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How A Pre-Existing Condition Can Impact Your Settlement

How A Pre-Existing Condition Can Impact Your Settlement

When you file a claim for a personal injury, the insurance companies will investigate your whole medical history. They do this to find ways to get out of your claim. For example, imagine if you injured your back and sought medical treatment five years ago. Then when the accident happened, you sustained a back injury. They may use the injury from years ago to argue that your new injuries are the result of a pre-existing condition and not the accident. If they are successful, they may be able to get out of paying the full compensation you are legally owed.

What The Insurance Companies Will Argue

The insurance companies are in the business of protecting
their profits, so they will do anything to get out of paying a fair claim. We’ve
seen insurance companies use a number of arguments against people with
pre-existing conditions including:

  • Your injuries were not from the accident but are
    from the pre-existing condition
  • Your injuries were the result of overmedication
    or that your medication contributed to the accident
  • Your pre-existing condition contributed to the
    accident

This is just the tip of the iceberg, they will use anything,
even your own health against you.

What Do I If I Have A Pre-Existing Condition?

All of this may leave you to wonder what will happen if you
have a pre-existing condition and how will it impact your claim. The impact
depends on a lot of factors, but mostly will be determined by the quality of
your legal representation in the case. A good attorney can help you get more
value out of your claim. That is because with some conditions an accident
injury can worsen in severity including:

  • Degenerative back issues
  • Brain injuries
  • Osteoarthritis and other joint conditions
  • Hernias
  • Cardiovascular illnesses
  • Fibromyalgia and other muscular disorders

In cases like these, your attorney can argue the eggshell
doctrine.

What Is The Eggshell Doctrine?

The eggshell doctrine, also referred to as the “eggshell
skull rule,” is a principle used in legal defenses. The principle is basically
that frailty, weakness, or sensitivity, as the result of medical issues, can
not be used in defense. Basically, it means that just because you were not in
perfect health at the time of the accident, does not mean that your full claim
has any less value. The damages inflicted by the negligent party are the
damages you’ve experienced and not the damages an imagined perfectly healthy
person would experience in the same scenario. This essentially says the
plaintiff cannot be punished for their health condition at the time of the
accident.

How To Protect Yourself When You Have A Pre-Existing Condition

There are several things you can do to protect yourself from
the insurance companies using your pre-existing condition against you.

  • Seek medical treatment at the time of injury.
    That way you can link any current injuries and subsequent treatments,
    regardless of your pre-existing condition to your accident.
  • Do not sign a medical release form allowing the
    insurance companies to have access to your former medical records. They will
    use this release to look for things to use against you, like your pre-existing
    conditions. Instead, let your lawyer handle the disclosure of this information.
  • Tell your attorney about your pre-existing
    condition. If they know about it, they can build their defense around your
    condition. Also, if you do not disclose your pre-existing condition, the
    insurance companies may use it against you as a way to damage your credibility.

Following these steps will help protect you against the
tricks of the insurance companies.

To ensure that you are protected after an accident,
regardless of your health, you need to work with a great attorney. The St. Pete’s
Lawyer Michael Babboni has fought and won cases for people with pre-existing
conditions. He’s known by his reputation of fighting all the way to court for
his clients by the insurance companies, so they know they can’t pull any of
these dirty tricks with him. Give us a call today at 1-727-381-9200 for a free
consultation to learn more about how your pre-existing condition will impact
your personal injury case.

attybabboni
Michael J Babboni