The claimant laws may vary from state to state; a pre-existing condition may make the injury claim more challenging. This is more specifically if the condition is well-documented and has already been treated. It may make it difficult to prove your degree of injury at the time of the accident.
The Department of Health and Human Services defines a pre-existing condition as any illness or injury, such as asthma, diabetes, or cancer, whether physical or mental, that a victim may have struggled with before filing an insurance claim. However, this definition is more applicable to healthcare, but it also applies to personal injury claims.
What Counts As a Pre-Existing Condition?
Let’s understand the concept of pre-existing conditions with the help of an example. Suppose you broke your arm 20 years ago, and the injury was healed and properly set. After you face an accident and break your arm again, then it will not be a pre-existing condition.
If an individual has struggled with migraine headaches and the severity of the medical condition accelerates after a workplace injury or an accident, you are dealing with a pre-existing condition. Therefore, it is a condition that has not been healed completely, and you are getting ongoing treatment that may help your recovery. Furthermore, you have been diagnosed with the condition before the accident happened.
In such scenarios, the insurance company will demand proof of medical records of your injury or condition aggravated by the accident. Suppose your damage was caused due to negligence at the workplace or someone else; you must try to include these causes in the report of the medical professionals.
See A Doctor Before Filing Your Personal Injury Claim
While you may believe your pre-existing condition doesn’t require additional medical attention after an accident, seeking immediate help is crucial. A doctor can assess any worsening of your existing injury, address new injuries, and serve as a witness for your claim.
This documentation is essential evidence for potential legal proceedings, enhancing your chances of a favorable settlement. Even if your injuries are linked to a pre-existing condition, a doctor’s testimony can attribute your suffering directly to the accident, reinforcing your case against the liable party. Comprehensive evidence ensures compensation, especially if your case goes to court.
The Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine
Legal safeguards exist in court cases for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The “eggshell plaintiff doctrine” protects plaintiffs whose prior health issues may increase their injury susceptibility. This doctrine asserts that a defendant remains liable, regardless of the plaintiff’s pre-existing conditions, if the claimant can demonstrate that the other party worsened or caused the injuries.
In court, the defendant cannot evade responsibility based on the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition. However, the plaintiff must bear the burden of proof, emphasizing the importance of seeking medical attention and meticulously documenting all evidence to strengthen their claim.
Be Honest About Your Pre-Existing Condition
While laws encourage pursuing justice after an accident, it’s crucial to disclose your pre-existing condition to doctors openly and when filing your claim. Concealing this information can harm your case, as the defendant’s lawyer will likely uncover your medical history. (Learn more on when to hire a personal injury lawyer?)
If you’re transparent about your condition, asking your medical specialist to explain it to the defendant or, in a court scenario, to a judge or jury can strengthen your credibility. Avoiding the concealment of evidence ensures a more robust and honest presentation of your case, enhancing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
When To Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Your pre-existing condition shouldn’t prevent you from filing an injury claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal issues and insurance problems that may arise in your case. You will get time to heal and recover with all this they handle.