When we think of personal injury claims, we might assume that a person was healthy before the accident. However, that’s not always the case. In reality, not every injury victim has excellent health before the accident. In fact, most people deal with health conditions at some point in their lives, whether it’s major or minor. Every year hundreds of millions of Americans get diagnosed with an illness or injury.
So what happens when someone with a pre-existing condition gets into an accident and needs to file a personal injury claim? Will their compensation be affected by their condition? Unfortunately, most of the time, a pre-existing condition will complicate an insurance claim. Insurance companies often make it difficult for injury victims with pre-existing conditions to recover fair compensation. They do so by claiming that your injuries are unrelated to the accident and a result of your pre-existing condition.
One key factor to having a strong claim with a pre-existing condition is clearly defining the severity of the condition before and after the accident. The defendant and their legal team will ask many questions about your medical history. .
While you may not recover payment for pre-existing conditions unaffected by the accident, you can recover exacerbation or aggravation of pre-existing conditions. Your claim value will depend on the degree to which the accident worsens your condition. That includes any worsening of mental health conditions too.
Did the Damage Caused by the Accident Worsen Your Pre-existing Condition?
A personal injury claim is necessary after you’ve sustained injuries like physical and emotional damages because of another party. Whether the harm is a result of negligence, recklessness, or misconduct, the injury victim has a right to pursue a claim.
However, with pre-existing conditions, this can become a complicated process. The injury victim usually faces more medical bills, in addition to the ones they already had from their pre-existing condition. Additionally, their quality of life can become diminished.
If you had a pre-existing condition prior to the accident, you might benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer. That’s because a lawyer can help establish the extent to which the accident exacerbated your injuries. This will be especially important if the defendant tries to make it seem like your injuries are unrelated to the accident. Your attorney can assess your medical history and determine how and how much your condition was affected by the accident. That way, you have a better chance of recovering fair compensation.
Insurance Companies Will Review Your Medical History to Limit Compensation
Insurance companies are notorious for using tactics to limit the amount of money they pay injury victims after an accident. They may try to deny your claim or undervalue it by classifying your injuries as part of your pre-existing condition.
The insurance company will carefully analyze the claim you submit. Part of their investigation involves taking a thorough look into your medical history. They usually refuse to accept responsibility if they can find proof that you previously suffered a similar injury. Moreover, they might try to claim that your injuries happened before the accident, and therefore they are not liable for any damage costs.
This is when a comprehensive and detailed account of your medical record will be critical evidence for your personal injury claim. The insurance companies are trying to look for any evidence to suggest the accident had minimal effects on your health. Hence, an experienced Denver personal injury attorney can help you fight their allegations. Be sure to disclose all of your medical histories to your attorney. Failing to do so could damage your credibility or hurt your claim.
A Pre-existing Condition Shouldn’t Discourage You From Filing a Claim
You should not feel discouraged from pursuing compensation for your injuries just because you have a pre-existing condition. In fact, some might argue that an injury victim with a pre-existing condition will have an easier time producing concrete evidence of their medical history. That’s because they’ve most likely been getting regular medical treatment for their condition. In addition, compared to a “healthy” individual who hasn’t seen a doctor in years, the person with a pre-existing condition will have recent medical records to readily obtain.
Your attorney can help you determine the severity of the condition and how it affected your life before the accident. Then they can help establish the extent to which the accident exacerbated your condition. Doing so will help determine how much compensation you can receive.
“The Eggshell Skull Rule” or “Take Your Victim as You Find
The “eggshell skull rule” is a common legal doctrine that applies to personal injury cases. Sometimes this doctrine is also known as “take the victim as you find them.” Under the eggshell skull rule, a defendant cannot use the victim’s unexpected frailty as a valid defense. In other words, the defendant can be held liable for the injury victim’s unexpected reactions to the defendant’s negligence or intentional tort. That includes aggravation of the injury victim’s pre-existing condition. Or, if the injured victim suffered an unusually high level of damage due to their pre-existing condition, the defendant is still legally responsible for the consequences of their negligence or recklessness.
Imagine an injury victim who has a skull as thin as an eggshell. After an accident, they might sustain injuries more severely than someone without a thin skull (or pre-existing condition). Perhaps the defendant caused their thin skull to break unexpectedly. However, even if the defendant who caused their injuries was completely unaware of their thin skull, they can still be held liable. The eggshell skull rules state that the defendant can be found liable for all damages that stem from their wrongful actions, even if the plaintiff’s condition contributed to the outcome of the resulting injuries.
Contact a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you were involved in a car accident that worsened a pre-existing condition, you may be able to recover compensation. Or, if the insurance company is denying your claim by saying that your injuries are pre-existing, contact our legal team.
We are here to protest your rights and get you the money you deserve. Your initial consultation is free, so you can call us for help today. We’ll review your case and answer any questions you have related to your case.