Pre-existing Injuries and Their Impact on Personal Injury Cases
At the beginning of a personal injury case, it is often presumed that the victim was in a state of flawless health before their accident. However, in reality, most people deal with all sorts of health conditions, large and small. As a result, we frequently receive questions from potential claimants regarding pre-existing conditions and how they might impact their case and compensation.
Insurance companies will often try to say that your health issues were not caused by the accident, and that they existed prior to it. If a victim claims that they have no prior complaints or injuries, their past may come under further scrutiny, especially if they are retirement-age or older. This is why it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney from Van Law Firm as quickly as possible after you have been injured. Our attorneys can determine the best way to handle your medical information in order to maximize your compensation.
Don’t Let Pre-Existing Injuries Deter Your Claim
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The victim in a personal injury case is not entitled to receive payment for injuries and conditions that are unaffected by an accident. They are entitled to receive compensation for pre-existing conditions if the accident made them worse–this is called exacerbation or aggravation of pre-existing conditions. Victims may be able to receive compensation for the exacerbation or aggravation of pre-existing physical conditions as well as mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
A pre-existing condition should not discourage you from pursuing compensation in a personal injury case. A client who has received prior medical treatment usually has better medical records than one who rarely sees a doctor. Prior medical records are necessary to establish the baseline for your condition prior to the accident in order to determine how the accident exacerbated the condition.
“Take Your Victim as You Find Him”
No one deserves to receive less compensation simply because they were already injured. In personal injury claims, the fact that the victim had a pre-existing condition is not considered a valid defense against a claim. This is often called the “eggshell skull” rule, which comes from an imaginary case where the victim’s skull is as thin as an eggshell. This would obviously make the victim very susceptible to an injury. If the defendant happens to touch the victim very lightly and his skull shatters, the defendant is liable for that injury. This applies even though the defendant had no idea about the victim’s condition and the fact that it contributed to the severity of his injuries. The defendant has to “take the victim as he finds him.”
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Pre-existing injuries such as degenerative disc disease or back and neck injuries are commonly aggravated by additional injuries. The most important thing to remember is if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact the Van Law Firm, regardless of if you had a pre-existing injury or medical condition.
Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries
Aggravation of a pre-existing injury is more than just a “recurrence” of the previous injury where no specific incident can independently explain the worsened condition. The natural progression or deterioration of the existing condition or injury is similarly insufficient. There must be a specific injury or accident that independently puts the condition into a worse state than it was put into previously. The pre-existing condition must have been made worse by the subsequent injury or the subsequent injury must have been worse than it would have been otherwise had there not been a pre-existing condition.
The amount of compensation allowable from aggravation is limited to the additional injury caused by the aggravation. Objective medical evidence such as expert medical opinion, medical records and diagnostic tests can be used to prove aggravation of a pre-existing injury.
Connect with Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been in an accident and need an attorney, choose the experienced attorneys at Van Law Firm to guide you through your case. Experience is the best tool available when dealing with pre-existing injuries in personal injury cases. Our experienced attorneys can help coach you through all stages of your case. Call our office nearest you today for a free case evaluation and consultation.
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