Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries that may require months of recovery for a victim, especially if he or she was already suffering from another condition before the crash. The impact from a collision can easily aggravate a previous head, neck, or back injury, and can undo years of healing and physical therapy. But will an insurer actually pay to treat an injury if it existed prior to your accident?
New Injuries vs. Aggravated Injuries in Crash Claims
A car crash can easily aggravate a pre-existing condition, as well as make a passenger more susceptible to suffering new injuries. While a victim isn't entitled to payment for a condition that existed before the crash, he or she can collect damages for any aggravation of a preexisting injury.
However, payment for these injuries depends on:
- Condition of the victim. Under the thin skull rule, a victim is entitled to payment for any injuries caused by an accident even if he or she was in a weakened condition at the time of the crash. Simply put, a defendant cannot argue that the victim shouldn't have been injured because another person in the same crash would not have been, and must consider the plaintiff’s condition at the time of the accident. This is usually done by comparing past medical records with X-rays or MRIs taken immediately after the crash.
- Extent of aggravation. Aggravation of an injury can be temporary or permanent, and can cause effects ranging from an increase in symptoms to a need to begin treatment all over again. Trauma that causes a permanent change to pre-existing condition—such as accelerating the condition or causing irreversible damage—is more likely to be covered than an injury that results in minor or temporary suffering.
- Disclosing pre-existing conditions. Many people are afraid to share any information about past injuries with their insurance companies because they fear it will result in denial. However, failing to disclose these injuries only hurts a victim’s credibility and can greatly diminish the value of the claim.
The most important factor in your case is the medical evidence you can provide. We can examine the details of your case and tell you whether you are owed compensation. Simply fill out the form on this page to set up your free consultation with an attorney.