man with pre-existing condition at doctor

How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Personal injury claims involving prior accidents or pre-existing conditions can be challenging. The insurance company will likely minimize your injuries and damages by blaming them on your pre-existing condition. 

However, the law protects the rights of accident victims to receive compensation for the damages caused by another party, even if the victim’s condition puts them at a higher risk of injury in some situations. Our experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys understand the tactics used by insurance companies and how to fight back.

What Are Pre-Existing Conditions in a California Personal Injury Case?

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition you had before the date of your new injury or condition. Pre-existing conditions could be attributed to a prior accident or injury. They may also be caused by health conditions.

Examples of pre-existing conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Injured internal organs
  • Osteoporosis
  • Nerve disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Bulging or herniated disc
  • Arthritis
  • Dementia
  • Back injuries
  • Whiplash and neck injuries

An insurance company might use a pre-existing condition to claim that the accident did not cause your current condition or injuries. For instance, the company might state your brain injury resulted from a concussion you received playing football a few months ago.

The company might blame you for your injury. It might say that because of your pre-existing condition, you were injured. For example, you are paralyzed because of a prior back injury that weakened your spinal column.

Does California Recognize the Eggshell Skull Rule?

The Eggshell Skull Rule is a legal concept that requires at-fault parties to accept accident victims as they are at the time of the accident. In other words, a party can still be liable for damages even if a person might be predisposed to an injury or at a higher risk for an injury.

Therefore, you can receive damages for injuries caused by an accident, even if you have a pre-existing condition. However, you cannot receive compensation for the pre-existing condition itself. The damages are only paid for new injuries or a pre-existing condition made worse by the at-fault party’s conduct.

Damages for personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions can include economic and non-economic damages such as:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Long-term skilled care
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Impairments and disfigurements
  • A decrease in quality of life

The insurance company might deny your claim or offer a very low settlement amount. An attorney can help you hire medical specialists and experts who can offer testimony and other evidence to help prove that the accident is the direct and proximate cause of your condition.

Contact Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney 

The insurance company for the at-fault party will use whatever means necessary to avoid liability for a claim. Don’t let an insurance adjuster convince you that you are not entitled to compensation for damages because you have a pre-existing condition. Instead, contact Javaheri & Yahoudai for a free case review from an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney. 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.