At-fault parties in a car accident will work hard to keep compensation as low as possible. They may try to prove that your injuries were not caused by the accident or try to downplay their severity. To lower the amount a victim may claim in compensation, at-fault parties often assert that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, New Jersey law allows plaintiffs to be compensated for their pre-existing injuries if those conditions become aggravated after the car crash. If you wish to file a personal injury claim for injuries sustained after a car crash but are worried that a pre-existing condition could affect the result, then contact a lawyer to discuss your case.
Common Pre-Existing Conditions
Trauma from car crashes could aggravate or worsen an existing condition or old injury. Some common conditions at risk of worsening after a car accident include:
• Herniated disc
• Degenerative disc disease
• The strain of the lower back
• Bones broken in the past
• Injuries to the knees and shoulders
• Old brain injuries, including concussions
In New Jersey, you may be eligible for compensation for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition if negligence caused the incident. It is unlikely your claim would be rejected solely because you have an existing medical condition or injury if the condition was aggravated or worsened.
The Eggshell Doctrine
The Eggshell Doctrine refers to a legal concept governing cases with aggravated pre-existing conditions. According to the doctrine, victims could be entitled to compensation for sustained injuries if:
• their pre-existing condition was stable;
• there is no reason for the victim to think that their situation could change if not for the accident.
The Eggshell Doctrine is often used if the victim has a condition that makes them more likely to sustain injuries than most people. Although some accidents only cause minor harm to healthy people, people with pre-existing conditions may end up in a much worse state or sustain graver injuries.
Aggravated health or injury claims usually result in insurance providers using pre-existing conditions to try to lower a settlement as much as possible. You will need to provide evidence that the car accident harmed or injured you.
Supporting Your Claim
Proving that the accident aggravated your situation will require evidence or supporting information. To demonstrate that your situation worsened following the accident, you need to show records of your previous condition and then have them compared to the present situation. Insurers don’t need to access all of your records. Consult your attorney about what documents are relevant to your case. There should also be notes from your physician supporting your claim. He or she should note how trauma from the accident has worsened your condition.
Tell your lawyer everything about your pre-existing medical condition or injury. He or she should know all the relevant details to understand how to correctly handle your case. At Grossman, we have skilled and experienced lawyers who can help you prepare your aggravated injury claims.