Home of the historic Christ Church Cathedral, Houston is a place that’s filled with places to see and things to do. The city’s 2 million+ population is a testament to its cultural and economic growth. Sadly, Houston is not immune to accidents.
Accident victims can seek compensation for their losses. But there’s one factor that plays spoilsport in a compensation claim: a pre-existing condition.
It is important to understand how this factor can affect your ability to get compensation. A consultation with a personal injury law firm in Houston solves this.
In this article, we are going to discuss how a pre-existing condition can impact your personal injury claim and what you can do to protect your legal rights.
What is a Pre-existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is any health or medical issue that you had before the accident or incident that caused your current injury. This includes prior injuries, chronic illnesses, or other medical conditions that were present before the accident occurred.
Here are a few examples of common pre-existing conditions:
- Back pain and neck pain
- Arthritis and other joint disorders
- Brain trauma and head injuries
- Muscle injuries
- Degenerative disk disease
- Autoimmune disorders
How do Pre-existing Conditions Affect Personal Injury Claims?
It is important to understand the challenges that a victim may face if they have a pre-existing health condition.
Causation and Liability Issues
One of the major challenges in personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions is establishing a direct link between the accident and the worsening of your pre-existing condition. This link, often referred to as causation, is an important factor for determining liability.
Insurance companies may argue that the injuries you’re seeking compensation for were not primarily caused by the accident but rather by your pre-existing condition.
For instance, if you have back pain from a car accident and later get into a motorcycle crash, obtaining compensation can be more complex. In this case, the negligent driver and their insurance firm can argue that the back pain is caused by your pre-existing back injury.
The at-fault party and their insurance company will allege that your pre-existing condition was not worsened by the accident.
In such cases, you will receive less compensation even if you prove that the accident made your pre-existing injury worse.
Complications in Determining Pain and Suffering
Determining pain and suffering in a personal injury claim is difficult when you have pre-existing injuries. To avoid this, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can hire expert witnesses. The expert witness will review your medical records and provide the right opinion.
Denial of a Personal Injury Claim
Insurance companies use your pre-existing condition as a reason to reject your personal injury claim. They will blame the fact that the accident didn’t cause any new injuries and that you’re attempting to claim compensation for a condition that you already had.
Your lawyer will provide sufficient evidence to prove that your current injuries were caused by the at-fault party’s negligence.
Eggshell Plaintiff Rule
When you have a pre-existing condition, your attorney will apply the eggshell plaintiff rule. Under this legal concept, a person who causes a victim’s injuries is not exempt from liability simply because the victim has a pre-existing condition that makes them more suspectable to injury. While making a decision, your lawyer will explain this eggshell plaintiff rule to prove your side.
- Having a pre-existing condition does not automatically prevent you from obtaining financial compensation.
- If you have a pre-existing condition, then it is important to show your medical records to the other party’s insurance company when filing a personal injury claim.
- If you were dealing with chronic discomfort before the accident, then calculating pain and suffering can become more complicated.