What If a Pre-Existing Condition Gets Worse After a Wreck?

Many car accident victims have pre-existing injuries. When they talk to a Tampa car accident lawyer at our firm, they complain that the crash worsened their old injury. However, an insurance adjuster said that they don’t have the grounds to file a claim because they didn’t suffer a new injury in the crash.

This is simply not true. You are eligible to recover damages if an accident makes a pre-existing injury or condition worse. Here is what you need to know.

Florida Applies the Eggshell Skull Doctrine

When insurance companies try to limit their liability, they blame the plaintiff’s poor health condition or pre-existing injuries for their current damages. This is where the “Eggshell Skull” doctrine comes into play.

This is a phrase referring to people who have a peculiar risk of suffering severe injuries in an accident – as if their skull were as thin as an eggshell. Thus, the Florida Standard Civil Jury Instruction 501.5 states that a person is eligible to recover damages in the following situations:

  • The accident aggravated or exacerbated a pre-existing injury, condition, or disease
  • The accident activated a disease or condition that did not show symptoms previously
  • The accident accelerates a serious injury or results in death
  • The accident causes injuries that other people would not suffer in similar conditions due to better health or lack of pre-existing injuries.

Common Pre-Existing Injuries Aggravated by a Car Accident

An experienced lawyer knows that some types of injuries and conditions tend to get worse if you are involved in a car accident. These are:

  • Healed fractures – even if they were fully healed, bone fractures can reopen in a car accident
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – a car accident can result in a cumulative effect of pre-existing injuries to the head and brain. This has been medically proven in the cases of former NFL players and other athletes involved in contact sports
  • Brittle bones – osteoporosis and other similar medical conditions will make a person more likely to suffer severe fractures even in a low-impact car accident
  • Degenerative conditions – a car crash can worsen these types of conditions, especially degenerative disc disease or arthritis.

a pre-existing condition does not bar you from getting compensation

How a Lawyer Can Help Prove Your Case

An experienced Tampa car crash lawyer will ask you to sign a medical release form, giving them access to your medical records and information from your treating physicians.

The attorney will hire medical experts to:

  • Compare current and older diagnostic tests and medical reports
  • Determine which injuries are pre-existing, and which were caused by the car accident
  • Point out ways in which an older injury was made worse by the accident
  • Prove that the crash triggered a condition that did not show symptoms beforehand.

With this information and evidence, the lawyer will be able to prove that you suffered both economic damages and pain and suffering due to the accident.

What If the Insurance Company Invokes the Foreseeable Risk?

As a last resort, the insurance company may invoke the foreseeable risk principle. It means that, due to your injury or condition, you should have foreseen the risk of getting injured again. This is no valid defense in a car accident.

Your lawyer will prove that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care and breached it through negligence. In the normal course of things, no one should expect to get injured when they drive to work or to pick up their kids from school.

Call Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers Today!

If you already have a pre-existing injury, getting hit by another car while you are driving can cause considerable pain and economic damages. Your old injuries get worse, and you also suffer new ones. But insurance companies will insist that you were hurt and in pain before the accident, so you do not deserve compensation.

An experienced Tampa car accident attorney at our firm will prove them wrong. We will use our knowledge of the law, our extensive experience, and the available evidence to win your fair settlement.

So reach out to us at (786) 249-7999 and schedule a free case review as soon as possible after your accident!

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