Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Cases

Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Cases

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patient talking to doctor about their back injury

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or injury before being involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering how that affects your ability to recover compensation. The good news is that having a pre-existing condition does not prevent you from filing a personal injury claim.

There is a legal principle called the “eggshell skull” rule that protects plaintiffs with pre-existing conditions. This rule essentially says that the defendant must take the victim as they find them. So even if your injuries are more severe than they would be for someone without a pre-existing condition, the negligent party is still liable.

For example, let’s say you had a previous back injury that was mostly healed. If you were rear-ended and that accident aggravated your back condition, causing severe pain and limitations, the at-fault driver would be responsible for compensating you. They can’t argue “well, your back was already injured, so it’s not my fault it’s so bad now.”

The key point is that the defendant’s negligence caused a new injury or made your pre-existing condition worse. As long as there is evidence showing how your condition changed and worsened after the accident, you can recover damages.

However, you typically cannot recover for any portion of the pre-existing injury or symptoms that remained the same and were not affected by the new accident. The defendant is only liable for the new harm their negligence caused.

Proving how an accident impacted your pre-existing condition can be complicated. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your attorney knows how to gather the right medical evidence and present it persuasively to maximize your compensation.

Don’t assume having a pre-existing condition means you don’t have a valid case. Under the eggshell skull rule, the negligent party must take full responsibility for all the harm they caused, regardless of your prior medical history. Reach out to a seasoned personal injury lawyer at Casper & de Toledo today, and we will assist you.