Pre-Existing Medical Conditions’ Effect on an Injury Claim
When you get injured because of someone else’s negligent or intentional act, you may not realize that your pre-existing medical conditions could potentially affect your injury claim. Insurance companies often resort to various tactics to deny and devalue personal injury claims. One of the most common tactics is using the claimant’s pre-existing condition as an excuse to deny a claim or pay as little as possible.
What many injured people do not realize is that they may still be entitled to financial compensation even if they have a pre-existing condition not related to their recent accident. At Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we have successfully guided countless injured victims through the challenges a pre-existing condition can add to a personal injury claim.
We know how insurance companies operate, and we also know how to fight back against the “pre-existing injury” defense. Our law firm is based in Alexandria, Virginia, but also serves clients in the surrounding areas, including Fairfax, Arlington, Woodbridge, and Manassas.
What Are Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?
A pre-existing medical condition means exactly what it sounds like. The term refers to any injuries, medical conditions, or disabilities that a claimant had before filing a personal injury claim for compensation.
When processing personal injury claims, insurance companies often conduct their own medical examination and review the claimant’s medical records dating several years back. Once a pre-existing medical condition is revealed as part of the investigation, the insurer may use it (if relevant to the new injury) as an excuse to pay less or deny the claim altogether.
For this reason, claimants should not attempt to lie about their pre-existing medical conditions when filing a personal injury claim. Seek legal advice from an attorney to develop an effective strategy to counter any allegations by your insurance company.
Can You Get Compensation if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
There is a common misconception that you cannot obtain compensation if you have a pre-existing condition. This is what many claimants are commonly told by insurance companies when filing an injury claim. However, injured people with pre-existing conditions can recover the same costs as people without pre-existing conditions. These costs include medical bills, prescription medication, hospitalization costs, long-term care expenses, and other costs. A claimant may also seek compensation for loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages and losses.
Nonetheless, there is no doubt that an insurance company may still use your pre-existing medical condition as an excuse to pay less than what your claim is worth or deny your claim altogether. While it is obvious that you cannot seek compensation for a condition that existed before the accident, you can still obtain compensation if your condition was aggravated or exacerbated by the accident.
Under the so-called “eggshell plaintiff” theory, insurance companies cannot deny an injury claim simply because the claimant has a pre-existing medical condition, even if your pre-existing condition makes you more prone to injury.
Aggravation or Exacerbation of Pre-Existing Conditions
As mentioned earlier, you are entitled to compensation if you can prove that the accident aggravated or exacerbated your pre-existing condition. For example, if you suffered whiplash and a back injury after a car accident but have chronic back issues, you would be able to obtain compensation for the costs related to the whiplash injury and also the back injury if the injury is new or it was aggravated/exacerbated by the car crash.
Generally, the term “aggravation” refers to a permanent worsening of the pre-existing condition, while “exacerbation” means the worsening of a temporary nature. A medical examination will typically help determine whether the worsening is permanent or temporary. When seeking medical attention after the accident, ask your doctor to provide you with documentation that shows how your condition was affected by the accident. Always be upfront with your doctor and your attorney about your medical history as this can have a major impact on your injury claim.
Get Help From a Personal Injury Attorney
When speaking with a personal injury attorney, it is important to be completely honest and transparent about any pre-existing medical condition that you have. This will give your attorney enough time to review your medical records and develop a strategy to counter the insurance company’s attempts to devalue or deny your claim.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Blaszkow Legal, PLLC understand that pre-existing medical conditions, no matter how minor they may be, can potentially become a basis for the denial. That is why we are prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve on your behalf. We can guide you through the personal injury claims process to ensure that you get the most out of your injury claim.
Advocating for You at Every Step
If you have suffered injuries in an accident and have a pre-existing medical condition, contact Blaszkow Legal, PLLC. Our personal injury attorneys in Alexandria, Virginia, will serve as your advocates to protect your rights and ensure that you are not taken advantage of by your insurer. Schedule a free personalized consultation to discuss what you can do to improve your chances of receiving fair compensation.