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Can a Pre-Existing Condition Hurt Your Personal Injury Case?

How, why, and when a pre-existing condition could affect a personal injury case

If you are injured because of another party's negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages.

However, if you have a pre-existing condition, it could pose a challenge in your personal injury claim. This is because the incident in question would need to be the proximate cause of your injuries.

Let's take a closer look at how previous injuries or medical conditions could impact your current case.

Did the accident exacerbate an existing condition?

It may be possible to prove that an accident made an injury or medical condition worse than it was before. This could be done by introducing medical records that show a marked difference in mental or physical capabilities before and after a crash.

For example, these records could show that a punctured lung has made your asthma worse. They may also show that exposure to chemicals at work or in an apartment building made it hard to breathe. In such a scenario, the fact that you have a pre-existing condition can actually help your chances of obtaining compensation.

Your attorney will likely explain the “Eggshell Skull Rule”

A person who has been injured in the past may be known as an ”eggshell” plaintiff — that is, someone with a pre-existing condition like a previous injury or medical condition that makes the plaintiff more likely to experience injury. However, it doesn't mean that you aren't entitled to compensation. This is true regardless if you experience an injury in the same place where you were hurt previously.

In fact, most insurance companies and opposing attorneys will assume that anyone over the age of 30 has some type of prior injury or medical condition. Therefore, you shouldn't worry about being honest about your previous medical history.

Make sure to seek medical treatment after an accident

It is critical that you seek treatment from either your own physician or at an emergency room soon after the crash. This allows a medical professional to assess your condition and make notes that can be used in settlement talks. By waiting to get checked out, an opposing attorney could claim that your bad back or broken leg were caused after the incident in question.

Furthermore, internal bleeding and concussions are not always evident immediately after a car crash or other hard collision. Therefore, being seen by a doctor could help to better diagnose the scope of your injuries or even save your life.

Personal injury settlements are all about credibility

A personal injury case is harder to settle in your favor if you fail to disclose previous injuries. It is also harder if you fail to disclose currently existing medical conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol. This is because a judge or jury may be less inclined to believe other details of your story, which could give the other side leverage during a settlement hearing.

The next time you are hurt or get sick through no fault of your own, don't hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney. This person may be able to help gather medical records or other evidence to establish that a specific party is liable for your medical bills and other costs. While an attorney may be helpful in obtaining a favorable outcome in your case, you will need to do your part by being honest throughout the legal process.

Contact the experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyers at Gilreath & Associates today for a free consultation.

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Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilreath & Associates offer free and personal consultation to help you evaluate your legal options.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you recover financially from an injury stemming from someone else's negligence.