Many people are unsure if they can pursue financial compensation for pre-existing medical conditions after a car crash. The answer is yes, but only if the collision significantly aggravated the pre-existing injury or illness.
While you can get compensated for pre-existing conditions that are proven to be worsened following a vehicle collision, navigating the claims process is tricky. That’s why we recommend consulting with an experienced and dedicated personal injury legal team to protect your rights to maximum compensation.
What Are Pre-Existing Conditions?
A pre-existing condition is a medical injury or illness that existed before the vehicle accident. Pre-existing conditions can be minor or severe. Examples of common pre-existing conditions include:
- Injured muscles
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal disc or cord damage
Even if you are unaware of a pre-existing condition before an automobile accident, discovering a condition afterwards will not entitle you to compensation. You may only recover damages if the evidence shows that the accident significantly worsened the pre-existing condition.
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Recovering Compensation for Pre-Existing Conditions After a Vehicle Collision
Determining if you can collect financial compensation for pre-existing conditions following a car accident depends upon the unique circumstances of your accident.
First, you must show with evidence that the accident was caused or contributed to by the fault of another. Second, you must show that the accident itself significantly worsened your condition and impacted your ability to perform day to day activities.
Keep in mind that the negligent party will try to use your health against you to avoid paying damages.Therefore, it’s best to pursue the compensation with the help of a qualified car accident lawyer.
The Eggshell Doctrine
Many states, including New York, adhere to the “eggshell doctrine” regarding pre-existing conditions and vehicle collisions.
The eggshell doctrine prevents a defendant from using a plaintiff’s susceptibility to injuries as an excuse for a lower settlement. Therefore, plaintiffs are still able to pursue recovery for all medical damages resulting from an accident, not just those which an average or non-susceptible person would experience.
For example, imagine you suffer from brittle bone disease, which causes fractures to occur following even minor trauma. If after being rear-ended by another motorist you suffer a fracture of your back, a negligent party is still responsible under the eggshell doctrine for your fracture even if an average person would not have suffered such an injury.
How Much Compensation Can I Get if a Crash Aggravated My Pre-Existing Condition?
Valuing your car accident injury claim when you have pre-existing conditions is complex and is based upon the unique facts and circumstances of your case. You can only sue the at-fault driver for damages incurred since the accident, so you cannot claim compensation for any injuries that pre-date your accident.
If a car accident intensified your pre-existing conditions, you may be able to collect compensatory damages for those damages caused or worsened by the accident including:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills and ongoing expenses (beyond routine treatment for your pre-existing conditions)
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death (if the accident was fatal)
An experienced lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine the full value of your damages. In most instances, your testimony, medical records, bills, employment records and expert evaluations will be used to evaluate the full nature of your physical, emotional and financial damages.
With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can feel confident that you will receive fair and reasonable compensation for all damages incurred by your pre-existing conditions.
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Should I Hire a Car Accident Law Firm to Seek Compensation for My Pre-Existing Conditions?
You may be eligible to receive personal injury compensation for pre-existing conditions after a traffic accident. But that does not mean you will automatically receive them.
To ensure that you receive a fair settlement, team up with a car accident attorney. An auto accident lawyer takes action to build a strong case and prove how your accident made your pre-existing conditions worse.
They collect evidence to support your claim, such as medical statements from professionals who treated your injuries after the crash. They can also use medical records from before and after the collision to demonstrate how the accident complicated your pre-existing conditions.
Obtaining a Fair Settlement For a Pre-Existing Condition is Challenging
Collecting fair and reasonable compensation for a car accident from the at-fault party’s representatives is always an uphill battle. But it is especially difficult for people with pre-existing conditions.
Insurance adjusters will try to deflect blame for your injuries and claim that they pre-date the crash. In doing so, they can reduce or deny your compensation altogether. In addition, the opposing side will review your medical records to prove that your injuries existed before the crash, giving them an excuse to contest your claim.
But when you have a qualified injury attorney fighting for you, you may be able to show with evidence how the accident significantly worsened your condition.
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Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Vehicle Accident Injuries
Even if you are not sure whether you have a strong claim, contact the experienced New York personal injury lawyers at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates to discuss your case. We offer a free consultation.
The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin to protect your rights to certain benefits and to a financial recovery. But don’t delay since there are deadlines that limit your rights. If you fail to bring your claim by the deadline, you may be forever prevented from recovering the compensation you deserve.
If we agree to accept your case, you will not be required to pay us any money upfront. We only earn a legal fee when you recover compensation. Our lawyers are ready to help.