Determining whether you have claims for injuries or losses resulting from a car accident that involves pre-existing injuries is a complicated process. Not only may insurance companies try to claim that some or all of your injuries and conditions were pre-existing, but you will also need to show evidence that your pre-existing condition has been made worse as a direct result of the accident. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help determine if you have a personal injury claim for pre-existing conditions that were aggravated by a car accident. Contact us today at (651) 259-1113 for a free consultation with our legal team.
Pre-Existing Condition Definition and the Eggshell Skull Rule
A pre-existing condition is any medical condition that you had before an accident occurs. Do not be discouraged if you have been in an accident and have a pre-existing condition. You may still be entitled to justice and compensation, especially if your pre-existing condition was aggravated by the car accident.
The Eggshell Skull Rule
One important rule of law in personal injury claims is called the “eggshell skull rule.” This rule states that the condition of the victim (or how frail they are) is not a valid defense against a personal injury claim. This means that if you have a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by a car accident and another party was deemed to be at fault, they would not be able to claim as a defense that your pre-existing condition made you more likely to be injured. This also means that a defendant is potentially liable for all damages arising from an accident, even though they had no prior knowledge of your pre-existing condition.
What Damages Are Available to You?
You cannot pursue damages for pre-existing conditions or other conditions not affected by an accident. However, if you were in an accident and your pre-existing conditions were aggravated by that accident, then you may be able to pursue damages. You must ensure that you are bringing your claim within the proper timeframe. In the state of Minnesota, under Minnesota Statutes section 541.07, the statute of limitations is two years. In Wisconsin, under Wisconsin Statutes section 893.54 the statute of limitations is three years.
To potentially secure damages for a pre-existing condition aggravated by a car accident, you will need to show that your pre-existing condition was made worse, or that your recovery was disrupted due to the accident. You will not be able to recover costs for any treatment that you might have otherwise needed had the accident not occurred. However, any new treatments or medical costs you need because of the accident (that you originally would not have needed) may qualify.
Types of Pre-Existing Conditions Aggravated by an Accident
Many kinds of pre-existing conditions can be aggravated by an accident. Common examples include:
- Broken bones: You may have previously broken a bone that was in the process of healing. If you are in an accident and fracture the bone further as a result of the accident or determine that the recovery process was extended due to the accident this would be one example of a pre-existing condition that has been aggravated as a result of the accident.
- Neck and Back Injuries: It is very common for people to have arthritis or pain in their neck and back. This pain could be worsened due to an accident or damaged further as a result of the accident.
- Anxiety or Depression: Anxiety and depression can be impacted directly as a result of an accident. You may require additional treatments or your day-to-day life may be impacted directly due to the aggravation of these conditions.
- Sprains: Having a sprain is not uncommon but these sprains may potentially worsen as a direct result of a crash.
- Arthritis: Arthritis may worsen because of a car accident.
- Fibromyalgia: In some cases, fibromyalgia may also worsen as a result of a car accident.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: Any type of chronic back condition can potentially be worsened if you are in a car crash. Pain may increase and the condition may quickly worsen over time due to the impact of a crash.
Insurance Company Manipulative Tactics
Insurance companies will try to label as many things as possible pre-existing conditions so that they do not have to pay out more money as a result of the accident. They will also often offer a settlement quickly with a relatively low compensation package. The reason for these manipulative tactics is to take advantage of the fact that you may not know all of the rights and options available to you immediately after the accident.
You can also be prepared to combat these claims by keeping thorough medical records from before and after the accident. If you can obtain the opinions of doctors who regularly see who and who can confirm that your pre-existing condition was aggravated by the accident that would make your case stronger as well.
Our experienced legal team at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help determine if you have a potential personal injury claim due to a pre-existing injury becoming aggravated by an accident. Instead of accepting the insurance company settlement we can establish what damage has been done as a direct result of the accident and ensure that you are compensated for your losses. Examples of types of compensation stemming from an accident can include:
- Additional medical treatment was needed because of the accident.
- Wages lost due to being unable to work and disability.
- Emotional pain and suffering.
- Damages related to the loss of ability to enjoy life.
How Pre-existing Conditions Affect Settlements
Whether you are successful in a personal injury claim that involves a pre-existing condition that has been aggravated by an accident depends on many factors. The facts of the case and how the crash occurred will be important in determining fault. In addition, your injuries both before and after the crash (i.e., the severity, recovery times, and treatments) will be scrutinized heavily.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
It can be frustrating to know that in the process of healing from a prior injury an accident occurred that exacerbated the injury and stalled recovery. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury Law can help determine what your options are and whether you have a viable personal injury claim for a pre-existing condition aggravated by a car accident. Contact us today at (651) 259-1113 to learn more and ensure you get the justice you deserve.