Pre-existing conditions are a broad term primarily used in the insurance industry. Some estimates indicate that as many as 54 million Americans may have injuries or illnesses that qualify as pre-existing. These conditions commonly become an issue when seeking insurance coverage, but they can also affect personal injury lawsuits.
Understanding how your conditions can affect your injury claim is important since it can help you make the right decisions following your accident. This guide will help explain why pre-existing conditions matter and what you can do to ensure you still receive adequate compensation for your injuries.
How Do Accidents Affect Pre-Existing Conditions?
Since pre-existing conditions cover an almost infinitely broad set of injuries and illnesses, no one article could list how an accident might affect them. For example, you may have an illness such as osteoporosis that affects your bone structure and makes you more likely to suffer severe injuries. As a result, a relatively minor accident may cause more broken bones or otherwise unusually severe effects.
Note that pre-existing conditions don't always have to result in direct injuries. If you have a condition that causes you chronic pain, an accident may aggravate this condition and result in a more debilitating condition. Accidents can also sometimes accelerate degenerative diseases, leading to worse long-term prognoses.
How Will Your Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Case?
A pre-existing condition can have several potential impacts on your injury case. In some cases, the defendants may attempt to deny compensation by claiming that your injuries are wholly related to your condition. This defense can introduce new challenges to your case by forcing you to prove that the accident aggravated, worsened, or otherwise affected your condition.
On the other hand, pre-existing conditions can also lead to more compensation. The "eggshell" rule is a common doctrine in personal injury law that holds defendants liable, even if they cannot predict that a minor accident might lead to major injuries. In other words, the defendant isn't off the hook simply because an individual without a pre-existing condition may have suffered less severe injuries.
How Can You Improve Your Odds of a Successful Case?
While pre-existing conditions won't prevent you from receiving compensation for injuries, they can make your case more complex. Although you should always work with an experienced personal injury attorney when dealing with auto accident cases, pre-existing conditions make it particularly important to have a skilled lawyer on your side.
A personal injury attorney will perform the legwork necessary to collect evidence showing how the accident may have affected your injury. This investigation can help refute attempts by the defendant to invalidate your injury claims while also providing the crucial proof necessary to demonstrate how the accident has affected your condition and your life.
For more information, contact an auto accident lawyer near you.