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What if the Accident Aggravated a Pre-Existing Condition?

Unfortunately, accidents happen when we least expect them and can have serious consequences. One such consequence is the aggravation of pre-existing conditions. If you already have a medical condition before an accident occurs, the impact of the accident can worsen your condition, leading to added pain, suffering, and medical expenses. In these situations, always understand your legal rights and seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney to guide you as you navigate the complex legal issues that may arise.

Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-Existing ConditionA pre-existing condition is a health condition or injury before an accident or incident. These conditions can vary widely, ranging from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease, to previous injuries, such as a back injury or a prior surgery. When someone with a pre-existing condition is involved in an accident, it raises questions about whether the accident aggravated their existing condition and if they are eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim.

For a personal injury claim to be successful, you must establish that the accident directly caused the aggravation or worsening of the pre-existing condition. This can be challenging as insurance companies often try to argue that the injuries sustained in the accident are solely a result of the pre-existing condition and not the accident itself. Therefore, you should gather appropriate evidence and seek legal representation to prove the connection between the accident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition.

The Impact of an Accident on a Pre-Existing Condition

When an accident occurs, it can exacerbate a pre-existing condition in several ways. The force of impact, sudden movements, or even a minor accident can cause further damage or complications to your existing health condition. The severity of the aggravation will depend on various factors, such as the type of accident, the nature of your pre-existing condition, and the medical attention you receive after the accident.

For example, let’s say you already had a back injury before a car accident. The accident might cause additional strain on your back, leading to increased pain and mobility issues. Similarly, suppose you had a previous knee surgery and are involved in a slip-and-fall accident. In that case, the fall might cause further damage to your knee joint, requiring additional medical treatment.

Determining Liability for Aggravated Pre-Existing Conditions

Determining liability for aggravated pre-existing conditions can be a complex legal process. Insurance companies often argue that the injuries or complications you experienced were solely due to your pre-existing condition and not related to the accident. That’s where the skills of a personal injury attorney become invaluable.

An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate your case and gather evidence to establish a connection between the accident and the aggravation of your pre-existing condition. This evidence may include medical records, professional statements, witness testimonies, and professional opinions. They will fight for your rights and seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages you have incurred.

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Now that we’ve established the potential impact of an accident on a pre-existing condition and the possible legal issues that may arise, let’s discuss why you should always hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case.

Knowledge and Experience

Personal injury attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the legal system and personal injury laws. They focus on handling cases like yours and understand the complexities of proving liability and obtaining fair compensation. With their knowledge and experience, they can navigate the intricate legal landscape and advocate for your rights.

Case Evaluation

A personal injury attorney will evaluate your case to determine the strength of your claim. They will assess the evidence, review your medical records, and consult with medical professionals to understand the accident’s impact on your pre-existing condition. This evaluation will provide you with a clear understanding of your legal options and the potential outcome of your case.

Negotiation Skills

Insurance companies are notorious for trying to settle claims for as little as possible. Personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators who can effectively communicate with insurance adjusters on your behalf. They will fight to maximize your compensation and ensure that you receive a fair settlement considering the aggravation of your pre-existing condition.

Trial Representation

In some cases, negotiations alone may not be possible to reach a fair settlement. Having a personal injury attorney by your side is crucial if your case goes to trial. They will present your case in court, cross-examine witnesses, and argue for your rights. With their trial experience, they will strive to secure a favorable verdict that considers the impact of the accident on your pre-existing condition.

Peace of Mind

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident and aggravation of a pre-existing condition can be overwhelming. Hiring a personal injury attorney will provide peace of mind, knowing that a dedicated legal professional is handling your case. They will cover the legal complexities, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.

Proving the Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition

Proving that an accident aggravated a pre-existing condition requires considering certain factors. The first step is to establish the existence of the pre-existing condition itself. Obtaining medical records, doctor’s reports, or any relevant documentation that proves the condition was present before the accident can establish this.

Next, you will need to gather evidence that shows a clear link between the accident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. This can include medical reports, diagnostic tests, and professional opinions. These documents should clearly outline how the accident directly caused or worsened the pre-existing condition, whether through impact, trauma, or worsening of symptoms.

Additionally, witness statements and any available surveillance footage or accident reports can help corroborate the claim that the accident caused the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. These pieces of evidence can provide a comprehensive picture of the events leading up to the accident and support the argument that the accident indeed played a significant role in worsening the pre-existing condition.

The Impact of a Pre-Existing Condition on Damages

Aggravating a pre-existing condition in an accident can impact the calculation of damages in a personal injury claim. Personal injury cases aim to compensate the injured party for their losses, encompassing medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and future medical care.

In cases involving a pre-existing condition, distinguishing between the damages directly caused by the accident and those that existed before the incident is crucial. This is where the representation of an attorney becomes invaluable. They can assess the medical records and other evidence to determine how the accident worsened the pre-existing condition and calculate the appropriate damages for the aggravated condition.

Accurately assessing the impact of the pre-existing condition on the damages is crucial to ensure fair compensation for the injured party. Failing to do so may result in insurance companies disputing the claim or significantly reducing the compensation awarded.

