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Can A Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Can A Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

When filing a personal injury claim, various factors can influence the outcome. One significant aspect that claimants often overlook is the impact of pre-existing conditions on their case. Understanding how these pre-existing conditions are viewed and handled within the legal system is crucial in preparing a robust claim. 

Read on to learn whether a pre-existing condition can affect your personal injury claim.

The Role Of Personal Injury Lawyers

Before delving into how a pre-existing condition can impact your injury claim, let’s first understand the role of a legal professional in this situation. Generally, in navigating the complexities of personal injury law, especially when pre-existing conditions are involved, the guidance of experienced personal injury lawyers is invaluable. These legal professionals are adept at analyzing how a pre-existing condition might affect the claim and strategizing to ensure fair compensation. 

Definition And Importance Of Pre-Existing Conditions

Now that we understand the role of lawyers in these cases, let’s delve into what pre-existing conditions are and how they play a crucial role. Essentially, a pre-existing condition is any medical issue before the accident or event leading to the personal injury claim. Common examples include chronic illnesses, previous injuries, or degenerative conditions.  

The importance of these pre-existing conditions lies in how they can complicate the determination of liability and damages in a personal injury case. If a pre-existing condition exacerbates the injuries sustained in the accident, the defendant may still be liable for the heightened level of injury. However, this also opens up debates on the extent of their liability.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Affect A Personal Injury Claim

Having understood the fundamentals of a pre-existing condition, the next step is to get familiar with how it can influence your personal injury claim, including the following:

1. It Can Complicate The Process Of Determining Liability 

Pre-existing conditions can significantly complicate establishing liability in personal injury cases. When you have a medical history of similar injuries or health issues before the incident in question, it becomes challenging to ascertain how much the recent event contributed to your current condition.  

The opposing party’s lawyer will frequently leverage this complexity, contending that the injuries claimed aren’t entirely new but are aggravated forms of pre-existing conditions. This argument aims to diminish their client’s responsibility by suggesting that the current injuries are a continuation or intensification of prior health issues rather than new damages directly caused by the incident.  

Consequently, this can lead to intricate legal debates, requiring detailed medical evidence and expert testimony to unravel the precise impact of the incident on your health and to delineate the boundary between pre-existing conditions and new injuries. 

2. It Can Impact Damage Calculations 

In personal injury cases involving pre-existing conditions, assessing and calculating damages becomes a particularly intricate process. You’ll be tasked with proving that the incident resulted in harm and demonstrating how it exacerbated an existing condition or inflicted new injuries. This distinction is critical for determining a fair and just compensation amount. The challenge lies in quantifying the degree of exacerbation, as it directly impacts the settlement figures.  

To accurately assess this, thorough medical evaluations and comparisons of your health status before and after the incident are essential. This often involves gathering comprehensive medical records, seeking expert medical opinions, and sometimes undergoing further medical examinations. By establishing a clear link between the incident and the aggravated condition or identifying new injuries amidst pre-existing ones, you can ensure the compensation reflects the true extent of the harm caused by the incident, allowing for a fair settlement in the eyes of the law. 

3. It Requires The Need For Detailed Medical Documentation 

In personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions, the necessity for comprehensive medical documentation can’t be overstated. These records serve as a crucial foundation for the case, offering concrete evidence about the state of your health before the incident. This information is vital in distinguishing between the effects of the pre-existing condition and the injuries directly attributable to the incident.  

Detailed medical records, such as doctor’s notes, diagnostic test results, and treatment histories, can provide a timeline and baseline of your health before the accident. This baseline is then compared against post-incident medical data to demonstrate how the event in question has altered or exacerbated your condition.  

Continuous and meticulously maintained medical records are instrumental in making this comparison clear and convincing. They can help establish the causality and extent of the new injuries and play a critical role in reinforcing the legitimacy and strength of the claim, thus facilitating a fair assessment of damages and compensation. 

Strategies For Handling Pre-Existing Conditions In Claims

Strategies For Handling Pre-Existing Conditions In Claims

Navigating personal injury claims with pre-existing conditions requires strategic planning and keen insight. Given the complexities discussed earlier, here are some strategies to effectively handle pre-existing conditions in personal injury claims:

  • Full Disclosure: Honesty about pre-existing conditions is vital. Concealing them can harm your credibility and weaken your case. Full disclosure allows personal injury lawyers to formulate a strategy for these conditions. 
  • Expert Testimony: Medical experts can offer insights into how an accident may have exacerbated a pre-existing condition. Their testimony can be instrumental in establishing a clear connection between the incident and the aggravated situation. 

With these strategies in mind, you can deal with your injury claim more effectively and aid in pursuing just compensation.  

The Bottom Line

Dealing with a personal injury claim involving pre-existing conditions requires careful consideration and expert legal guidance. By keeping the information mentioned above in mind, you can understand the complexities involved and ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.