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Do Preexisting Medical Conditions Affect a Personal Injury Claim?

Landry Law, P.C. Feb. 21, 2022

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you know how difficult it can be to take care of your medical needs while also figuring out how you’ll pay for (or be compensated for) your expenses. What can compound this stress is wondering how a preexisting condition will affect not only your physical health but also the status of your claim. Seeking compensation through an insurance settlement or mounting a successful personal injury claim can be an uphill battle, which is why retaining an experienced attorney can make all the difference.

At Landry Law, P.C., we’ve been helping clients for over 22 years with their personal injury cases. We have offices in Lone Tree and Trinidad, Colorado, but also serve those throughout the neighboring areas of Denver, Douglas County, Castle Pines, and Castle Rock. Call us today to set up an appointment.

What Are Preexisting Medical Conditions?

In many personal injury cases, the issue of preexisting conditions may come up. It’s important to understand what this means in a legal context. A preexisting medical condition is any illness or injury that you had prior to your accident that may have contributed to your new injuries being worse or made you more vulnerable to receiving new injuries.

For example, if you’ve endured neck and back pain off and on for your whole life and then were in a car accident where you suffered from whiplash, your preexisting conditions will likely exacerbate the injuries you experienced from the accident.

However, not every medical condition you’ve experienced in your life counts as a preexisting condition. If you suffered a one-time injury that has since healed and caused no further aggravation, this will likely not affect your current injuries and shouldn’t be considered in a lawsuit.

How Do They Affect a Personal Injury Claim?

In some cases, a preexisting condition can affect how much of a settlement you’re able to obtain after an accident, but only in rare cases will it preclude you altogether from receiving compensation. In most accidents, the at-fault party will still be responsible for any injuries that occurred because of their negligence, even if you had a condition that made you more inclined to get the injury.

If you’re filing a lawsuit against someone who caused an accident, it’s extremely important that you disclose any preexisting conditions that may affect your current injuries. Along with your personal injury attorney and your medical providers, you can then work to present your case with all the facts laid out.

“Eggshell Plaintiff”

Another important concept to be aware of in these cases is the colorfully named “eggshell plaintiff” or “eggshell skull rule.” This states that the existing fragility of the victim should not come into play when considering the crimes or negligence committed by the defendant. As the name implies, even if an injury victim with an eggshell-thin skull made them more susceptible to serious injury after a crash, they would still be entitled to compensation by the at-fault party. This law helps protect those with preexisting conditions and ensures their rights are protected.

Let Landry Law, P.C. Help

While a preexisting condition will have to be addressed in any personal injury lawsuit you file, it’s almost never an indication that you’ll lose your case. And, with an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, you can be sure that you’re presenting the best case possible. If you’re in or around Lone Tree or Trinidad, Colorado, or the neighboring areas, and would like to consult with an attorney about a potential personal injury lawsuit, give us a call today at Landry Law, P.C. to get started.