Can pre-existing medical conditions affect a crash settlement? When you suffer an accident and accident-related injuries in Augusta, GA, a good Augusta car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover damages. However, the process of recovering compensatory damages is straightforward in some cases and quite complicated in others.
Insurance companies try their best to somehow minimize your claims by hook or crook. One of the things that can affect your crash claim is a pre-existing medical condition. If you had an injury or illness before the crash, the insurance company may use this as an excuse to try and reduce your compensatory damages.
What Are Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
Any ailment or injury before an accident that could further flare-up after the accident is called a pre-existing medical condition. Such an ailment or injury may include:
- Lower back strains which could be further aggravated due to a crash
- Healed broken bones
- Arthritis, weakened joints and bones
- Degenerative disc disease
- Shoulder and knee injuries
- Brain injuries
Should You Disclose Pre-existing Medical Conditions?
If a pre-existing medical condition exists, the at-fault party usually tries to use it to counter your claim for damages. However, Georgia laws mandate that the at-fault party is responsible for any injuries to a victim whether or not the victim was carrying a pre-existing medical condition. So if you are involved in an accident and suffer injuries, you don’t need to hide your pre-existing medical conditions.
Some crash victims make the mistake of not disclosing their pre-accident medical conditions to the insurance company. This only worsens their case and weakens their chance at full and fair compensation.
In order to stay on the right side of the law and avoid any undue objections about your claim, it is necessary to disclose your pre-existing injuries or ailments.
Can Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Affect Your Claim?
Pre-existing conditions can’t be used as an excuse to reject your claim for damages. Even if you had pre-existing conditions and a car crash made these worse, you are still entitled to damages. When pre-existing injuries or ailments are involved in a car crash claim, the Eggshell Doctrine is typically used to see if you have a valid claim for damages.
The Eggshell Doctrine
This doctrine mandates that the defendant in a personal injury case must take the plaintiff as-is. In other words, the defendant can’t ask to have pre-existing injuries and illnesses precluded from a damages claim.
The victim of a crash, with pre-existing injuries, is eligible to receive damages under this doctrine if there was no cause to think that pre-existing condition may worsen. In other words, if the victim’s pre-existing condition was stable, the defendant is liable to pay full damages.
The Eggshell Doctrine makes it possible to recover compensation in situations where a pre-existing condition existed and the crash worsened this condition or led to new but related injuries. It effectively prevents the defendant from claiming that your injuries were a result of the pre-existing condition.
Proving Injuries with Pre-Existing Condition
If you suffered injuries in an accident with a pre-existing medical condition, you will need to furnish the relevant medical evidence in order to prove your injuries. You will first be required to clearly show the nature, severity, and stability of all your pre-existing conditions.
This can be done by proving the medical records, prescriptions relating to the pre-existing conditions, and any notes from your treating physician.
Next, you must show how the accident worsened the pre-existing condition. In doing so, the original condition and its worsening following an accident must be clearly demonstrated. This can best be done through the written testimony of a medical expert.
The medical expert or physician must clearly show that your injuries or the worsening of previous symptoms was a result of the crash and not the pre-existing condition itself.
Hiring a Reliable Augusta Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident in Augusta, GA, we can help you. When you are the victim of a car crash and suffer injuries while also having a pre-existing condition, things can become complicated. As noted above, it’s significantly harder to prove your injuries in such a case. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we work with you to simplify the process. We also help you gather the relevant evidence, such as medical records and expert testimony, to support your claim. Reach out to us today for a free consultation with our highly experienced and qualified lawyers.