recover from your worsening condition.
The Eggshell Skull Rule
If someone else causes an accident that results in your injuries, you have the right to file a lawsuit or insurance claim against him or her. Through your claim, you have the right to recover compensation for the losses that you experienced due to the accident.
However, a pre-existing condition could complicate your ability to recover compensation. The at-fault party may claim that your pre-existing condition makes you more susceptible to injury than the average person. Therefore, he or she is not liable for the damages that you sustained.
According to the eggshell skull rule, the at-fault party is liable for the full extent of the losses that you experienced due to his or her actions. However, you can only recover compensation for the losses attributable to the accident.
For example, say that you sprain your neck while working on a construction site. A week later, you are in a car accident and begin experiencing severe neck pain. Your doctor recommends physical therapy and reconstructive surgery to correct the pain. In these situations, you could recover compensation for the additional medical care, but not for other expenses that you incurred prior to the collision.
Hire a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
If you have a pre-existing condition and plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, the at-fault party may attempt to use your illness or injury against you. Although the eggshell skull rule prohibits this behavior, the insurance company could offer insufficient compensation, or the at-fault party’s lawyer may try to argue for a lower award in the courtroom.
In these situations, a Kansas City personal injury lawyer can protect your right to compensation and defend you against these claims. Your attorney can identify whether the insurance company is offering a lower settlement than you deserve and negotiate for higher compensation. He or she can also craft a compelling case for the courtroom and argue for your right to maximum recovery.
As soon as possible following your accident, contact a Missouri personal injury attorney to discuss your case and legal options. Your lawyer can evaluate your case and help identify your optimal path to maximum compensation.