What If a Car Accident Aggravated Pre-Existing Conditions?
Car accidents can be devastating. Having a pre-existing condition only complicates matters further. Often, insurance companies will try to use your pre-existing condition as an excuse to deny your claim or offer you a low-ball settlement.
If your car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition, an experienced Connecticut car accident attorney at StangerLaw LLC is here to help. Don’t let the insurance company convince you that you don’t have a claim. Let us review your case and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Under Connecticut law, having a “pre-existing condition” in a motor vehicle accident means that you had some type of medical condition before the accident occurred.
Some examples of pre-existing conditions include back problems or cognitive impairment. For example, perhaps you suffered a herniated disc from doing yard work several years ago.
Or maybe you have a neurological condition that makes it difficult for you to remember things sometimes. These are the types of pre-existing conditions an insurance company might use to claim injuries you suffered in a car accident already existed before the accident.
But just because you had an injury before a car accident does not mean you can’t get compensation.
What If the Accident Made the Condition Worse?
In many circumstances, a pre-existing injury is aggravated in a car accident. According to Connecticut law, the at-fault individual can be held responsible for worsening your condition. This holds true despite the fact that the person was not the cause of your original pre-existing condition.
Considering the previous example of the herniated disc, imagine that your back had not been bothering you very much in the months leading up to the accident. However, immediately after the accident, you began experiencing severe back pain and your doctor recommended surgery.
You would argue that the accident had aggravated your pre-existing herniated disc and that the at-fault party should be held responsible for your increased back problems and cost of surgery.
The Eggshell Skull Rule
Under the eggshell skull rule, which is a general legal theory, a defendant takes their plaintiff as they find them. In other words, it does not matter that your injuries are worse than the defendant could have anticipated or worse than another person would have suffered in a similar accident.
Imagine that the person with an existing neurological condition gets into a fender bender. They suffer a mild concussion that most people would recover from quickly. However, because of their neurological condition, the concussion leads to significant memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Since the car accident aggravated the pre-existing condition, the at-fault driver would be responsible for the damages, even though they are much worse than one might expect from a low-speed fender bender.
Obtaining a Proper Settlement
If a car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition, the settlement amount may be different than if you did not have the condition.
In Connecticut, if you suffered from a pre-existing condition, you could recover compensation for new or worse symptoms resulting from the accident. To do so, you must show that the at-fault party aggravated this condition due to negligence.
The insurance company will attempt to undervalue your claim by pointing to your pre-existing condition.
But there are several ways to prove that your pre-existing condition was aggravated by the accident, such as:
- Medical records,
- Expert testimony,
- Witness testimony, and
- Keeping a pain journal.
When you have a pre-existing condition, it can make your claim more complex. It is vital that you have an attorney on your side to help you collect evidence and negotiate with your insurance company.
Contact StangerLaw LLC to Learn More
When it comes to analyzing your pre-existing injury, the settlement you may receive depends on your circumstances. An experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney can help show that your condition was negatively affected as a result of your accident.
Here at StangerLaw LLC, we will fight to help you maximize your compensation. We can also answer any additional questions that you may have. Call (860) 561-0651 or contact our firm online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options further.