Old man and woman with attorney

How Pre-Existing Conditions
Affect Personal Injury Claims

Wilson Law Firm PLLC March 1, 2022

Not everyone injured due to someone else’s negligence is in perfect condition when the accident occurs. Even young people may have suffered prior injuries. Older adults are highly likely to suffer from diagnosed degenerative conditions, particularly in their spines and joints.

The injury victim whose medical records indicate a completely clean history of prior injuries may be the ideal client for an attorney like me. However, the vast majority of my clients have some sort of relevant pre-existing health condition. Those need to be addressed, but they certainly do not prohibit their right to recover damages from a negligent party.

At Wilson Law Firm PLLC, I embrace the challenge of representing personal injury clients with pre-existing conditions in Shawnee, Okemah, Chandler, Ada, and Norman, Oklahoma. In my experience, prior injuries are to be not only confronted but sometimes used to my client’s advantage. If you have been injured, I may be able to help you recover compensation despite your medical history.

What Are Pre-Existing
Medical Conditions?

A pre-existing medical condition broadly includes any injury or illness you were diagnosed with at any point prior to the subject injury-causing event. When making a personal injury claim against a negligent party, however, the pre-existing condition must be relevant to the injuries the party caused in the current incident.

For example, you might have broken your arm as a child, but that is not relevant to the head injury you sustained in your auto collision. Moreover, your high blood pressure is not relevant to your torn rotator cuff. A degenerative lumbar disc, however, would be relevant to your claim for damages involving low back injuries.

How Do Pre-Existing Conditions
Affect My Bodily Injury Claim?

Obviously, the insurance company for the negligent party will attempt to lower the value of your damages for injuries relevant to a pre-existing condition. It is important that you tell your personal injury attorney from the start about any past injuries you were treated for or medical diagnoses. It is my practice to obtain permission from my clients to request copies of their medical records for a period of years prior to the subject accident. That is precisely so I can get a sense of a client’s medical history and determine how to frame pre-existing conditions with current injuries.

Not all pre-existing injuries can be used against you, even if they relate to your current injuries. For example, perhaps you had a total knee replacement three years before the subject accident and had fully recovered from it. The accident resulted in having to undergo a second total knee replacement. The fact that your knee had been replaced before does not discount the damages you have incurred to undergo a second procedure.

Can a Pre-Existing
Condition Help My Claim?

There is a doctrine in personal injury law referred to as the “eggshell plaintiff.” In basic terms, the theory states that a victim of negligence who has a pre-existing condition makes them even more vulnerable to damages suffered as the result of that negligence.

Regardless of any relevant pre-existing injury you might have had prior to the subject accident, there is a value for the aggravation of that injury or condition. The range of damages for someone without a relevant pre-existing condition is greater; however, you still suffer pain and medical expense, lost wages, and other damages, even if you had a health issue before.

Let Wilson Law Firm PLLC Help

If you had a relevant pre-existing medical condition prior to being injured in an accident, your personal injury claim can either be more challenging or worth more than it might have been without the pre-existing condition. If that sounds confusing to you, you understand why you need an experienced and tenacious personal injury attorney to represent you. The insurance company’s mission is to compensate you with as little money as possible. The mission at Wilson Law Firm PLLC is to get the best settlement possible for my clients.

If you have been injured in Shawnee, Oklahoma, or the surrounding areas, call Wilson Law Firm PLLC today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your pre-existing conditions, your injuries, and your claim. Call my office today.