Unless you are very young or very lucky, there is a good chance you have some sort of pre-existing medical condition. Most people have sustained an injury or incurred an illness at some point in their lives, and most people tend not to think twice about an injury after they have recovered. However, pre-existing conditions can lead to complications when it comes to current personal injury claims. Here, we want to discuss how a pre-existing injury can affect an individual if they sustain a new injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of someone else.
How Does a Pre-Existing Injury Create Problems for a Personal Injury Claim?
One of the most important things that you need to understand about an injury case is that the insurance carrier or at-fault party is going to do anything they can to limit how much money they payout. When an insurance carrier knows that they will likely have to pay compensation, usually because their policyholder was at fault for the incident, and they will do anything they can to try and lower the amount they have to pay or even make an attempt to deny the claim.
When the insurance carriers are investigating these incidents, they will work diligently to look into a claimant’s past to see if they have any pre-existing injuries or conditions that could explain the symptoms they are experiencing now. In other words, they want to try to shift the blame away from the current incident and say that the pain is caused by something in the claimant’s past.
Pre-existing injuries are any type of illness or injury a person has sustained previously that could be aggravated by the current accident or explain the symptoms the person is experiencing. There are various types of pre-existing injuries a person can suffer from, including the following:
- Prior back injuries
- Ongoing or previous joint conditions
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Ongoing respiratory illnesses
- …and more
If an individual has sustained an injury or illness in the past or has an ongoing chronic condition, there is a decent chance that these previous injuries could be aggravated by an accident that occurs at a later date. For example, if a person sustained a severe back injury in a workplace incident five years ago, this type of injury could be aggravated by a car accident, workplace accident, defective product incident, etc.
No, a Pre-Existing Injury Should Not Keep You From Recovering Compensation
Even though at-fault parties or insurance carriers will try very hard they use a claimant’s pre-existing injury or illness against them, the reality is that a pre-existing condition will not absolve the at-fault party of their responsibility in the case. The existence of a pre-existing condition does not mean that an at-fault party will not have to pay compensation to an injury victim.
If the existence of a pre-existing condition means that a person is not able to recover compensation for an injury caused by another person’s negligence, then just about any injury a person sustains would be invalidated if they ever were harmed in the past. That is not how personal injury law works.
If a person sustains a workplace in the injury and then recovers, but then injured that same knee in a vehicle accident caused by another driver three years later, will they be able to recover compensation for the new injury?
The answer is “yes,” they absolutely should be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Regardless of whether or not the current pain and suffering experienced by the victim is an aggravation of the existing knee injury or a new injury altogether, the at-fault party caused the incident and should have to pay compensation to the victim.
If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of someone else, you need to work with a skilled personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation. An attorney can fully investigate the incident, and they will deal with any objections from the at-fault party based on pre-existing injuries.