What Happens If a Personal Injury Accident Aggravates a Pre-Existing Condition?
On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Personal Injury on Tuesday, July 9, 2019
When you incur injuries in an accident, your main concern should be getting better and returning to your daily routines at work and home. Reaching that goal, however, can be difficult if the accident aggravated a pre-existing condition. Aside from the fact that your recovery period may be longer, a pre-existing condition might affect a personal injury claim.
The Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC understand how you feel after a car accident, truck wreck, or other related situation. While you focus on healing, we will sort through your medical history to determine if your wreck aggravated any conditions.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and Personal Injury Claims
When you suffer injuries in an accident, insurance companies start lining up defenses to lessen or eliminate your recovery of damages. Besides issues of which party was at fault, the focus also will be on your injuries and whether they were caused by the negligence of their client.
The insurers will ask you questions about your medical history going back several years before the accident. Any pre-existing conditions that have been documented in your medical records will be analyzed to determine if there’s an argument that the other party wasn’t at fault for your injury.
Because insurance companies will be given this information, it is important to work with one of our Charlotte, NC personal injury attorneys to review your records. By refreshing your memory and making sure your lawyer knows about any pre-existing conditions, you will be in better shape to pursue your claim for damages.
North Carolina personal injury law requires proof that the at-fault party was responsible for your damages because of their negligence. When you have a pre-existing condition, it is essential that you can show how it changed after an accident. For example, if you had a back condition that required monthly treatments, but required surgery after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine
While the at-fault party isn’t responsible for your pre-existing back injury, the aggravation or exacerbation of the harm might be compensable. The reason for this is what’s known as the eggshell plaintiff doctrine. This rule means that the at-fault party takes an accident victim as they find them, including any pre-existing conditions.
Under the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, the at-fault party is liable for any damages that were caused by their negligence, even if the injuries were much worse because of someone’s underlying condition. For example, say that someone was recovering from a concussion when he was in a car accident and suffered a brain injury that was more serious because of the previous concussion. The at-fault party is still responsible for the damages, even though they would have been lesser if the victim had not been recovering from a concussion.
Damages will only be considered if an injury is related to the pre-existing condition and results in the aggravation or exacerbation it. If you fell and hurt your right hand one day, then you hurt your left hand the next day in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, you aren’t entitled to damages for the pre-existing condition to your right hand.
Contact a Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Insurance companies will try to disqualify and undermine your claims for injury compensation by arguing about your pre-existing conditions. That’s why it is vital that you have a personal injury attorney from Randall & Stump, PLLC to fight for the compensation you deserve. The mere presence of such a condition doesn’t automatically defeat your claim. If the accident causes an injury that aggravates your health, you may be entitled to damages.