Insurance Company Tactics for Disputing Aggravation Claims

Insurance companies often employ various tactics to dispute claims involving aggravation of pre-existing conditions. These tactics aim to minimize their liability and avoid paying out full compensation to the injured party. Some common strategies used by insurance companies include:

  • Denying the existence of the pre-existing condition: Insurance companies may argue that the pre-existing condition did not exist or was not related to the accident in any way. They may try to downplay or dismiss the condition’s significance to avoid accepting responsibility.
  • Blaming the pre-existing condition for the injuries: Insurance companies may assert that the injuries sustained in the accident are solely a result of the pre-existing condition and not the accident itself. They may argue that the injured party’s symptoms or injuries might have occurred regardless of the accident.
  • Challenging the causation link: Insurance companies may question the causation link between the accident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. They may argue that the injuries or worsening of the condition were not directly caused by the accident but by other factors.
  • Seeking independent medical evaluations: Insurance companies may request an independent medical evaluation to dispute the connection between the accident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. Insurance companies often conduct these evaluations using doctors or medical professionals they hire, who may be biased toward minimizing the claim.

Successfully Defending Against Insurance Company Disputes

When faced with insurance company disputes regarding the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, you can take specific steps to strengthen your claim:

  • Seek immediate medical attention: Be sure to seek medical attention promptly after an accident, even if you have a pre-existing condition. This establishes a clear timeline for when the injuries occurred and can help substantiate the claim that the accident worsened the pre-existing condition.
  • Maintain updated medical records: Keep all medical records, doctor’s reports, and diagnostic tests related to the pre-existing condition and the injuries sustained in the accident. These records can serve as crucial evidence to support your claim and prove the aggravation of the pre-existing condition.
  • Consult with a personal injury attorney: Consult with a personal injury attorney with experience handling cases involving pre-existing conditions. An attorney can assess the strength of your claim, gather the necessary evidence, and develop a solid legal strategy to counter the insurance company’s disputes.
  • Engage expert witnesses: In cases involving the aggravation of pre-existing conditions, expert witnesses, such as medical professionals, can provide valuable opinions and testimony. Their experience can help establish the connection between the accident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition and refute any arguments made by the insurance company.

The Eggshell Skull Doctrine

Eggshell Skull DoctrineThe Eggshell Skull Doctrine, also known as the “take your victim as you find them” rule, is a legal principle with significant implications in personal injury cases. Under this doctrine, the responsible party bears liability for the entire extent of the harm caused to the victim, irrespective of any pre-existing condition that may have made the victim more susceptible to injury.

Imagine this scenario: You were involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Before the accident, you had a pre-existing condition, let’s say, a back injury. The impact worsens your back injury, leading to intense pain and additional complications. The Eggshell Skull Doctrine holds the responsible party accountable for exacerbating your pre-existing condition, even if an average person without such a condition might not have suffered the same harm.

The principle is rooted in the idea that we should accept individuals as they are without scrutinizing their health before an accident. It acknowledges that everyone has a unique physical and mental makeup, and one person’s pre-existing condition should not diminish the responsibility of a wrongful actor.

However, the responsible party is not liable for creating the pre-existing condition. Instead, they are responsible for the additional harm caused by the accident. This means that if the negligent party’s actions caused your pre-existing condition to worsen or manifest in a way it hadn’t before, they can be held accountable for those damages.

If you encounter a situation where an accident has worsened a pre-existing condition, take immediate action to protect your rights and seek legal advice. In that case, it’s in your best interest to seek the guidance of a skilled personal injury attorney. They will have experience navigating the complexities of the Eggshell Skull Doctrine and can fight for the compensation you deserve.

Remember, the law is on your side, and the responsible party should be held accountable for the full extent of the harm caused. Don’t let the existence of a pre-existing condition deter you from seeking justice. With a qualified attorney’s help, you can confidently navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.

The Importance of Seeking Legal Help for Pre-Existing Condition Cases

Navigating the complexities of personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions can be challenging without the guidance of a legal professional. Seeking legal help is essential to protect your rights, and you have the best chance of obtaining fair compensation.

Experienced personal injury attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the law, understand the tactics used by insurance companies, and can build a compelling case to prove the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. They can help gather the necessary evidence, consult with medical professionals, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

By seeking legal representation, you can focus on your recovery and leave the legal complexities to the professionals fighting for your rights and fair compensation.

Remember, if you have a pre-existing condition aggravated by an accident, consult a personal injury attorney who handles such cases. They can navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you deserve.

Lauren Varner, Personal Injury Attorney

Lauren is a Personal Injury Attorney. She is Colorado native who became involved with the field of personal injury long before she became an attorney. Lauren’s professional philosophy centers around good old fashioned hard work, producing quality work product, and treating others professionally, with dignity and respect at all times.

Awards and as featured on

National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Included in TOP 40 Under 40 by The National TRIAL Lawyers in Centennial CO Varner Faddis Top Lawyers Denver Badge – 5280 Magazine American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorney Top 40 Under 40 5280 Denver Top Lawyers