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Preexisting Injuries: An Eggshell’s Guide

by | Sep 26, 2023 | Legal Info

When diving into the complex waters of auto accident claims, a pre-existing condition can sometimes feel like an anchor weighing you down. But here’s the deal: while it might add a layer of complexity, it doesn’t mean you’re set adrift without a paddle.

What exactly is a pre-existing condition?

From lingering injuries such as a herniated disc you’ve had since college, to ongoing ailments like arthritis, any prior health issues could be labeled as a pre-existing condition. In California, insurance companies closely scrutinize these conditions when assessing personal injury claims. They do this to determine whether the claimed injuries are genuinely a result of the recent accident or incident, or if they stem from these pre-existing conditions. This differentiation helps them decide on the compensation amount or even challenge the claim’s validity.

The Insurance Deep Dive: Digging, but Not Too Deep

It’s an insurance company’s hobby to sift through your medical past, hoping to pin your injuries on pre-existing conditions and thus reduce their payout. But here’s the kicker: they’re only entitled to scout out past injuries related to the body parts you claim were injured in the recent accident. If you’re hollering about a back injury, they have no business snooping into that wrist sprain you had five years ago. Your right to privacy ensures they stay in their lane.

Leveraging Pre-Existing Conditions: The Power of the “Eggshell Plaintiff” Doctrine

Here’s where pre-existing conditions can be turned to your advantage. Imagine you have osteoporosis, leading to more fragile bones. If someone’s negligence results in a fracture, they can’t deflect blame by stating, “Well, your bones were already brittle!” This is exemplified by the “eggshell plaintiff” or “take-your-victim-as-you-find-him” rule. This doctrine asserts that a defendant can’t reduce their liability just because the victim was more susceptible to injury due to a pre-existing condition. In essence, your pre-existing condition can be used as a sword in your favor, highlighting the defendant’s full responsibility regardless of your prior health status.

Connecting the Dots Between the Accident and Aggravation

Having a pre-existing condition and proving that an accident made it worse are two different ball games. The MVPs here are your medical records, particularly treatments and status updates right before the accident. Sprinkle in some expert testimonies from your healthcare providers, and you’ve got a strong case pointing out the connection between the accident and the amplified condition.

Guarding Your Rights with Knowledge and Wit

Full disclosure is your best strategy. If you’ve got a pre-existing condition, own it. But remember, just because you’re upfront doesn’t mean the entire book of your medical history is open for all to read. An adept personal injury attorney will ensure the spotlight only shines on the chapters that matter.

In Conclusion

Pre-existing conditions might introduce some plot twists in your auto accident claim narrative. But with the right knowledge, a dash of wit, and a seasoned attorney by your side, you’ll be penning a success story in no time.

Remember that the information shared above lays a groundwork, but the ultimate outcome depends on the distinct details of your situation. We welcome you to take advantage of our free consultation, where we can align your specific circumstances with California’s personal injury laws.

Disclaimer: The information here is general information that should not be taken as legal advice. It cannot be guaranteed to be accurate, current, or complete. No attorney-client relationship is established between you and our law firm by reading this article. This article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a lawyer about the specific facts of your case.