It is easy to assume that before an accident, the victim had perfect health, but that’s not always the case. The majority of people in all age groups deal with all sorts of health conditions at different intervals of their lives. These pre-existing conditions might be major or minor and might have an impact on a personal injury case. Even though you will not be able to claim any compensation for injuries or conditions sustained before the accident, you might be eligible for compensation if the accident made them worse.
Exacerbation of Pre-Existing Conditions
To be fair, the victim in an accident cannot claim any compensation for injuries or conditions that were not affected by the accident. However, if any health conditions or injuries were made worse by the accident, the victim can claim further damages. Furthermore, this is not only limited to physical injuries, the victim may also claim any mental health conditions that were aggravated by the accident, such as anxiety or depression.
However, assessing an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition is a complicated matter in any court of law, and you need a good personal injury lawyer who can fully use their knowledge of the law to prove your case for additional compensation.
How Pre-Existing Issues Can Hurt Your Claim
Even though you might be able to claim compensation for a worsening medical condition, the first thing that an insurance company will try to accomplish is linking your pre-existing injury or condition to the cause of the accident. The basic reason they do this is to outright deny your claim or minimize the damages sustained. What you should always remember is that insurance companies always seek to increase their profits by evading any liability or responsibility. Which is why you should never try to hide any health condition that you already had before the incident from your own lawyer, even if you believe it was not impacted by the accident itself.
Come Clean About Your Medical History
If you had any pre-existing medical condition, it is best that you put your entire medical bill before your attorney. Chances are that he will assess whether you have any claim for a worsening condition and how to unlink the condition to the cause of the accident in a rebuttal to the insurance companies’ claim. Furthermore, even in court, it will be much easier to establish that your medical condition was aggravated if you show them the prescription and bills beforehand.
As one of the conditions of bringing a claim in the legal system is to come to court “with clean hands.” A patient receiving regular treatment will have a much easier time of producing evidence based on their medical history compared to someone who hasn’t had an appointment with their doctors in years. In turn, the medical history will easily reveal if the injury or condition was worsened as a result of the accident. It is therefore suggested that you hide nothing when you reveal your medical history to your attorney, especially if you make a claim for personal injury.
The Eggshell Skull Rule
An important concept in the field of law which most laymen have no knowledge about is the “eggshell skull rule,” which means that you have to take your victim as you found him or her. This rule applies to all personal injury claims and is more or less a universal rule. The rule clearly states that even if the defendant had no prior knowledge about the victim’s special pre-existing medical condition, he is still liable for all compensation and damages that are a result of his own negligent actions towards the victim.
Therefore, even if you are afraid that a pre-existing medical condition might hamper your chances of a successful personal injury claim, it is best that you reveal your pre-existing health condition to your attorney.