When you have aggravated a pre-existing injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to the compensation you deserve. Still, there are a lot of responsibility details and insurance workarounds to comprehend in order to have a successful personal injury claim when a pre-existing injury is involved.
In most cases, insurance adjusters will be managing settlement claims that were caused by an at-fault party in a car accident, and adjusters will do everything they can to pay you as little as possible. Adjusters would probably claim that the injuries you sustained in the vehicle accident were not truly caused by the at-fault party. Medical reports, tests, and doctor’s notes will typically combat this and allow for injury victims to seek the compensation they are owed.
Establishing an Injury Claim Due to Negligence
Unless an injured victim is submitting a no-fault injury claim under their own policy, all insurance companies will refuse to accept a personal injury claim without legitimate proof of their client’s responsibility. So, in order to establish culpability, injury victims will almost always have to prove the other party was negligent, which entails establishing the following:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of that duty
This is a crucial part of pre-existing injuries, and it simply implies that a victim and their attorney have done their homework in terms of proving the injuries through medical documents and invoices. When it comes to pre-existing injuries, comparing medical information is crucial for bolstering your case. Proving culpability in cases involving pre-existing injuries will always necessitate the production of credible evidence—like photographs, receipts, bills, expert testimony, medical records, and police reports.
Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident with Pre-Existing Injuries
After sustaining injuries in an accident, one should always seek medical assistance as soon as possible following the collision, especially if first responders do not take them to the hospital. Victims will need to provide as much information as possible to the medical professionals about the circumstances of the injuries, including a clear declaration as to when their pre-existing symptoms and when the overall pain began in accordance with the current injuries.
It is critical that the injured party help establish the facts that they were not experiencing their current symptoms prior to the car accident, and the more they can separate the current symptoms from pre-existing conditions, the better. This could entail seeing the doctor(s) who treated the past injuries and acquiring records confirming the efficacy of previous therapy, as well as the date of treatment. If treatment for past injuries has ceased, it is important to have that information readily available when seeking medical attention for the new or aggravated injuries.
If treatment is still ongoing for a pre-existing issue, it will be harder but not impossible to seek compensation for those injuries. However, the medical bills and records will need to be clear and separate how the injury was worsened and the expenses incurred for the aggravation of an old injury.
Work Auto Accidents and Pre-Existing Injury on Workers’ Compensation Claim
If a person has been injured previously injured at work and it gets worse on the job, they should talk to an attorney about making a workers’ compensation claim. A claim will be denied unless the injury victim can establish that a work-related event or accident aggravated the pre-existing injury.
The victim’s employer’s insurance company will look into the claim, especially if the victim had a previous injury, to see if their actions at work aggravated the ailment or if it was caused off the clock. Having a pre-existing condition complicates determining whether the employee’s symptoms that restrict him or her from working are caused by the work-related injury or by the pre-existing injury. This becomes considerably more difficult when the pre-existing ailment and the work-related injury are similar or affect the same body part.
This does not make a case impossible, but will require the work of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. An experienced attorney can help you file a new claim, assist with a denied claim, and possibly reopen a claim or file a claim for an old injury.
Egg-Shell Plaintiff Doctrine
Victims may have a condition that renders them particularly prone to subsequent injury, or they may have an injury that is easily aggravated in some instances. In these situations, a victim could be concerned that the defendant cannot be held liable. However, due to a common legal doctrine, this is not the case.
The “eggshell plaintiff” doctrine states that defendants must accept plaintiffs as they are, with all of their specific circumstances. This means that if the plaintiff has a record or has made people aware of their injuries, they are considered in a more fragile class. Therefore, they can seek damages if injured, even though a regular person may not have sustained the same type of injury from the same accident.
Even if the defendant was unaware that the plaintiff had a weak back or that the pre-existing injury contributed to the plaintiff’s current injuries, the defendant is nevertheless liable for all injuries sustained as a result of the accident under this concept. The defendant is not immune from culpability just because the plaintiff has a previous condition that makes them more vulnerable.
This theory provides important protection for persons with preexisting conditions, and it should help every plaintiff understand that their medical condition should never prevent them from getting medical attention.
Contact the Automobile Accident Attorneys at Allen Berger & Associates
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident with a pre-existing injury, contact Allan Berger & Associates today to discuss your case. Our personal injury attorneys and workers’ compensation attorneys can help recover damages for a pre-existing injury.
Allan Berger & Associates’ attorneys and staff always offer a free consultation of your claim, and we do not collect any legal fees until we secure compensation for your claim. Please complete our online form and we will contact you as soon as possible. Please call us at (504) 618-1597 if you need to talk with an attorney immediately.