Can A Pre-Existing Medical Condition Affect An Accident Claim?
When you’ve been injured in a traffic accident, if you are dealing with a pre-existing medical condition or with an old injury that never quite healed right, do not let an automobile insurance company use your condition as an excuse to deny your injury claim.
If an auto insurance company says that you weren’t injured in an accident by their policyholder because you were actually injured previously, the insurance company may try to avoid compensating you. This is where an Edinburg car accident attorney can help.
WHAT WILL YOU NEED IF YOU ARE INJURED BY A NEGLIGENT DRIVER?
If you are injured, you should contact an accident attorney as soon as possible after the collision, and you should let that attorney handle the entire matter on your behalf.
Most injury lawyers in this state routinely negotiate injury claims with auto insurance companies, and they know what it takes to prevail in those negotiations.
If your previous injury or pre-existing medical condition was exacerbated as the result of an accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled under Texas law to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain, and suffering, and all related losses and damages.
HOW IS A “PRE-EXISTING” MEDICAL CONDITION DEFINED?
A traffic crash can exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition or cause a “flare-up” that can impair your health and/or your ability to work.
A pre-existing injury or medical condition may be either psychological or physical.
Heart conditions, high blood pressure, clinical depression, and type-2 diabetes are among the conditions that are frequently exacerbated by traffic accidents. So are traumatic brain injuries, neck and spinal cord injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Any previous injury or condition that still sometimes causes pain or suffering – or that never properly healed – is by definition a “pre-existing” condition.
WHY IS AN HONEST, FULL DISCLOSURE SO IMPORTANT?
It is imperative for you to be completely forthright and honest when speaking with your accident attorney about a pre-existing condition or an old injury.
Your honest disclosure will help your attorney to work effectively to prove that your condition was aggravated by the accident.
On the other hand, the failure to be honest with your attorney about an old injury or a pre-existing condition could seriously impair your ability to receive the compensation you need.
The more that your attorney knows about your medical condition or injury, the better your attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf and acquire the full compensation that you’re entitled to under Texas law.
WITH A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION, WHAT ARE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS?
Someone with a pre-existing condition or previous injury may be more likely to sustain an injury than someone else, but the principle of “equal protection under law” protects all of us, like it says, equally.
In fact, a legal concept that lawyers and judges call the “Eggshell Doctrine” also applies in personal injury cases involving pre-existing conditions.
Personal injury victims with pre-existing conditions may receive compensation after a traffic accident in the state of Texas if:
1. The pre-existing condition had stabilized.
2. Before the accident, nothing indicated that the pre-existing condition would decline or become exacerbated.
HOW DOES THE “EGGSHELL DOCTRINE” BENEFIT INJURY VICTIMS?
A healthy person in a minor collision is far less likely to be injured than someone with a pre-existing condition or injury, but the Eggshell Doctrine prevents an insurer from using your pre-existing condition as an excuse to withhold or reduce your compensation after an accident.
Nevertheless, to obtain the compensation that you will need, you and your attorney must demonstrate that your personal injury or injuries were caused by – or exacerbated by – the traffic collision and because of the other driver’s negligence.
Your lawyer will need your complete medical records about the pre-existing condition or injury. You will also need to obtain an immediate medical examination after the accident – at least within the first 24 hours – to compare against your previous records.
Be sure to tell the doctor about your pre-existing condition or injury. Your doctor’s notes should indicate the specific nature of the additional damage caused by the traffic collision.
HOW CAN A TEXAS ACCIDENT LAWYER HELP?
Your injury attorney will need not only the medical records but also the diagnostic tests and a statement (or testimony) from your doctor. In particular cases, your attorney may also have an outside medical authority to give a statement or testify on your behalf.
Far too frequently, those with pre-existing medical conditions or injuries fail to exercise their rights. Some victims wrongly assume that a pre-existing medical condition or an old injury will make them ineligible for compensation, even after a collision which exacerbates that condition.
That is a wrong assumption. The equal protection principle covers you. If you are injured by a negligent driver here in Texas, even if you are struggling with a pre-existing medical condition or injury, you have rights, and you will need to exercise those rights.
HOW ARE PERSONAL INJURY CASES USUALLY RESOLVED?
An attorney with substantial personal injury experience will know how to prove to a jury that a pre-existing medical condition or injury was exacerbated by a collision – if it comes to that.
It probably won’t. Most personal injury cases in Texas – about ninety percent – are resolved privately, in out-of-court negotiations between the attorneys for both sides, so typically no trial is necessary.
If you are injured by a negligent driver here in south Texas, a qualified auto accident attorney will protect your rights, compile and examine the evidence, consult with the medical authorities, and fight aggressively for the compensation and justice that you deserve.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?
If you’re accidentally injured by a negligent driver, and if your health declines in any way due to that accident and that negligence, arrange to speak to an auto accident law firm. Do it at once.
That is your right. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, your health and your future may depend on it.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.