How Do Preexisting Conditions Affect Personal Injury Claims? | What Injured Victims Need to Know!
In personal injury cases, "pre-existing conditions" refers to the physical and mental state of the injured party prior to the accident that resulted in their current injuries. It is one of the many things that insurance companies cite when rejecting or undervaluing claims.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have extensive experience handling personal injury cases pertaining to pre-existing conditions. They can assess the injured victim's claims and guide them on their legal options.
How Do Preexisting Conditions Affect Personal Injury Claims?
When it comes to personal injury claims, there is an assumption that the insurance companies make. They make the claimants believe that people are in the best of health prior to their accidents. However, that is not true, as many injured victims may be suffering from pre-existing conditions.
In most personal injury cases, insurance companies are quick to blame the victim's pre-existing condition as the cause of their injuries rather than the accident. Under personal injury law, if an accident does not affect the pre-existing injury, the at-fault party may not be liable for the damages. Insurance companies use this law to reduce compensation by denying that their policyholders caused the injuries.
Although the law does not allow injured victims to obtain compensation for pre-existing conditions, it does make them eligible if the accident exacerbates or aggravates their pre-existing injury.
A pre-existing condition can make it challenging to pursue a personal injury claim without legal representation. It can play a major role in the outcome of a case. Since it is a complicated area of the law, there is a need for concrete evidence to demonstrate the victim's condition prior to and after the accident.
An experienced personal injury attorney can reach out to a skilled physician to have them review the victim's medical records and prior medical history to determine their health status before and after the accident.
A testimony from a qualified physician can bolster a case and increase the chances of recovering compensation.
Can an Injured Victim Pursue a Personal Injury Claim If Their Pre-existing Conditions Caused Their Injuries?
Under common law, there is a legal doctrine that is commonly referred to as the "eggshell plaintiff" rule. It allows injured victims to pursue personal injury claims or lawsuits to recover the damages incurred, even if their pre-existing conditions contributed to their injuries.
The eggshell plaintiff rule states that the defendant is liable for the damages if the plaintiff's physical or mental state (pre-existing condition) affected the injuries they suffered in the accident.
Under this rule, the at-fault party cannot use pre-existing conditions to get out of liability, and they're responsible for any injuries that are magnified by the plaintiff's peculiar characteristics.
Below is an example to help illustrate how the eggshell plaintiff rule works:
Joseph suffers from a pre-existing condition that makes his skull weaker than the average person. One fine afternoon, he decides to go for a drive and gets into a car accident caused by Ben, who was drunk driving at the time. Medical records suggest that Joseph suffered serious brain injuries. After seeking medical treatment, he decides to pursue a personal injury claim against Ben's insurance company.
In the above example, Ben's insurance company may argue that Joseph's current injuries have nothing to do with the accident. However, under the eggshell plaintiff rule, Ben may be liable for the damages caused by his drunk driving.
Should Injured Victims Pursue Personal Injury Claims Despite Their Pre-existing Conditions?
A pre-existing condition should not discourage an injured victim from pursuing legal action against the negligent party. Affected parties who get routine checkups and receive medical treatment immediately following their injuries are able to produce a complete medical history and report.
However, the compensation an injured victim may receive for the aggravation of their pre-existing injury depends on several factors, including the severity of their pre-existing condition and its impact on the affected party's life prior to the accident.
Despite what the personal injury law states, an insurance company will rummage through the victim's medical history and reports to find any information that they could use against them. It could blame the pre-existing condition for the claimant's injuries, suggesting that the accident caused by its policyholder had nothing to do with the victim's current health status.
Handling the insurance company after filing a personal injury claim can be challenging and stressful. A catastrophic injury attorneys in Nashville can go over the victim's medical records and prior history of illnesses or injuries to build a strong case.
It's important for the injured victim to be completely honest with their attorney. Failing to disclose medical history or relevant information can cause a dent in the personal injury claim, jeopardizing the only chance to recover compensatory damages.
Important Things to Consider During the Personal Injury Claim Process
Pre-existing conditions affect personal injury claims more than one can imagine. It's important to keep a few things in mind during the legal process, and these include the following:
Inform the Attorney of the Pre-existing Condition
Pre-existing conditions affect personal injury claims by giving the at-fault party's insurance companies a reason to undervalue or deny claims.
It's crucial for an injured victim to notify their personal injury attorney about their pre-existing conditions. This can help the lawyer anticipate the insurance company's strategy and build the case accordingly.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
By seeking medical attention immediately after the accident, an injured victim can prove that their injuries resulted from the at-fault party's negligence and not their pre-existing injuries. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can explain the impact of medical records in a personal injury lawsuit.
Speak to a Lawyer Before Talking to the Insurance Adjuster
When filing a personal injury claim, the insurance company assigns the case to the adjuster, who may investigate the victim's medical records to find any information that could show that the injuries existed prior to the accident. This is one of the many tactics they use to save the insurer money.
The claimant should only provide medical records related to the case and avoid giving the insurance company access to their entire medical history. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide the victim in dealing with the insurer and addressing their concerns as well as answering questions like what if my accident injuries don't show up right away?
Prior Injury Cases Can Be Challenging to Fight. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Can Help!
Each prior injury case is an opportunity for the insurance company to argue that they're not responsible for the victim's medical bills. This can make it challenging to recover compensation without legal representation.
Those who are suffering from aggravation of their prior injuries due to another's negligence in Nashville, Tennessee, should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can work with the victim's doctors to build a strong case and increase their chances of recovering compensation.