Will a Pre-Existing Injury or Condition Affect My Personal Injury Claim?


If you were already injured or suffered a medical condition before being the victim of a personal injury accident, your prior injury or condition might adversely affect any personal injury claim that you might make in your new accident. When a claimant has a pre-existing injury or condition, he or she has already suffered something similar in the past.

Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Injury

There are times when a pre-existing injury or condition might become aggravated as a result of an injury to that same part of the body. For example, an old football injury might have resulted in lower back surgery. If that individual suffers an injury to that same part of the body in a rear-end accident, the defense might argue that the victim was already damaged goods, and any award in his or her favor should be reduced accordingly. Such a reduction in damages is forbidden by certain state laws that address pre-existing injuries or conditions. Persistence in this prohibition by a claimant’s attorney can pay off.

Don’t Keep it a Secret

Upon initially consulting with an attorney about your new accident, be sure to advise him or her of your prior injury to that same part of the body. A Loveland car accident lawyer knows that an opposing insurance company has ways of finding out about that injury or condition, so be truthful about it. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to work with the issue.

Non-Symptomatic Medical Conditions

According to Science Daily, researchers at Boston Medical Center have determined that one-third of all people between the ages of 40 and 59 have a medical condition known as degenerative disc disease. What comes to the issue is that many of them aren’t even affected by it. Then, an accident can trigger pain and discomfort that the individual never experienced in the past. The insurer will try and use the underlying previously non-symptomatic degenerative disc disease in arguing that the injury claimant was already damaged goods.

The Man With the Eggshell Skull

Imagine a man who was born with a thin and brittle skull. A simple bump on the head could cause a skull fracture. An insurer might try to use his vulnerability to a skull fracture against him as a defense. Hence, the rule about the man with an eggshell skull. That vulnerability can’t be used against the man, nor can it be used against an accident victim with a previously asymptomatic medical condition. On that basis, a jury must take an injured person as it finds him or her.

If you have a prior injury or medical condition affecting the same part of the body that you injured in a new accident, the opposing insurance company will use it against you in any way that it can. It’s a common tactic that it will use to try and get a claimant to settle cheaply. It’s entirely possible that the prior injury or condition had nothing to do with your present condition. How your attorney handles a request for information and the adversity about a prior injury can influence the amount of any compensation that you might receive. Be sure to disclose that injury or condition to your attorney in your initial consultation though.


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