Our Response to COVID-19. Learn More >
Call Us

A Car Accident Aggravated my Pre-Existing Condition: Do I Have a Claim?

Written by: Hagelgans and Veronis

Was a pre-existing condition aggravated or worsened due to a car accident? Many will tell you that it is impossible to gain compensation for these types of injuries or conditions but his is simply not the case. It is, however, a time when you will need to seek professional help from an experienced personal injury attorney

Pre-existing conditions can cause the already complicated matter of personal injury to become infinitely more difficult. An attorney experienced with navigating car accident litigation and pre-existing injuries will ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve for medical treatments, lost wages and pain-and-suffering. 

Pre-existing Injuries Aggravated by Car Accidents

Many pre-existing injuries, such as chronic back or neck pain, can be aggravated by car accidents that cause the injured pain-and-suffering which can lead to short and long-term medical treatments, prescription medication and time missed from work. Some common pre-existing conditions that might be worsened by a car accident include:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Joint injuries (such as arthritis)
  • Head injuries 
  • Nerve injuries 
  • Chronic pain conditions (such as fibromyalgia and chronic back pain)

Car accidents can be particularly dangerous for people with a history of concussions or previous trauma to the back or spine, causing extenuating injuries and/or increased pain. A previously minor back pain can become debilitating after a car accident. 

A person is entitled to compensation for the changes in the pain or medical condition that occurred with the car accident but not for compensation for the previous injuries. This makes it vitally important to seek medical help as soon as possible following the car accident. 

An attorney with experience with personal injury can prove the difference between the previous injury and the aggravated injury caused by the auto accident through medical tests and evidence of the injury both before and after the accident. 

Pennsylvania’s Eggshell Plaintiff Rule

Other pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, can cause increased or worsened injuries caused by car accidents. The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule protects more fragile or delicate plaintiff’s who were more susceptible to injury through no fault of their own. 

The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule theoretically says that if Humpty Dumpty was injured from falling off of a wall, the injury is the fault of the person who caused him to fall off of the wall, no matter that the same injuries would not have occurred were he not an egg. In a more realistic example, if a plaintiff with severe osteoporosis suffers from multiple broken bones in a car accident, those broken bones are the fault of the defendant, even if the same bones probably would not have been broken in someone who did not suffer from osteoporosis. 

If a plaintiff with a previously broken back, which was healed and was only minorly painful, re-breaks the weakened area in a car accident, causing much more severe pain and medical treatments. If the plaintiff had not been involved in the car accident, he or she most likely would have gone on to live a full life with only minor pain. 

With the new injuries, this person could face long-term medical treatments, medications, possible disability and much more significant pain. The plaintiff is entitled to compensation for these expenses as well as lost wages and pain-and-suffering.

How Pre-existing Injuries Impact Settlements

Pre-existing injuries or conditions will almost always make settlements more difficult and nearly impossible. It can tempt unscrupulous insurance companies to make insulting offers or refuse compensation at all. 

Settlements in pre-existing cases are often less than fair or non-existent. Defendants often claim that the injuries suffered by the plaintiff are not from the accident but from the pre-existing injury as a way to reduce their liability and protect their bottom line. 

Manipulation From Insurance Companies

Insurance companies will often attempt to convince you that you are not entitled to compensation due to your pre-existing injury or medical condition. They are able to look at your past medical history, work history and even medication use and paint a slanderous picture of you. They then use this to convince you that no judge or jury will see things any differently. 

They can offer insultingly low settlements or no settlements at all. They often rush you to accept a low offer that does not cover your best interests in hopes that you will never find out that you are entitled to much more. 

Bottom line, insurance companies are looking out for insurance companies.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today

Though it makes it more difficult, having a pre-existing injury does not stop you from being entitled to compensation for your injuries due to the negligence of another driver. An experienced attorney can make all the difference. 

If you have been involved in a car accident, don’t let the Big Boys at the insurance companies push you around. Contact Hagelgans & Veronis today to learn more about your rights in these trying times and take the first step in your journey to justice. 

Share This Story

If you find our personal injury law updates helpful, consider sharing this post to your social media to help your friends and family find current and reliable information.

Speak Directly with Our Attorneys

From the initial free consultation, your case will be handled by an experienced injury attorney, not a paralegal or legal secretary.

I Want To...
uploadcross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram