In general, you cannot seek financial compensation in a car accident claim for a pre-existing injury or medical condition. However, if a car accident causes aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition, you may pursue compensation that directly arises from that aggravation. In cases where a car accident made your pre-existing injuries worse than they otherwise would have been, you may be able to recover compensation for the resulting medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Your car accident case is likely to be highly complex if you have a pre-existing condition. Furthermore, it’s safe to say the insurance company will do everything in its power to minimize or avoid paying your claim. These are just a few reasons why you need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Have you been injured in a car accident in Long Island where your prior injuries were aggravated? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the Long Island car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. now for a free and confidential consultation. Our legal team will assess your injuries and the facts and circumstances surrounding your car accident case as we fight for the compensation you deserve. We will make sure that everything is handled promptly, with great care, and in your best interest.
What is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is essentially a health condition, injury, or illness that existed before you were involved in the car crash. For instance, let’s say you slipped and fell and broke your hip on Thursday. Then, on Friday, you were involved in a car accident in Long Island. Your broken hip would be a pre-existing condition because it was an injury you suffered prior to the accident.
Examples of Pre-Existing Conditions and Injuries
Some of the pre-existing conditions and injuries we commonly see following a car accident include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Prior broken bones and fractures
- Back and neck injuries
- Concussions and brain damage
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart murmurs
It’s critical to be honest when disclosing your injuries. What you say about your pre-existing injuries should match your medical records. Being honest about your pre-existing medical conditions can boost your credibility during the insurance claims process. Those who try to conceal or deny a previous condition set themselves up to fail, and they could even face court sanctions.
Have Your Doctor Explain How Your Present Injuries Were Caused By Your Car Accident
Your most recent medical records need to indicate there is a causal relationship between the car crash and your injuries. Medical records are vital to your car accident injury claim. You want them to be as detailed as possible.
While you don’t have much say as to what goes into your medical records – that’s the responsibility of the medical professionals – you can see that your doctor distinguishes that your new injuries are the result of the most recent car accident, not some prior accident. Having your doctor state this in their records is an essential component to a successful injury claim. The most reliable medical records show where a pre-existing condition ends, and a new one begins.
What is the “eggshell plaintiff” legal theory?
An important legal concept that applies to pre-existing conditions in car accident cases is what’s known as the “eggshell plaintiff” legal theory. This rule holds that the relative frailty of the car accident injury victim is not a valid defense against a claim; they are more susceptible to injury than most. It holds the at-fault party in a car accident responsible, even when the victim’s injuries are more serious than expected due to a prior injury. The defendant is liable for all losses that stem from their negligent actions or inactions. You should not hesitate to contact a lawyer if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, no matter the state of your health prior to the car accident.
How To Protect Your Car Accident Injury Claim
A skilled and knowledgeable Long Island car accident attorney can help you make a stronger case by connecting a recent injury to previous injuries or conditions. After a relationship has been established, it is more difficult for an at-fault party’s insurer to deny or minimize a claim. If you’ve been in a car crash, you should see a doctor before pursuing an injury claim. A thorough medical evaluation can help both doctors and attorneys distinguish between new injuries and old injuries that have been aggravated.
Insurance Companies Could Try to Use Prior Injuries Against You
The at-fault party’s insurance company has an array of defenses they will try to raise to prevent them from paying you the compensation you deserve. Among their most common defenses is the argument that your injury was pre-existing and was not due to the new car accident.
In gathering evidence to support their argument, the insurance adjusters may ask you to sign a medical authorization that gives them access to your entire medical history. This is why you should never sign one of these documents. Not only is it an invasion of your privacy, but you will be handing over evidence that could be used against you.
Contact a Long Island Personal Injury Attorney
When it comes to seeking compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses following a car accident, having an experienced lawyer on your side is essential, especially if you have a prior injury that may influence your case. Talk with the Long Island car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling these types of cases. Call now for a free and confidential consultation.