How Does a Pre-Existing Injury Affect Compensation in an Injury Claim?

Claim form with a pen and clipboard that says “pre-existing condition”

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you may wonder if a pre-existing injury or illness could prevent you from receiving compensation in a personal injury claim. Although pre-existing injuries can affect the amount of the settlement you may receive, it doesn’t mean you won’t receive any compensation if someone’s negligence caused your injury. At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices, we represent injured victims throughout eastern Pennsylvania. Our personal injury lawyers help clients understand how a pre-existing injury may affect a claim and fight to help them recover the compensation they deserve.

Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Injury

Generally, injured victims are not entitled to receive compensation for existing injuries or conditions that are unaffected by being hurt in an accident. However, if you have an injury that’s exacerbated or aggravated after being involved in a motor vehicle collision that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to receive compensation. For example, if you suffer a whiplash injury that worsens a pre-existing condition such as a herniated disc, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills to treat both the whiplash injury and issues with the herniated disc. An eastern Pennsylvania auto accident lawyer can evaluate your specific circumstances and advise you on the next steps to take.

The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule

Someone who has a pre-existing condition may be more vulnerable to accident-related injuries. However, that doesn’t mean they are less entitled to compensation because they suffered an injury in the past. The eggshell plaintiff rule means that negligent parties can’t rely on the victim’s previous injury or condition to absolve them of liability. This ensures that an injured person who suffers damages due to someone else’s negligence can recover compensation, regardless of other health conditions they may already have. Your personal injury lawyer can help you understand how the eggshell plaintiff rule may be applied if you have a pre-existing injury that was aggravated in a car accident.

Disclosing Pre-Existing Injuries to Your Attorney Is Vital

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s crucial to be honest with your personal injury attorney about any pre-existing conditions you may have. During accident investigations, insurance companies may investigate your medical history, and failing to disclose a pre-existing injury can result in a denied claim, diminished settlement, or even court sanctions. However, do not give an insurance adjuster access to your medical records without speaking to your auto accident lawyer first.

Although insurers will always try to claim a pre-existing injury is to blame for your current condition, your car accident lawyer can establish the degree to which the crash caused it to worsen. Your medical records, the health care professionals treating you, and medical experts can provide valuable insight and evidence that may back up your claim. Your personal injury attorney can work with your physicians to provide objective, straightforward documentation.

Recovering Damages in Accident Claims Involving Pre-Existing Injuries

Each case involves its own set of circumstances, so there is no way to definitively state how much compensation you may be able to obtain if you have a pre-existing injury and are hurt in an accident. Depending on the situation, your attorney may be able to help you recover damages such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Wage loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Auto accident lawyers are well-versed in calculating damages in claims involving pre-existing injuries. If you have a pre-existing injury that was aggravated in a car accident, a skilled personal injury attorney can protect your rights, guide you through the process, help you build a strong claim, and work toward the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Eastern Pennsylvania

At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices, our team has a track record of success in recovering maximum compensation in complex car accident claims. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, our personal injury attorneys can help. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call 610-867-2900. With offices in Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, and Monroe counties, our attorneys serve personal injury clients throughout eastern Pennsylvania.


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