Pre-existing Injuries May Affect a Personal Injury Settlement

In many personal injury cases, the injured victim may face opposition from a defendant’s insurance company due to the fact that the plaintiff has a pre-existing injury. Although a plaintiff may not collect damages for prior injuries, the plaintiff is entitled to damages for physical or mental condition that were made worse. Pre-existing injuries may either affect an injury settlement negatively or positively. When an injured person is examined by doctors, they ask about prior injuries and health conditions, and report it in the medical records. Medical records are very useful in a personal injury case.

Disclose Any Pre-existing Injuries

It is important to let the personal injury attorney know about the pre-existing injuries. Failure to do so could seriously impugn the chances of a fair settlement. Especially if the new injuries affect the same part of body with pre-existing injuries. Non-disclosure of pre-existing injuries can jeopardize the entire claim and the plaintiff could lose credibility and possibly face fines or counter-suits as a result.

The Egg-Shell Plaintiff

“Egg-shell” plaintiff argument states that just because someone is more susceptible to injuries, does not mean that they are entitled to less compensation because of the pre-existing condition.

This theory is effective in fighting the defense tactics of attribution and reasonableness when dealing with soft-tissue, minor-impact cases in particular.

Comparing Medical Records

An injury attorney can compare past medical records and diagnostic tests with current ones to objectively verify how the accident worsened the plaintiff’s prior condition.

Based on the medical reports from X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic tests, it can be affirmed as to how the accident has affected and even worsened the plaintiff’s condition. Such a testimony affects the amount of medical costs attributable to the defendant’s conduct that may be awarded to the plaintiff.

Therefore, pre-existing injuries can positively or negatively affect a personal injury settlement based on two main factors:

  1. The injured person is transparent about any pre-existing injuries to his/her personal injury attorney and the doctor.
  2. The attorney makes “Egg-shell” plaintiff argument and proves how the accident has affected and even worsened the plaintiff’s condition.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one is involved in a personal injury case with pre-existing injuries, call us today to discuss your case with our attorneys at (845)-709-8005/ (800)-940-1799.

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