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Can a Pre-Existing Condition Hurt My Claim?

Wednesday, December 05, 2018By Richard Alexander

When you sustain an injury due to another person’s negligence, the law permits you to collect damages for pain, suffering, and monetary losses if you can demonstrate that your injuries were the result of that person’s unreasonable conduct. Proving damages can be complicated when the injured party has a pre-existing condition that was aggravated or reemerged as a result of the accident. When you have a pre-existing condition, there are additional considerations that can impact your case.

Establishing a Case with a Pre-Existing Condition

A person injured in an accident is generally entitled to compensation for the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions. This means that recovery is available for pre-existing conditions to the degree that they are worsened by the actions of the defendant. This may not be limited to physical injuries; plaintiffs can potentially recover damages for mental health conditions and emotional trauma as well. This requires the injured party to establish the extent of the severity of the condition prior to the incident. Your past medical history and profile will be necessary to prove that the accident contributed to a worsening of the condition and a deterioration in your health and quality of life.

“Take Your Victim as You Find Him”

The “eggshell skull rule” provides that even if the resulting injuries were more extreme than could have been anticipated by the conduct, the negligent party is liable for all the consequences of his actions. This means that the defendant is responsible for all of the outcomes of his conduct even if a pre-existing vulnerability made the outcome significantly worse for the injured party. The defendant does not owe an elevated duty of care to a vulnerable party, but he is required to take the plaintiff “as is,” which includes underlying and sometimes hidden health conditions. In the end, the court decides whether the eggshell skull rule applies and if it does, the jury takes it into account when calculating damages.

Insurance Companies May Attribute Injury to Pre-Existing Condition

If you have a pre-existing condition, you are likely to have enough medical data to show that you have a condition that is harmful to your health. At the same time, insurance companies can and will use this information to argue that your current issues are due to the pre-existing condition and not a result of the defendant’s negligent actions. It is important to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney due to the complexity of these legal issues.

If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.

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