If another driver’s negligence leaves you injured in a car accident, you will file your claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance carrier. The goal is to obtain compensation that covers the damages you have suffered in their entirety, but if you have a preexisting condition or injury – or if the insurance company thinks that you do – it can make the already-complicated claims process that much more so.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?
If the car accident in question leaves you with a back injury, for example, and you had also hurt your back years ago on the job to a degree that continues to give you trouble, this work-related injury may be considered a pre-existing condition that can affect your claim. Complications arise when you need to separate out those damages that are associated solely with your current injuries, those that are exacerbated by your current injuries, and those that are solely pre-existing. The insurance company involved is very interested in assigning as little impact as possible to any current injuries (associated with the car accident in question), and this motivation can complicate your claim to the nth degree.
You Have the Right to Seek Compensation
Having a preexisting condition or injury does not preclude you from seeking compensation for the damages you suffer as a result of the other driver’s negligence. Consider the following:
If your pre-existing injury or condition has healed or abated, it shouldn’t play a role in your car accident claim – or should play a minimal role (depending upon the
If your pre-existing injury or condition is still active but was exacerbated by the car accident, the effects will need to be determined and addressed.
If your pre-existing injury or condition is still active, but the car accident caused you to suffer an additional injury that may be all the worse because of the preexisting condition, these effects will need to be assessed.
The car insurance company would like to establish that you have a pre-existing condition that stands alone from any injuries caused by the car accident and that is the real source of your problems, but a savvy car accident attorney can help you smoothly address this kind of insurance company ploy.
In the end, if the injuries you experience as a result of the other driver’s negligence are all the more serious because of your preexisting condition, the burden is on the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. The law recognizes that your injuries would not have been exacerbated if it had not been for the other driver’s negligence, and motorists cannot expect those they injure due to their own negligence to be perfectly healthy to begin with (and, therefore, less vulnerable to serious injuries).