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Can Pre-Existing Injuries Affect My Personal Injury Case?

A car crash, slip and fall, or any other type of accident can result in some of the most serious injuries. When you suffer from a pre-existing injury though, an accident can exacerbate them and make them worse. Many people wonder if their pre-existing condition bars them from filing a personal injury claim. The answer is absolutely not. 

The purpose of personal injury claims is to restore you to the condition you were in prior to the accident. As such, while you may not be able to claim compensation for the pre-existing condition, you can claim compensation for any injury that made it worse.

What is a Pre-Existing Injury?

A pre-existing injury or condition is one you suffered from prior to the accident. The accident can worsen this injury, putting your health at even greater risk. Some of the most common pre-existing injuries are as follows:

  • Back injuries
  • Herniated or slipped discs
  • Ligament injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Degenerative disk disease

It is important to note that even if you did not suffer from a pre-existing injury prior to your accident, the insurance company may claim you were. They do this to shift fault from the individual they represent to you, so they are not liable for paying the full damages you deserve.

Pre-Existing Injuries and the Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine

Pre-existing conditions can make you more susceptible to sustaining serious injuries during an accident. For example, you may have a minor back injury. After becoming involved in an accident, that injury may worsen to the point where you require surgery for it. This concept is known as the eggshell plaintiff doctrine. Essentially, this doctrine states that you were in a more vulnerable position prior to your accident, or that your injury was like an eggshell. The accident cracked that eggshell, making your injuries worse.

The law states that as a plaintiff, you are still entitled to recover damages that worsened your pre-existing condition. It does not matter if you already knew about the pre-existing injury or if it was discovered as you received treatment after the accident. However, you have the burden of proof of showing that your injury was aggravated as a result of the accident. 

To prove the initial injury was aggravated usually requires strong medical evidence. Medical documentation can show how badly you were injured before the accident, so you can compare it to how badly injured you are now. The defendant is then responsible for paying damages for the worsening of your injury.

Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Illinois Can Help You Claim Full Damages

Pre-existing conditions can make the claims process a bit trickier than other injury claims. At Brassfield & Krueger, Ltd., our Illinois personal injury lawyers know the challenges these claims present, and how to overcome them so you can claim the full financial compensation you deserve. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation and to learn more about how we can help.

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