The aches and pains of life are normal. Many of us, at one point or another, have dealt with an injury or illness that caused us pain or discomfort. The severity and extent of such conditions may vary from person to person, but the truth is that many, if not most, people come with some kind of medical history or preexisting condition. What, however, can this mean for your personal injury claim?
Preexisting Conditions and Your Personal Injury claim
In a personal injury claim, the victim is legally entitled to receive compensation for the harm suffered due to the accident from the party responsible for causing the accident, or that party’s insurance company. If an injury or condition was preexisting in nature, then that will not be compensable in the personal injury claim for damages. However, if an accident aggravated a preexisting condition, then making that pre-existing condition worse is compensable pursuant to a personal injury claim.
It should also be noted here that a plaintiff is still entitled to damages for injuries caused by an accident even if that plaintiff had a preexisting condition that made him or her more susceptible to injury. In other words, even if someone else may not have been injured as severely, that plaintiff is still entitled to all harm suffered due to the accident. This is referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff” doctrine. It provides important protection for those with preexisting conditions that are injured in accidents.
Insurance companies love to use preexisting conditions as a way to try to get out of paying a claim in full or in part. These companies will assert that injuries and symptoms experienced by an injury victim were already things they suffered from prior to the accident and were not, therefore caused by the accident and compensable. This is why it is so important that the status of the victim’s preexisting condition prior to and after the accident be determined. While the defendant in the personal injury case carries the burden of disproving a damages claim, which means that it is in fact the defendant’s job to prove that your injuries claimed were actually preexisting in nature and not caused by the accident, the plaintiff will likely need to combat such a claim.
In order to show that a defendant’s claim that injuries were actually preexisting in nature is misguided or unfounded, the plaintiff will need to show that the injuries claimed are actually new and/or an exacerbation of a preexisting condition and that exacerbation is compensable. To demonstrate this, past medical records of the plaintiff can be compared to medical records post-accident. If you have notable preexisting conditions, it may be a good idea to go to your regular treating doctor after an accident and be clear with him or her about any new symptoms you may be experiencing. This doctor will be able to testify to your state of health before and after the accident, which can be convincing and solid evidence.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in accident, the team at Hunt Law is on your side. We stand up to the big insurance companies and tirelessly fight for the rights of our clients. Contact us today.