Effects of Pre-Existing Conditions on Personal Injury Claims

The Berger Firm Oct. 12, 2023

When you are involved in an accident and file a personal injury claim, the insurance company will usually assign a claims adjuster to your case. One of the routine questions an insurance adjuster asks a claimant when processing their claim is, “Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?”  

If you do, you might be hesitant to tell the truth, thinking that your pre-existing conditions could prevent you from obtaining compensation. However, even though having a pre-existing condition can make the claims process a little more complicated, it does not preclude you from recovering damages. This matter involves legal nuances and may require the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney.  

With more than 50 years of experience, our attorneys at The Berger Firm have handled thousands of personal injury claims for injured victims in Covington, Kentucky, and other parts of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Many of our clients have had pre-medical conditions but we helped them develop a strategy to maximize compensation.  

The Accident Aggravated My Pre-Existing Medical Condition: What Can I Do?

When someone with a pre-existing medical condition gets into an accident, it is not uncommon for the condition they had before the accident to become aggravated and get worse. Given that Kentucky is a choice no-fault state, the injured victim has two options for compensation:  

  1. File a claim with their own insurance company without the need to prove anyone else’s fault if they carry “personal injury protection” coverage (no-fault insurance); or 

  1. File a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company if they can prove their policyholder’s fault if the victim opted out of the no-fault insurance system.  

Your Pre-Existing Medical Condition Should Not Stop You From Seeking Compensation

While personal injury cases can become more complicated when a victim has a pre-existing condition, it should not stop them from filing a claim for compensation. Under the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, a person with a pre-existing condition is entitled to compensation even if their condition contributed to their injuries. Under this rule, the at-fault party takes the victim as they find him/her, even if the victim is as fragile as an eggshell (hence the name).  

While the victim can seek compensation for the losses and damages resulting from their new conditions and aggravation of their pre-existing condition, they cannot obtain compensation for the conditions that either existed before the accident or were not affected by the recent accident. Insurance companies often argue that the accident did not affect the claimant’s pre-existing condition in an attempt to deny their claim or pay as little as possible. 

Your Attorney Needs to Know About Pre-Existing Conditions

Your attorney is the only person you should trust to help you file your personal injury claim. For this reason, it’s critical that you talk to your attorney about any pre-existing conditions you have before you file your claim/disclose information about your health to the insurance company.  

Some common examples of pre-existing medical conditions are: 

  • back pain 

  • shoulder injuries 

  • knee injuries 

  • neck injuries 

  • spinal cord injuries 

  • traumatic brain injuries 

  • wrist and hand injuries 

  • degenerative disc disease 

  • broken/fractured bones 

  • hip and pelvis injuries 

  • anxiety 

  • post-traumatic stress disorder 

  • depression

Once your attorney knows about your pre-existing conditions, he or she will develop a strategy for navigating the claims process to maximize your compensation. If you think your pre-existing condition was made worse by the accident, your attorney can help you establish the degree to which the accident aggravated your condition to calculate a fair amount of compensation. 

Work With an Experienced Attorney 

If you have been involved in an accident that aggravated your pre-existing medical condition or made it worse, contact The Berger Firm. Our attorneys will analyze your case and help you understand the steps you should take to maximize your compensation when filing a personal injury claim. Get practical and dedicated advocacy you can trust. Reach out to our office today so we can schedule a free consultation.