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Can Your Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Car Accident Claim?

pre existing injury

Answer Provided by a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney

Pursuing a personal injury claim with a pre-existing condition can be an uphill battle. Ask any car accident attorney and he will tell you that the defendant will try his best to prove that the your injury was already there and that he didn’t cause any new injury. However, there is no reason for you to be discouraged. Even if you didn’t sustain any new injury, you can still win damages if the accident aggravated your pre-existing condition.

Do Not Hide Your Pre-Existing Condition

The court does not look kindly at plaintiffs who lie about their pre-existing condition. Neither do insurance companies that actually write the check in most personal injury cases. Therefore, it is in your best interests to reveal any pre-existing conditions you may have. If it is discovered, not only will your credibility go down the drain, your entire claim may suffer as result. Also, you will have no way of hiding your pre-existing condition when you’re under so much scrutiny.

You may be called an ‘Eggshell Plaintiff’

A plaintiff who has a pre-existing condition is sometimes referred to as an ‘eggshell plaintiff’. This legal doctrine makes a defendant responsible for all damages resulting from his negligence, in spite of the plaintiff’s preexisting frailty of health.

One frequently cited example of an ‘eggshell plaintiff’ is a person who is a hemophiliac. Even if he is not seriously injured in an accident, the force of impact or the resulting mental stress can cause him to bleed extensively, leading to his possible death. In such a case, the person who caused the accident is held liable for damages.

Claim for aggravated injuries

If you have a pre-existing condition, any accident that is serious enough to cause an injury has the potential to aggravate your condition. An individual with an injury or a medical condition is less resilient, less able to take evasive actions, and thus more vulnerable to injuries. As a result of the accident, his injury may become aggravated or take longer to heal.

Thus, the effects of an accident on the health and wellbeing of a person with a pre-existing condition can be substantial. Whereas he may have been able to perform normal physical activities before, albeit with difficulty, the accident may worsen the situation such that he may become completely impaired and unable to lead an independent life or make an earning.

Claim for new injuries

If you have sustained any new injuries, then you will naturally include them in your claim. If you have suffered major injuries, then you may even make them the focus of your claim. However, the problem begins when an injury occurs in the same place where there was an existing injury and it is not easy to tell whether it is new or pre-existing. In such a case, you can put it down as an aggravated pre-existing injury.

Evidence to support your claim

How can you prove that the accident aggravated your pre-existing condition? You can get a medical expert to compare your past medical records with the current ones and testify in court. The expert may compare X-rays, MRI, CT scan and other test results obtained before the accident with those obtained after the accident to make an informed decision.

In order to ensure that your claim properly reflects the aggravation of pre-existing injuries and the new injuries you have suffered as a result of an accident, consult with a resourceful car accident attorney who can connect you with a network of physicians.

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