Woman on the phone discussing her personal injury claim

Pre-existing Conditions And Your Personal Injury Claim

Few among us can say that we have never been injured, ill, or sought medical treatment for these things or some other health condition. The aches and pains of life are far from rare. When you are injured in an accident, however, these things may suddenly get the ominous label of “pre-existing conditions” and all of a sudden the insurance company is using them to either deny your claim or significantly reduce the value of your claim. Can they do that? Can they get away with that? No, insurance companies should not be able to use pre-existing conditions to jeopardize your claim and there are ways you can prevent them, or at least make it difficult for them, to do so.

How Pre-existing Conditions Can Complicate Your Personal Injury Claim

The bottom line is that, regardless of your previous state of health, you are entitled to compensation for the harm you have sustained as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of another. Pursuant to the eggshell doctrine, this remains true even if pre-existing conditions made you more vulnerable to injury in the accident. This doctrine means that you take the plaintiff as you find them. If there was a pre-existing condition that made the claimant more susceptible to injury and, in turn, the claimant sustained an injury that someone else may not have sustained because the claimant was more vulnerable to such an injury, it does not matter. The harm the claimant sustained as a result of the accident is still compensable.

The trouble comes in making it clear to the insurance company that your injuries are either newly caused by the accident or existing conditions were exacerbated or made worse by the accident. Both of these things are compensable in a personal injury claim following the accident. Insurance companies will try to blend pre-existing conditions with injuries you claim to be caused by the accident in an attempt to confuse the situation. In this confusion, the company will hope to get out of paying you what you are actually owed on your claim.

To prevent the insurance company from doing this, it is critical that you be clear with your treating doctors about the symptoms you are experiencing after the accident and how they differ from anything you experienced prior to the accident. After the accident, consider going to see the doctor who treated you for pre-existing conditions and who is familiar with your condition prior to the accident. Talk to this doctor about what you are feeling now, after the accident, and make sure all of this is noted in your medical records. A clear differentiation between your health status before and after the accident will help highlight the damage you have suffered as a result of the accident.

Personal Injury Attorney

The Law Office of Bryce Cook rigorously defends our clients that have been injured in accidents. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.