While pre-existing conditions have an impact on personal injury cases, they do not outright bar accident victims from seeking compensation. A pre-existing condition can complicate the case, and an insurer may try to argue that their injuries were not a direct result of the accident. This is where compelling evidence becomes crucial.
A personal injury lawyer can help you prove an accident worsened your pre-existing condition and seek compensation from a liable party. They must also gather evidence of this party’s negligence. A lawyer can explain the legal implications of your specific pre-existing condition and guide you through the legal process.
Negligence and Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Cases
Typically, personal injury cases hinge on a victim’s ability to connect another party’s negligence to their accident-related injuries. For example, after another driver runs a red light and hits a motorist who had the right of way, they would be liable for the medical expenses of the victim’s broken arm.
When pre-existing conditions come into play, however, causation in personal injury cases takes center stage. The negligent party in an accident is not responsible for a victim’s previous injuries or conditions. This puts the onus on the victim to prove the accident caused new injuries or worsened their pre-existing condition.
Pre-existing conditions that may have an impact on a personal injury case include:
- Chronic conditions, such as arthritis and chronic widespread pain
- Previous injuries, such as a fracture or a herniated disc
- A mental health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A lawyer can help you understand personal injury law in California and how pre-existing conditions affect it.
The Impact of the Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine on Personal Injury Cases
One legal advantage accident victims have is the Eggshell Plaintiff doctrine. This legal principle offers some protection to accident victims with pre-existing conditions who seek compensation. It states that even though a person with a pre-existing health condition may be more susceptible to injury, they can still seek compensation if another party’s negligence worsens their condition.
Even with this legal doctrine, proving the direct connection between an accident and the subsequent injuries can be difficult. This is why medical history matters in legal cases.
The Importance of Seeking Medical Care After an Accident
If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you should seek medical treatment immediately. This is especially true if you suspect that a pre-existing condition will complicate your personal injury case.
Your personal injury attorney will work closely with your doctor and other medical professionals to document how the accident affected your condition and overall health. It’s important to be honest with your doctor about any pre-existing conditions after an accident, too. You should also follow through with their prescribed treatment plan. All your medical records will play an important role in seeking financial recovery.
An insurance adjuster may look for any evidence to attribute your pain or declining health to a previous injury or condition. By being upfront with your lawyer and doctor and following through with your recovery plan, you can protect your personal injury case.
California’s Contributory Negligence Law and Pre-existing Conditions
California follows a pure comparative negligence law, meaning you can seek compensation from a liable party, but your percentage of fault will reduce your awards. For example, if you are 25% at fault for a car accident, a court will reduce your potential compensation by that percentage.
Shifting blame for an accident onto you is another way that an insurer can try to undervalue or deny your personal injury claim. A lawyer can present their evidence to counter an adjuster’s determination of fault.
Potential Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
Your pre-existing injury or medical condition does not have to stop you from seeking fair compensation for accident-related losses. A lawyer can assess your damages to ensure you seek what you deserve. Potential awards may cover:
- Current and ongoing medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
A settlement or verdict can go a long way to help you access the medical care you need and meet your maximum medical recovery. A lawyer can gather your medical records and wage statements to seek both economic and non-economic damages.
KJT Law Group Can Explain More About the Impact of Pre-existing Conditions on Personal Injury Cases
You shouldn’t have to hassle with legal research after suffering injuries in an accident. You don’t have to. You have the right to hire a personal injury law firm to handle your case while you rest. They can work with your doctors and consult other medical experts to support your personal injury case.
Call KJT Law Group for a free consultation today. We can explain how your pre-existing condition could affect your case. Act quickly, as CCP § 335.1 generally limits your time to file a lawsuit to two years. Call us today at (818) 507-8525 to explore your legal representation options.