Being involved in a personal injury case with pre-existing injuries may seem difficult, but this is not necessarily the truth for your case. In fact, navigating your case will be pretty similar to any other personal injury case. A pre-existing injury or condition won’t negatively impact your case, and can support your injuries if you’ve suffered from new injuries or the accident has further aggravated your condition.
Let’s discuss personal injury cases with pre-existing injuries and whether or not your compensation is affected.
Table of Contents
Can I Still Have a Personal Injury Case with Pre-Existing Injuries?
Some people may believe having pre-existing injuries can be detrimental to a new personal injury claim, but this can not be further from the truth. Yes, you do still need to disclose your injuries and any other pre-existing conditions to your attorney. In fact, many personal injury lawyers ask their new clients to be completely upfront. You should not keep anything from your personal injury lawyer, including the existence of any past injuries or conditions.
However, if a recent event caused you new injuries or further worsened your pre-existing condition, then you’ve got a case. Just like with other personal injury cases, you must prove the other party’s negligent acts were a direct cause of the injuries.
Can Pre-Existing Injuries Help My Case?
In some cases, pre-existing injuries can actually help the basis of your case. If you are susceptible to graver injuries in specific areas of the body due to an existing injury, then this can be used in your favor when determining case values.
For example, having chronic back pain can worsen in a car accident or slip-and-fall. Though your pre-existing conditions are not compensated in a personal injury case, the presence of this condition makes your new injuries more severe. Also, a worsening condition or injury can also be compensated in a personal injury lawsuit.
Some pre-existing injuries or conditions some injured people may have include:
- Chronic pain
- Permanent disability from an earlier accident
- Head trauma from an earlier accident
- Another injury that is healing from some time ago
Though pre-existing injuries may seem like an issue, the answer is quite the opposite. Pre-existing injuries can support your case, not go against it. This is because of the “eggshell rule” in California, which supports injured individuals whose pre-existing conditions were aggravated by a new injury. You may be referred to as an “eggshell plaintiff”, as it is a much more delicate matter when a pre-existing injury is involved in a personal injury claim.
How Can I Prove a Pre-Existing Injury Was Aggravated?
Were you in an accident and suffering from a pre-existing injury or condition that is now worse? Have you had to deal with further medical treatment and care, as well as paying for more medications and care? You are entitled to seek compensation in the form of a personal injury claim.
Showing a pre-existing injury or condition was aggravated from an incident can require specific evidence. This evidence is different than if you were filing a claim for new injuries without having a pre-existing condition. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can provide you with more details, but some of the most common ways to prove a pre-existing injury was aggravated from a personal injury incident include:
- Showing past and present medical records
- Showing diagnostic test results from after the accident
- Interviewing key witnesses to the injuries, i.e. your physician
Some pre-existing conditions or injuries that can worsen from a car accident or other personal injury incident include:
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Nerve disorders
- Spinal stenosis
Living with a pre-existing condition can already dramatically change your lifestyle. When in an accident, this can ensure the injury or condition is even worse. Proving a pre-existing injury was aggravated can help you to possibly obtain further compensation. Whether you have new injuries and/or a pre-existing injury or condition was aggravated from the accident, talk with a personal injury attorney to learn more about how to develop your case.
What Do I Do After an Accident with Pre-Existing Injuries?
If you have pre-existing injuries and are involved in an accident, what are the next steps? The first thing you will want to do after the incident is call the police. This will help get the proper accident report filed. Then, of course, get any contact information from the driver and present witnesses who were there at the time of the accident.
However, it is vital that the next thing you do is seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Medical treatment in a timely manner is recommended for people without pre-existing injuries. If you have a pre-existing injury or condition, it is even more necessary. Do not delay medical treatment for your injuries. Delaying or failing to follow the doctor’s treatment orders, you may find the consequences detrimental to your health and personal injury case.
After seeing a medical professional, it is recommended you go through a consultation with a personal injury attorney. A dedicated attorney can provide you the legal advice you need. You will also be able to see if you have a strong personal injury case. Personal injury lawyers can answer all your inquiries.
What Could Possible Compensation Help With?
While you can not file a personal injury lawsuit to cover treatment of pre-existing conditions after an accident, you can file a lawsuit for new injuries or a worsening condition. Your burden of proof is to show the court that the other party’s negligence directly caused your injuries.
If you obtain compensation from a personal injury case due to new injuries or an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, this can help with expenses like:
- Medical expenses for new injuries or care for an aggravated pre-existing condition
- Loss of wages from being unable to work
- Repairs on a vehicle
- Non-economic damages, such as further disability, decreased quality of life, mental anguish, etc.
- Future care expenses
A pre-existing injury worsened by an accident can lead your quality of life to be gravely impacted. You should not have to pay for the expenses out of your own pocket. Talking with a personal injury attorney can help you explore your legal options. They can also help gather evidence for your case.
What Can a Personal Injury Attorney Do For Me?
When it comes to filing a personal injury claim with a pre-existing injury, a personal injury attorney can provide great insight. Talk with an expert attorney. Preferably, the attorney has years of practice under their belt. Preferably, the attorney you choose to represent you is one who has represented similar cases in the past.
By obtaining the representation of a personal injury attorney, you can navigate any legal obstacles that come your way with complete ease. You may be afraid your personal injury claim is impacted negatively by a pre-existing injury or condition. This is not the case. In fact, a pre-existing injury or condition can only add to your case and further prove liability and severity of injuries.
Interested in learning more about what a personal injury attorney can do for you? Book your consultation with a San Diego personal injury lawyer now!