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Will a Pre-Existing Condition Affect my Personal Injury Claim?

Posted in Car Accidents on July 21, 2021

Suffering from an injury can significantly disrupt the victim’s everyday life. Not only is this stressful, but it can place a huge financial burden on the victim. If another party’s negligent or intentional act caused the accident and your injuries, they are generally responsible for compensating you for the cost of your injuries.

Recovering from your injuries is even more complicated if you suffer from a pre-existing condition. Read on to better understand your right to recover after a personal injury accident and how a pre-existing condition will affect your recovery.

Causes of Personal Injury Accidents

There is no shortage of opportunities to be injured, especially when another party acts negligently. Common causes of personal injury accidents are:

  • Car Accidents: In 2019, there were 727 fatalities and 72.5 thousand injuries from traffic accidents, resulting in a cost of $8.6 billion dollars to Louisiana citizens. Common negligent actions that cause car accidents are speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, and failing to comply with traffic signs or signals.
  • Premise Liability: Property owners owe a duty of care to visitors of their property. While the level of care depends on the status of the visitor, property owners are generally responsible for maintaining reasonably safe premises and notifying visitors of any non-obvious risks. Slip and fall injuries are one of the most common injuries to occur due to property owner negligence.
  • Workplace Injury: Employers are responsible for injuries suffered by employees in the scope of their job duties. A showing of negligence is not required, but the benefits are limited to those available through the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
  • Product Liability: Manufacturers are responsible for producing safe products. If you are injured because of a product malfunction, the manufacturer is responsible. Manufacturing defects can also exacerbate injuries, even if they aren’t the cause of an accident. For example, an airbag that fails to deploy might not cause a car accident, but it could cause the victim to suffer more severe injuries.
  • Medical Malpractice: All medical providers are required to provide the same level of care as a similarly situated professional under the same circumstances. If a medical practitioner does not live up to this standard of care, they have committed malpractice.

Your personal injury attorney will work with you to assess the circumstances of your accident to determine which party is responsible and to compile evidence to support your case.

Affect of a Pre-Existing Condition

The existence of a pre-existing condition is an important consideration as you work with your lawyer to assess the damages you suffered in the accident. The pre-existing condition could be the basis of recovery if it is aggravated, but it could also cause increased scrutiny from insurance providers as they assess your claim.

The Eggshell Doctrine

The eggshell doctrine requires defendants to take the plaintiff as they find them. This means that a defendant cannot argue lack of knowledge about a plaintiff’s pre-existing injury as a basis for avoiding recovery. Additionally, they cannot blame the plaintiff for their own frailty.

Pre-existing conditions that are susceptible to aggravation because of an accident include:

  • Back or neck issues
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Joint issues
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart issues
  • Bone spurs

It is important to disclose your pre-existing condition to all medical providers and any insurance company involved in assessing your claim. Otherwise, you might be accused of trying to recover for an injury that existed prior to the accident. Your lawyer will work with you to determine what detail needs to be disclosed to the insurance company in order to protect your claim.

Watch for Bad Faith

An insurance company might act in bad faith and deny a claim based on a pre-existing injury. The insurance company might also attempt to argue that any pain after an accident was not caused by your accident but instead by your pre-existing injury.

Even with a pre-existing injury, you are entitled to recover for all the damages you suffered as a result of the accident, including:

  • Medical costs for injuries not related to your pre-existing condition
  • Medical costs for aggravation of a pre-existing condition
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional Distress

An experienced personal injury attorney will be critical as you assess your damages and build your case against the negligent party. Your attorney will also make sure that you bring a lawsuit within the one-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. An insurance provider might try to drag out the review of your claim, putting your ability to file a lawsuit in jeopardy. An experienced lawyer will put the necessary pressure on the insurance company and also help you take the steps you need to protect your ability to secure compensation for your injuries.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Working with an attorney lifts the stress of pursuing recovery off your shoulders, especially when you are dealing with the potential complications of a pre-existing condition. Your lawyer will handle:

  • Building a case to demonstrate defendant’s negligence
  • Reviewing medical records for evidence of aggravation of a pre-existing condition
  • Communicating with the defendant and insurance companies including disclosing your pre-existing condition
  • Monitoring for insurance bad faith
  • Preparing a damages demand that considers your pre-existing condition
  • Interviewing witnesses and the defendant
  • Reviewing and advising on settlement offers
  • Drafting and filing court documents

The team at John W. Redmann LLC is experienced in assisting personal injury victims secure the recovery they deserve after an accident. Our team takes the time to understand each client’s unique circumstances and takes the steps necessary to prohibit insurance companies from avoiding paying on valid claims. Insurers have large legal budgets and are able to defend themselves against victims who deserve compensation, and we work to even the score.

If you or a loved one suffers from a pre-existing condition and was injured in an accident in Louisiana, contact the team at John W. Redmann LLC today at (504) 500-5000 or through our website to schedule a free consultation.