Can a pre-existing medical condition affect my personal injury claim?

When discussing personal injury claims, there is a misconception that all accident victims are in perfect health before their accident.  This is rarely the case.  Most, if not all of us, have been involved in an accident of some type.  No matter if your injuries were caused by a commercial trucking accident or medical malpractice, many across Texas suffer injuries as a result of another’s negligence.  Due to their injuries, those who have been injured often turn to a qualified personal injury attorney to assist them in getting the help they need.  There are, however, those who believe their preexisting medical conditions or injuries precludes their recovery for their injuries.  This is not the case.

After an accident caused by another’s negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for the injuries caused by that accident.  You are also entitled to recover if an accident worsened a pre-existing injury or medical condition.

Preexisting Medical Conditions

A preexisting medical condition or prior injury is one which occurred prior to your accident.  An accident does not always cause new injuries.  Often, an accident can exacerbate or cause a preexisting condition to become worse or re-injured.  Having a preexisting medical condition or prior injury does not preclude you from seeking compensation for you injuries.  Under Texas law, a person who was injured as a result of another’s negligence can receive compensation for their injuries related to the accident, especially when the accident caused a worsening or aggravation of the prior injury.

Disclosing Preexisting Medical Conditions

When seeking medical treatment after an accident, it is important to fully and fairly disclose your prior injuries to your physician.  In doing so, you assist your doctor in ensuring the best level of healthcare will be provided.  Additionally, your doctor can then assess the additional damage sustained as a result of the accident.

In addition to disclosing your preexisting medical conditions or injuries to your healthcare providers, it is also necessary to disclose this information to your personal injury attorney.  Often, those injured think it best that their attorneys are not made aware of their previous injuries, as it may weaken their case.  This, however, tends to make matters worse.  By knowing of preexisting injuries or medical conditions, your attorney can ensure that all available claims are brought against the individual who caused your injuries or aggravation of your previous injury.

Texas Law Protects Your Rights

Even if you have a preexisting medical condition or injury, Texas law protects your rights.  In Texas, a negligent person “must take the victim as he or she finds them.”  This legal maxim, known as the Eggshell Skull Rule, means that a negligent person cannot avoid liability simply due to a preexisting injury or medical condition.  It is this legal doctrine which equips you to hold responsible parties liable, even if you had a pre-existing injury.

Filing Your Claim

When negotiating with insurance companies, most will attempt to skirt their responsibility and place the blame on you.  That is, they will attempt to deny your claim by stating that the accident in question did not cause your injuries.  This is a common game played by insurance companies, as they are in business to deny claims – not pay them.  Your attorney will review your medical records and demonstrate to the responsible party that your injuries or exacerbation of a pre-existing injury was caused by the accident in question.

A preexisting medical condition or injury can certainly complicate a personal injury lawsuit.  To ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries or a re-aggravation of a preexisting injury, it is important to contact a qualified personal injury attorney.  Our attorneys have the knowledge and skills necessary to aggressively represent you in a case against a negligent party.  Contact us today and let us know how we can help put you on the road to recovery.