How Can Pre-Existing Conditions Complicate an Injury Claim?

After sustaining an injury caused by the negligence of another party, recovering compensation could be challenging if you have a pre-existing condition. However, the reality is that a pre-existing condition should not prevent a person from securing the compensation needed from an at-fault party. Here, we want to discuss why pre-existing conditions become such an issue after an injury occurs and the steps injury victims can take to help recover the compensation they need. After suffering harm, you should always speak to a personal injury lawyer in Portland to discuss your legal options in detail.

Why Pre-Existing Conditions Become a Problem for an Injury Claim

Pre-existing conditions can become a problem for recovering compensation because insurance carriers and at-fault parties may point to them and say that the pre-existing condition is the cause of any pain the person is experiencing and not the injury incident at hand. 

For example, let us suppose that a person sustains a back injury as a result of a rear-end collision caused by a negligent driver. The insurance carrier or legal team for the at-fault driver may work to obtain the injury victim’s previous medical history. Let us also suppose that they find information about a back injury that the individual sustained a few years before as a result of an on-the-job incident.

The insurance carrier or legal team could attempt to say that any pain and suffering the plaintiff is currently experiencing has to do with that previous injury and not the rear-end collision.

Pre-Existing Conditions Should Not Matter for Current Claims

The good news is that individuals who have pre-existing conditions should be able to recover compensation for any new injuries that occur, even injuries that happen to the same area that was already injured before. Even if a new incident exasperates a previous injury, the injury victim should still be able to recover compensation based on the new incident.

Could you imagine a world where individuals were prohibited from recovering compensation if they had a pre-existing injury? This would essentially keep individuals from recovering much compensation at all. It is ridiculous to suggest that individuals who sustain an injury to an area they’ve injured before will be unable to recover compensation if another person’s negligence led to the incident. 

In law, there is a doctrine known as the Eggshell Skull Rule. This doctrine is brought up when the other party attempts to blame the extent of the injuries on pre-existing conditions. This doctrine essentially states that the defendant will be responsible for damages caused, even if a personal injury victim had a pre-existing condition that made them more likely to sustain a serious injury. In other words, the individual would not have suffered the current injury or exasperation of a pre-existing injury if not for the negligence of the defendant, so they deserve compensation.

How You Can Push Back

We strongly encourage any individual harmed due to the negligence of another to work with a skilled attorney. A personal injury lawyer can push back against the tactics insurance carriers and at-fault party legal teams use, including the argument that the plaintiff had pre-existing injuries. An attorney will fully investigate the claim and be ready to take the case to trial if necessary.