Can I Be Compensated for Pre-Existing Conditions After a Car Accident?

Insurance companies and at-fault drivers search for ways to avoid liability for a car accident claim. A common tactic used by insurance adjusters to deny claims is alleging the victim’s injuries were the result of a pre-existing condition. Individuals who may not understand the law might accept this argument and give up pursuing damages.

Having a pre-existing condition can impact your car accident claim. However, it does not automatically prevent you from receiving compensation for damages. If you have a pre-existing condition, you will benefit from discussing your case with a Nashville car accident lawyer.

What Are Pre-Existing Conditions in a Car Accident Case?

What Are Pre-Existing Conditions in a Car Accident Case?

A pre-existing condition is an underlying medical or physical condition that you had before you were involved in the car accident. A pre-existing condition can be any medical issue or condition, including but not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Heart disease
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Whiplash
  • Extreme obesity
  • Epilepsy
  • Asthma
  • Pregnancy
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions

The insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a medical records authorization or release. Be careful! You could be signing a release to allow access to all your medical records. It is best to allow a car accident lawyer to handle the insurance company for you.

How Does a Pre-Existing Condition Impact My Nashville Personal Injury Case?

Accident victims have the right to seek compensation for their injuries, financial losses, and emotional trauma. Personal injury laws are designed to make a victim “whole” again after an accident through a monetary award for damages.

However, at-fault drivers are only liable for the damages they cause. Therefore, if you have pre-existing conditions, you would need to prove:

  • The at-fault driver owed you a legal duty of care
  • The driver breached the duty of care by acting without reasonable care
  • The driver’s actions were a direct and proximate cause of the car accident
  • You sustained new injuries and/or the accident worsened or aggravated your pre-existing condition
  • You incurred damages and losses because of the accident

The damages you receive depend on the circumstances and factors in your case. If you sustained new injuries, you can recover compensation based on them. If the accident aggravated your pre-existing injuries, you can also claim compensation for those damages.

The Eggshell Skull Rule and Pre-Existing Conditions After a Car Accident in Nashville, TN

The Eggshell Skull Rule is a common law doctrine that creates liability for damages related to a victim’s uncommon or unforeseeable reactions to a party’s negligence. The injured party in a personal injury case is taken in an “as is” condition. In other words, the at-fault driver can be held liable for damages even if the accident victim had a higher risk of injury because of a pre-existing condition.

For example, suppose that an accident victim had a prior back injury that made them more susceptible to a spinal cord injury. The at-fault driver would be liable for the spinal cord injury even though the victim may not have sustained the injury had it not been for the prior back injury.

The Eggshell Skull Rule would arguably apply such that even though the victim had a higher risk of sustaining a spinal injury, the injury would not have occurred had it not been for the driver’s negligent acts. Therefore, the driver is still responsible for damages arising from the spinal cord injury.

What Damages Can I Recover for a Pre-Existing Condition After a Car Accident in Nashville, TN?

The damages for a pre-existing condition after a car accident are the same types of damages awarded in other car accident claims. The only difference is ensuring you can prove that the car crash directly caused your current injuries and damages.

Car accident victims can recover economic and non-economic damages. Examples of damages for a car accident claim involving a pre-existing condition could include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Property damage
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Rehabilitative therapies
  • Decreases in future earning capacity
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Nursing and/or personal care
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Permanent impairments and disabilities
  • Diminished quality of life

You can recover damages for new injuries or the worsening of pre-existing conditions.

What Should You Do if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition After a Nashville Car Accident?

Contact a Nashville car accident attorney as soon as possible. Tell your lawyer about the pre-existing condition. Your attorney will determine when to tell the insurance company and the information the company needs regarding your pre-existing condition.

Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Medical records provide essential proof that you sustained injuries after a car accident. You are unlikely to receive a settlement for your claim without medical proof of injuries.

Your attorney may help you locate a medical specialist to evaluate your injuries. Medical opinions from experts can strengthen your case.

What you do not want to do is try to deal with the insurance company on your own or try to conceal a pre-existing condition. Mistakes you make could hurt your case.

What Is the Deadline To File a Claim for Pre-Existing Conditions After a Car Accident in Tennessee?

The Tennessee statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is one year from the injury or accident date. This deadline would apply to car accident cases involving pre-existing conditions.

Missing the deadline to file a claim has severe consequences. A judge can dismiss your lawsuit for no other reason than you filed it too late. You would lose your right to pursue a court claim even though you have a valid claim.

Don’t wait to seek legal advice. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better, as there are exceptions that can change the time limit.

Get Help With Your Car Accident Claim in Nashville, TN

Car accident cases can be challenging to navigate, especially with a pre-existing condition. Call Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation with a Nashville car accident lawyer. Our attorneys are qualified to handle claims involving pre-existing conditions. Contacts us at (615) 685-8546.