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Can Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Affect My Personal Injury Claim?  

September 20, 2022Personal Injury

Many people have experienced at least one previous injury or medical diagnosis by the time they get involved in an accident. Unfortunately, this may impact a victim’s ability to collect financial compensation through a personal injury claim. Insurance companies often try to use pre-existing conditions against claimants to deny or diminish coverage. Here’s how to combat this issue during your case.

Are You Still Eligible for Financial Compensation With a Pre-Existing Condition?

Having a pre-existing condition does not bar you from making a financial recovery after a preventable accident or incident in Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately, it can make your claim more difficult and complicated – especially since insurance companies are always looking for reasons to deny claims and reduce payouts. You may be at a disadvantage during the claims process even if you know that the accident exacerbated your injuries or vice-versa. This is why you need to protect yourself during the claims process.

The Eggshell Skull Rule Protects Those With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

A specific legal doctrine addresses personal injury plaintiffs who have pre-existing medical conditions or injuries at the time of their accidents. It is known as the Eggshell Skull Rule, or the “take the victim as you find him” rule. This rule states that a condition that makes a victim more susceptible than the average person to a serious injury in an accident is not a valid defense against a liability claim.

The example used to explain this doctrine is a man with a unique medical condition where his skull is as thin as an eggshell. If this individual suffers a severe brain injury in an accident because of this medical condition, the defendant will be liable for the full extent of the victim’s injury – even if someone without the pre-existing condition would not have suffered as severe an injury. The defendant must take the injured accident victim as he or she is at the time of the accident, including with pre-existing medical conditions.

How to Handle a Claim Involving Pre-Existing Conditions

An insurance company may search your medical history for any existing condition or injury that could be used against you. Some examples of pre-existing conditions that may affect personal injury claims include old injuries, healed broken bones, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, and muscle or ligament damage. If you had any medical condition on your record prior to a personal injury accident, use these tips to handle the insurance claims process:

  • Do not hide your pre-existing condition or keep it a secret from the insurance company. You are obligated to represent your medical state honestly and accurately to be eligible for benefits.
  • Do not sign a medical authorization release form sent to you by the insurance company. This is often a blanket authorization to access your full medical history rather than only the records that are relevant to your claim.
  • Get help from a personal injury attorney to prove that your current injuries were caused by the accident and were not pre-existing, or that your pre-existing injury or condition was aggravated by the accident.

It is up to you or your attorney to prove that the accident was the proximate cause of your injury. Although this can be difficult with a pre-existing medical condition or injury in your history, you are still eligible for financial compensation. A lawyer can help you submit medical records, medical expert testimony and other evidence to help you prove your case against the defendant(s) despite a pre-existing condition.

Don’t Let a Pre-Existing Condition Discourage You From Filing a Claim

The best way to protect your rights is by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer in Denver. With help from an attorney, you can go up against an insurance company and demand fair financial compensation for the full extent of your losses with a pre-existing medical condition. For more information about how a lawyer can help you, speak to a personal injury attorney in Denver at Dormer Harpring today.