How a Preexisting Condition May Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on May 4, 2018 in Personal Injury
Updated on April 25, 2024

doctor talking to patient in hallwayPersonal injury victims are often afraid that they will be unable to obtain compensation if they have a pre-existing injury. However, you may still be able to recover compensation if you can prove your pre-existing injury is unrelated to your new injury or your new injury caused your existing illness to worsen.

A Milwaukee personal injury attorney at PKSD can help determine your legal options in a free, no obligation legal consultation. We are committed to pursuing all the compensation you deserve.

Building a Case When You Have a Pre-Existing Injury

You should always inform your attorney about any pre-existing medical issues, even if you believe they are not related to your claim. Your pre-existing injury will probably come up during the legal process, so it is better to let your lawyer know in advance so he or she can prepare the appropriate legal strategy.

Insurance companies and attorneys for the other side are looking for anything to use against you to reduce your compensation or avoid paying anything at all. If you wait to tell your attorney, he or she might have a lot more trouble obtaining fair compensation.

Your attorney can review the following information in your medical records to determine if you have a viable claim:

  • The body part affected by the old injury and the new injury
  • How much time passed between the old and new injuries
  • The status of your recovery from the pre-existing injury
  • Whether the new injury made the pre-existing injury worse

Your personal injury attorney will need to prove one of two things to have a chance of obtaining compensation:

  • The new injury was not caused by or related to your existing injury
  • The new injury caused your existing health problem to worsen

Eggshell Skull Rule

The eggshell skull rule is a legal concept that often comes up in cases where the victim has a pre-existing injury. This rule says the person who caused the injury is not immune to liability simply because the victim was more susceptible to injury because of a pre-existing condition.

The rule still applies even if the other side can establish they had no idea about the pre-existing illness or that someone without a pre-existing condition probably would not have suffered an injury in similar circumstances.

If you can prove the new injury was caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for all damages, even though your damages are probably worth more than they would be for someone who suffered a personal injury and did not have a pre-existing medical issue.

Common Pre-Existing Injuries

Some of the most common pre-existing injuries that are aggravated by personal injuries include the following:

  • Degenerative disc disease – This condition causes the deterioration of one or more discs in the spinal column. For many people, this condition develops as part of the natural aging process. However, a personal injury can make this condition flare up and may cause severe side effects that limit your mobility and make it difficult to return to work. These flare ups may be caused by a car accident or slip and fall.
  • Back injuries – Back injuries are a common work-related injury. They are often caused by heavy lifting or slips and falls. A new injury can aggravate an existing back injury.
  • Neck injuries – A pre-existing neck injury may have arisen because of a previous slip and fall or whiplash from a motor vehicle accident. It may require a careful analysis of ample medical evidence to help establish that the accident caused a new injury that is distinct from the old one.

Contact a Lawyer for Help

If you have a pre-existing injury, the personal injury attorneys at PKSD can carefully review your medical records to determine if compensation may be available. We can manage your case throughout the legal process as we defend your best interests.

Schedule a free legal consultation today so we can determine if you have a case. We do not charge for representing you unless we obtain compensation.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today or call us at 414-333-3333 .

Back to top