Can You Sue for a Pre-Existing Injury?
There is a common misconception that you cannot recover compensation after an accident that aggravates or worsens a pre-existing injury. This is far from the truth if it can be proven that the accident was caused by another person’s negligent actions.
Take this example: you fractured your wrist 20 years ago, and although it is fully “healed,” you still have to be careful not to hyper-flex the joint, or put undue pressure on the old wound. One day, you’re out enjoying a meal at a local café and slip on a spilled beverage that the staff failed to clean up. Instinctively, you break your fall with your dominant hand, re-injuring your healed fracture badly.
Aggravation of a pre-existing injury
In this case, the accident has exacerbated an old injury, which is now painful and needs medical attention. Fortunately, you can pursue compensation for a pre-existing condition that has been made worse. The caveat here is that insurance companies will try and deny or minimize the validity of your case, on the pretense that your pre-existing injury was there before the accident, and is the root cause of all symptoms.
This is a common insurance defense tactic, and the only way to achieve the settlement monies you deserve is to choose your legal representation wisely. In the end, it is up to your personal injury lawyer to establish how much the accident aggravated or worsened the condition you had beforehand.
Cases involving pre-existing injuries – whether arising from a car accident or a workplace fall – are always more complex to handle. Medical experts may be called upon to demonstrate to the status of your injury today, versus years ago before the accident occurred.
Common types of pre-existing injuries
At Ellis Law, our attorneys have helped clients recover just compensation for old injuries that were made worse by accidents. Some of the most common include:
- Healed fractures
- Torn rotator cuffs and soft tissue sprains
- Degenerative disc disease
Medical documentation is key for ‘eggshell plaintiffs’
Any type of pre-existing injury can cause you to be more vulnerable to further harm that could aggravate the condition. When bringing a claim for monetary damages, plaintiffs are considered under the Eggshell Skull Rule, which makes a defendant liable for any injury that is ‘magnified by the plaintiff’s peculiar characteristics.’ In other words, plaintiffs must be taken in the state of health they are in when the accident occurs.
When initiating a claim, plaintiffs are encouraged to disclose any and all previous injuries and conditions with their legal counsel, regardless if they are related to the current accident. A failure to disclose old injuries, or lie about others can seriously undermine your credibility and the success of your personal injury claim.
Your lawyer will retrieve old medical records, looking for previous X-rays, diagnostic tests, and other records that speak to the condition of the injury then versus now. Testimony from medical experts will show to what degree the condition has been aggravated, and how this has impacted your day-to-day life. Detailed medical documentation and expert testimony are key to securing a fair settlement.
Contact Ellis Injury Law after an accident
There is no reason to lie about a pre-existing injury or let it discourage you from taking legal action against a negligent driver, employer, or property owner. With the right attorney in your corner, you can still win compensation for hospital and medical bills, lost income, and other losses incurred.
Ellis Law provides clients with powerful, results-focused advocacy in all types of personal injury matters. Our firm routinely works with accident reconstruction specialists, forensic engineers, life care planners, and medical experts.
Call our office today to request a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney who is committed to your full recovery. We can help you get the maximum compensation for aggravated pre-existing injuries, and there are no fees unless we win your case.