How Does My Pre-existing Condition Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

injured man with pre-exising condition

If you were injured as the result of an accident and decide to seek compensation, it must be proven that the accident caused the injury—and it’s true that, in certain circumstances, a pre-existing condition can make the case more complex, requiring a more nuanced approach.

That said, people who have pre-existing conditions have as much right as anyone else to seek and receive compensation for injuries caused by an accident. If you need the help of a personal injury attorney to pursue compensation, contact us online or call (904) 251-1111.

How Personal Injury Law Works

A case must involve at least two people, one or more of whom have been injured through an accident, and one or more of whom may be legally responsible for the injuries. Personal injury is a broad umbrella type of law that can cover the following types of situations, among others:

  • Car accidents, including those when a driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Truck accidents, including those where drivers do not follow the United States Department of Transportation regulations
  • Motorcycle accidents, including those where the injured person did not wear a helmet
  • Wrongful death situations, where grieving family members are seeking compensation
  • Nursing home neglect and abuse, where a resident’s physical, mental, and/or psychosocial needs are not met
  • Medical malpractice cases, which can be an especially complex area of law—and even more so when pre-existing conditions are involved
  • Worker’s compensation claims, when employees are injured on the job or become ill because of conditions at work
  • Social Security disability claims, including after someone’s claim has already been denied
  • Premises liability cases, which can have several overlapping issues 
  • Product liability cases, with each state having their own unique aspects 
  • Traumatic brain injuries and/or spinal cord injuries, which can change someone’s life forever
  • Boating and watercraft accidents, which happen on Florida’s beautiful waterways

In each of these types of personal injury cases, an attorney can help an injured party receive compensation for current medical bills and ongoing medical expenses, along with pain and suffering, and more. The injured party should always disclose any pre-existing conditions to help their attorney obtain a fair settlement. This is particularly true when the new injury has occurred in the same general areas in the body where a pre-existing condition already has an impact.

Failing to disclose these pre-existing conditions can have a negative impact on a personal injury lawyer’s ability to present a case in its best light. Plus, insurance companies and attorneys for other parties can use this situation to discredit the injured party.

Here is a more in-depth look at how personal injury law works—and next up is a look at a legal concept that applies more specifically to people with pre-existing conditions.

Eggshell Skull Rule in Personal Injury Claims

Depending upon the situation, a person’s pre-existing condition may make them more prone to becoming injured in a particular way. A defendant, however, would not be held less responsible simply because the injured party (the plaintiff) had this vulnerability, whether because of age, a disability, medical condition, or previous injury. How this rule is applied can vary by state, but Florida case law does allow for an accident attorney to use the eggshell rule to pursue compensation for their client. These types of cases typically require a carefully constructed, nuanced approach because of the complexities.

Proving this type of case requires an in-depth review of medical records to demonstrate the following two things:

  • The accident caused you to be in a worse state, medically speaking, than before it took place.
  • If the accident had not occurred, you would be in a better medical state.

This documentation allows a personal injury lawyer to demonstrate how the condition worsened by the accident in a concrete way to judges and/or juries.

When an Accident Occurs

Whether a car accident, worker’s compensation claim, or another type of personal injury occurs, it’s time to document all that you can. This includes what happened, when, and where, plus who witnessed the event. Report what happened to the relevant authorities, whether that’s the police department for a vehicular accident or to your employer for a workplace accident. When contacted by an insurance company, do not discuss your case or agree to a fast settlement.

Instead, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to share details of the accident, as well as information about your pre-existing conditions. 

Contacting an Accident Attorney

In personal injury cases, the sooner you contact an accident attorney, the better—and this is even more true with situations where a pre-existing condition can complicate the pursuit of compensation. After contacting a personal injury attorney, steps taken will often include:

  • An independent investigation of the accident
  • The collection of documents, ranging from police reports and witness statements about the accident to medical records and more
  • Negotiations with other parties, including insurance companies and the attorneys of other parties 
  • Mediating or arbitration, as it makes sense for a particular case
  • Representing a client in court if the case reaches this point

Personal Injury Lawyers at Harrell & Harrell, P.A. 

Our team of accident attorneys has been practicing personal injury law since 1974 with the continued dedication to doing what’s best for our clients. We work on a contingency basis, this means that you don’t pay us anything unless we obtain compensation for you, then our fees will come out of the monetary award.

We leverage our extensive experience for each of our clients to develop legal strategies to maximize compensation after personal injuries occur, including for people who have pre-existing conditions. As an overview, here are client testimonials and a selection of our legal settlements.

We urge you not to settle for less than what you deserve. To get started, contact us to schedule a free no obligation consultation