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What If a Car Accident Aggravated a Pre-Existing Condition?

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In general, accident victims are not allowed to pursue damages for their pre-existing medical conditions or injuries. However, if your car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition, you can seek damages that arise from the worsening of your medical condition. That said, pursuing compensation for an aggravated injury can be complex. Scroll down to learn more about how pre-existing conditions or injuries might affect your settlement.

What If a Car Accident Aggravated a Pre-Existing Condition?

If a car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition, you can expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to try to dispute that your injury was caused by the accident or that it was aggravated. Insurance companies do this to try to avoid paying claims or to minimize how much they might be forced to pay. If your pre-existing condition or injury was worsened because of your collision, however, you might be able to recover compensation for your medical bills.

Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions in Motor Vehicle Collisions

In the context of a motor vehicle collision, a pre-existing condition includes any medical condition you had before the car crash, including chronic illnesses or prior injuries. Insurance companies often try to call as many injuries as possible pre-existing so that they might be able to avoid paying for the medical bills and other losses that result. However, if you do have a pre-existing condition, you should disclose it to your attorney so that it can be disclosed to the insurance company in your claim. If you are dishonest, it can seriously harm your claim. If your existing condition was aggravated and created additional problems in your life, it is still possible to recover compensation.

The insurance company will not be required to compensate you for the treatment you would have received if you had not had your collision; however, it will be responsible for paying for any types of treatment you would not have otherwise needed. For example, if you had a degenerated disc for which you had to take prescription medications before your accident but required surgery because of the collision, the insurance company would not be required to pay the costs of your prescriptions but might have to compensate you for your back surgery and related losses.

Types of Pre-Existing Conditions That Can Be Aggravated in Collisions

Certain types of pre-existing conditions can be aggravated in motor vehicle wrecks. In addition to back injuries as previously noted, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are another common example. If you recently sustained a TBI, you have a higher risk of suffering another TBI that is more severe. Similarly, you might suffer a new bone fracture of a bone that was previously broken, or you might have osteoporosis which makes you more susceptible to fractures.

Understanding the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule

Missouri recognizes a legal principle called the eggshell skull or eggshell plaintiff rule. Under this rule, defendants have to take plaintiffs as they find them. In other words, a defendant will still be liable to pay damages for the severity of the injuries that they cause regardless of the victim’s previous fragility. It also doesn’t matter whether another, less fragile person would not have sustained as extensive of injuries in a similar crash. For example, older people with osteoporosis are much likelier to suffer bone fractures even when other people in the same types of accidents might not. Even though the older adult was more susceptible because of their pre-existing condition, that does not absolve the defendant or their insurance company of liability.

Get Help from the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave

If you have a pre-existing condition that you believe was aggravated by your car crash, it can be more complicated to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. However, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave can review your case and explain whether it has legal merits. To learn more about your potential rights and the legal remedies that might be available to you, contact us today for a free consultation by calling 417-322-2222 or sending us a message online.

Files under: Personal Injury