It is a difficult position to be in if you have been involved in an accident while suffering from a pre-existing health condition. Not only is it often the case that the resulting injuries from the accident worsened your existing injury, but you also have to worry about whether a pre-existing condition will impact your case.
The good news is that people with pre-existing injuries or conditions have as much right as anyone to seek compensation when an accident causes them further injury. However, pre-existing conditions can complicate things and make it more difficult to reach a fair settlement. This is usually because insurance companies attempt to argue that injuries caused by the accident were pre-existing.
With an experienced lawyer with excellent personal injury knowledge and a good understanding of the Texas legal system by your side, you stand a good chance of making a successful personal injury claim even when you suffer from pre-existing injuries. At Abraham Watkins, we have just such a team.
To find out how we could help you, call us today for a free consultation. We will go into detail about what to expect from your case with no obligation to you. That call is protected as confidential under the attorney-client relationship.
Our lines are always open. Call 713-535-9319 today.
Definition of a ‘Pre-Existing Condition’
In America, we usually refer to a pre-existing condition as a health condition that exists before starting a new healthcare plan. However, in the context of personal injury claims, it means a health problem that existed before the accident happened.
Pre-existing conditions encompass genetic problems, long-term diseases, physical injuries, and all medical conditions and ailment types that impact your daily health or life.
Will a Pre-Existing Condition Impact Your Ability to Obtain Compensation?
No. In Texas, having a pre-existing condition or injury will not affect your right to obtain compensation.
This is thanks to what is commonly called the ‘eggshell skull’ doctrine. This doctrine states that the at-fault person is liable for the injuries they caused their victim, regardless of the victim’s prior injuries.
The person whose wrongful actions were responsible for an accident does not need to know your pre-existing condition existed in order to be responsible for the increased level of injury.
What Happens if an Accident Aggravates a Pre-Existing Injury?
Pre-existing back injuries can be among the most common pre-existing injuries. Such a condition may be caused by a herniated disc from a previous accident, or a condition such as degenerative disc disease.
If somebody suffering a pre-existing back injury was injured in a car accident, their prior back injury could make them more likely to sustain damage than a healthy person with no pre-existing back injury. Similarly, an existing brain injury could be made much worse by repeated head trauma.
Thanks to the eggshell skull doctrine, that person’s pre-existing back injury would not hinder their recovery as long as they had an experienced personal injury attorney representing them.
How Could an Insurance Company use Your Pre-Existing Condition Against You?
Unfortunately, there are some ways pre-existing conditions can make personal injury cases more difficult. This is usually the fault of an insurance company, who will often attempt all avenues to avoid paying fair compensation to protect their bottom line by trying to pass off the injuries caused by one accident as being due to unrelated pre-existing conditions.
How to Stop Pre-Existing Medical Conditions From Impacting Your Personal Injury Claim
The best way to fight trickery from insurance companies is to arm yourself with an experienced personal injury attorney from a reputable law firm.
Your personal injury lawyer can help in this situation by providing an expert witness. In this case, a medical expert can testify that the pre-existing condition is unrelated to the accident you were involved in later.
How Else Could an Insurance Company Devalue Your Personal Injury Claim?
An insurance company may try to negatively affect the value of your claim in ways that do not relate to previous conditions. It is important to know these too, and to always speak to a personal injury lawyer before speaking with an insurance company.
Insurance companies are known for trying to:
- Take advantage of your shaken post-accident state to cause you to divulge unnecessary information that damages your claim
- Trick you into signing a document that implies you are the at-fault party in the accident
- Ask you to agree to a recorded interview that will ask incomplete and/or misleading questions meant to minimize your claim or make you seem at fault for the accident.
Never do any of these. You should also be aware that an insurance company may claim that the damages caused to you are worth less due to your pre-existing condition in order to weaken your negotiating position. Do not believe them.
What Damages are Available in a Personal Injury Case Involving a Pre-Existing Injury?
The damages you could be entitled to with a pre-existing injury are the same as the damages from any other type of personal injury claim.
These will depend on the specifics of your case, especially how you were impacted and what complications you suffered as a result. Generally speaking, the more severe the complications, the higher your amount of fair compensation could be.
Available damages include:
- Reimbursement of the cost of your medical bills
- Reimbursement of lost wages
- Coverage of future medical bills now necessary because of the accident
- Pain and suffering damages
- Compensation for emotional anguish
- Coverage of out-of-pocket expenses, such as public transport or childcare services you would not have had to use otherwise
- Loss of consortium or household services
- Property damage
- Wrongful death, if your loved one lost their life in an accident
The best way to find out which of these damages apply to your case is to contact an attorney from our law firm for a free legal consultation.
How Long Do You Have to Make a Personal Injury Claim?
In Texas, you only have a limited amount of time after your accident to make a claim. This period of time is generally two years, and it is known as the statute of limitations.
Once two years have passed, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries through legal action if you have not filed your lawsuit.
Two years may sound like a lot of time. However, you should not delay. If you waste time, key evidence could become lost or the legal teams representing the negligent party or insurance companies can get an upper hand assembling their defenses. If you are injured and it was not your fault, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
We Work on a Contingency Basis
Many Americans are under the false impression that worthwhile legal representation is out of their price range.
At Abraham Watkins, we firmly believe that financial justice after an accident should not be kept from those who cannot afford to pay exorbitant legal fees before their case even begins. That is why we conduct all of our personal injury work on a contingency basis.
This means that your case will be no-win-no-fee. If your attorney guides you to success, their fees will only be taken as a percentage of your final settlement – with no upfront costs or hidden extra fees. If your case is not a success, the entire process will cost you nothing at all.
Call Abraham Watkins Today
Pre-existing conditions affect millions of Americans, but they should not impact your right to compensation. That is why Abraham Watkins is here to support your personal injury case, whether you suffered your injuries in a car accident, a work accident, or in any other way.
Our law firm has been pursuing justice on behalf of our clients for over 70 years. We have the skills, knowledge, and compassion necessary to handle your case in a professional, encouraging, and determined way.
Contact us for a free consultation and we will talk through the details of your case and what the legal process will look like for you. All of this comes at no obligation, in an entirely confidential environment.
If you would like to find out more about how a personal injury lawyer from our firm could help you, call 713-535-9319 today.