How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Injury Claims?

pre-existing conditonIf you have spoken with a health insurance company, you’ve heard the term pre-existing condition thrown around. A pre-existing condition is a condition that exists before someone’s first day of coverage. Pre-existing conditions include things like heart disease or diabetes, mental health issues, or even more mild conditions, like allergies. In some cases, people are denied health insurance because of their pre-existing conditions, even if they need insurance to treat these conditions. If you’ve struggled to get insurance due to a pre-existing condition, you know how frustrating it is. But did you know that pre-existing conditions can also complicate personal injury cases?

Personal Injury and Pre-existing Conditions

For example, imagine you have a back injury. The initial injury occurred a while ago, and the pain is not consistent or distracting, so you are not seeking treatment. Then, you are in a car accident, in which the other driver was at fault. The accident aggravates your injury, requiring you to seek treatment, or even surgery. If you sue the other driver, they may argue that your injury was a pre-existing condition. Therefore, they do not have to pay compensation for it. A pre-existing condition that does not manifest itself until after an accident is an asymptomatic condition. These conditions make it more difficult to prove that the accident led to further injury.

To win compensation,  the plaintiff’s attorney brings up previous medical records and shows evidence of the condition. They will show any measures the plaintiff took to treat the condition. Employment history also plays a role. For example, if you had a pre-existing back injury but worked without pain or distraction, then had to quit your job after the accident aggravated the injury, you could use that to argue that the accident truly did have an effect on your condition.

The Importance of Medical Records

In some situations, there is something called “the eggshell skull doctrine.” While a person without a previous head injury could walk away from a minor car accident with only bruising or minor pain, someone with a previous traumatic brain injury might suffer severe injuries. The person with the pre-existing condition should, ideally, receive more compensation than the person without the pre-existing head injury, since their pre-existing condition is made worse by the accident.

It is very important for the plaintiff to be upfront and honest with about medical history. If you do not disclose all medical information about any pre-existing conditions to your attorney, it could jeopardize your case. Even if you have a pre-existing condition, you should still receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t give up on pursuing a case just because of a pre-existing condition!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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