Posted On September 22, 2020 Personal Injury

Can a Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Anytime a person is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another party, they will typically be able to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or through a lawsuit against the other party. However, these cases can become incredibly complicated, and there are various factors that can affect whether or not a victim receives compensation and how much they receive for their claim. Often, the insurance carrier of the at-fault party will try to use a victim’s pre-existing conditions against them in a personal injury case. Here, we want to discuss how a pre-existing condition can affect your personal injury claim.

Why Do Pre-Existing Conditions Matter?

On the face of the matter, it should not matter whether or not an injury victim has any pre-existing conditions if another person causes them harm. However, it is important to remind readers that insurance carriers are typically “for-profit” entities that will do anything in their power to limit the amount of money they payout in a settlement. One of the tactics insurance carriers use to justify paying lower settlements is by claiming that the victim’s pain and suffering in the aftermath of the injury are the result of a pre-existing condition and not the fault of the alleged negligent party.

For example, suppose Cathy is experiencing significant neck and back pain in the aftermath of a rear-end collision caused by Robert. However, Robert’s insurance carrier discovers that Cathy sustained a work injury that affected her neck and back ten years prior. Because of this, Robert’s insurance carrier could claim that Cathy’s pain and suffering has nothing to do with the rear-end collision and are entirely due to her previous injury incident.

Victims Should Still Be Able to Get Compensation

The reality is that the presence of a pre-existing condition should not mean that the injury victim received no compensation for what happened. While an injury victim should not be compensated for injuries that were present before an accident. However, it is often the case that an accident causes pre-existing conditions to worsen. When that occurs, victims should be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries to the extent that the incident made them worse. This is often referred to as an aggravation or exasperation of a pre-existing condition.

In order to prove that a pre-existing injury was aggravated or exasperated in an accident, an injury victim will need to provide sufficient evidence for their case. Often, this requires working with a skilled Ontario personal injury lawyer who has the resources to:

  • Obtain any evidence necessary to prove liability, which includes video or photo surveillance, statements from eyewitnesses, accident reports, etc.
  • Work with trusted medical professionals who can thoroughly examine the current injuries and properly show how the incident exasperated or aggravated pre-existing conditions.
  • Work with trusted financial and economic experts to calculate the injury victim’s total losses.

An attorney will use all of this information and work to negotiate a fair settlement on behalf of their client. If the insurance carrier of the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement based on the existence of pre-existing injuries, an attorney can file a lawsuit and take the case to trial.

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