If you file a personal injury claim after a car accident, you will likely be asked about your medical history. Insurance companies will use this information to assess your car accident injuries and to identify any medical condition that might be considered a pre-existing condition. They might try to use the pre-existing condition to cast doubt on the severity of your injuries.
But if the car accident caused your pre-existing condition to worsen, you may still be able to obtain a fair recovery. Although the defendant does not pay for treatment you needed before the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for treatment you now need because of the crash.
The Eggshell Skull Rule
The eggshell skull rule, also referred to as the thin skull rule, says that you take your victim as you find them. In other words, the fragility, weakness, or frailty of the injured party can’t be used as a defense in a personal injury claim to reduce the liability of the driver who caused the accident. It’s common for attorneys to use the eggshell skull rule when an accident caused by a negligent driver exacerbates the victim’s pre-existing condition. This rule requires that the defendant take complete responsibility for all damages caused to the victim.
For example, an accident victim may have a bad back that they are currently treating with medication. After an accident, however, their bad back may be aggravated to the point that they need physical therapy or other treatment. The plaintiff will likely be responsible for paying for those additional expenses.
How to Strengthen Your Pre-Existing Condition Case
Be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the crash. Your medical record will be crucial for proving your case. You may be entitled to compensation for new injuries as well as those related to a pre-existing condition.
It’s also important to see an attorney. Once an insurance company discovers a pre-existing medical condition, they will likely offer you significantly lower compensation than you deserve. They might go so far as to tell you that you cannot recover damages for injuries that are related to your pre-existing condition. Having an attorney on your side to deal with the insurance company—and even file a lawsuit if necessary—can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Virginia vehicle accident attorneys of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC by using the form on this page.