Personal injury claims can be complex legal matters, especially when pre-existing conditions are involved. When accidents occur, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions may wonder how their prior health issues will impact their ability to seek compensation for their injuries. Understanding the legal nuances surrounding these cases is essential for both plaintiffs and defendants involved in such lawsuits.
The Significance of Pre-Existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition refers to a medical condition or injury that an individual had before the accident in question. These conditions can range from chronic illnesses, previous injuries, or any ongoing health issues. Pre-existing medical conditions can have a big impact on personal injury cases since they can cause issues with responsibility, causation, and the level of damages. Experienced personal injury lawyers explained that even if you had a pre-existing condition, it is very possible to prove that the accident made it worse.
Causation and Aggravation
One of the primary concerns in personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions is determining causation. Plaintiffs must establish that the accident in question directly caused the new injuries or exacerbated their pre-existing condition. This burden of proof can be challenging, as it requires evidence linking the accident to the specific injuries claimed.
The Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine
The “eggshell plaintiff” theory in personal injury law applies when the plaintiff has a medical condition that predisposes them to damage more so than the typical person. A defendant is responsible for the entire amount of damages under this approach, even if the injury caused was more severe because of the plaintiff’s pre-existing disease. In essence, the defendant must take the plaintiff as they find them, “eggshell” and all.
In personal injury lawsuits, defendants may make the claim that the plaintiff’s injuries were principally brought on by their pre-existing condition rather than the event. This approach seeks to minimize the defendant’s liability and the compensation owed to the plaintiff. Skillful defense attorneys may attempt to discredit medical evidence or demonstrate that the pre-existing condition is the primary cause of the alleged injuries.
Aggravation vs. New Injury
Distinguishing between injuries caused directly by the accident and those that merely aggravate a pre-existing condition can be a contentious issue in personal injury claims. It requires medical expertise and careful examination of medical records to determine which injuries are genuinely new and which are a result of the pre-existing condition being exacerbated.
Pre-existing conditions can undoubtedly complicate personal injury claims, but they should not deter individuals from seeking rightful compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. While it is true that these cases may require additional evidence and expert testimony, it is essential to remember that individuals with pre-existing conditions still have legal rights to pursue compensation.
If you have a pre-existing condition and are involved in a personal injury case, seeking the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney is vital. A knowledgeable lawyer can help navigate the legal complexities, gather relevant evidence, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the claims process.
Ultimately, the outcome of a personal injury claim involving pre-existing conditions will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, the available evidence, and the expertise of the legal representatives involved. Being well-informed and supported by a qualified attorney will increase the chances of securing a fair and just outcome in such cases.