Pre-existing conditions can make recovering from a car accident very challenging, but under Georgia law, they do not prevent compensation. Insurance companies are very motivated to prove that an auto accident victim’s injuries are pre-existing in order to avoid paying for medical bills. In Georgia, that at-fault party is responsible for compensating the injured person as they come. In other words, if a person with a pre-existing condition is injured in a car accident and their condition is worsened by the accident, the at-fault party (insert link to at-fault driver blog) is liable.
Pre-existing conditions do not prevent compensation
Pre-existing conditions can make compensation a little more challenging, but they do not prevent a victim from compensation. It is also important to remember that not all car accident claims will be successful. In the past, some have used pre-existing conditions that were not exacerbated by an accident to win money from insurance companies or individuals. This is why it can be a tricky process to prove that the victim is telling the truth about their condition and how the accident affected them. If you are in this situation, make sure you are telling the truth about your condition and accident to insurance companies, attorneys, and the court.
The “eggshell skull” rule
The eggshell skull rule, or the eggshell plaintiff legal theory, requires at-fault drivers to take the injured as they are. The defendant is responsible for their harmful actions on the road regardless of the conditions of the injured party. Yes, a pre-existing condition can make a driver more susceptible to injury or sustaining more injury than someone who does not suffer from those prior injuries, but the liable party must typically still pay for those injuries. As a result, it is vital that pre-existing injuries be well documented and demonstrated to the court in order for the injured to receive fair and accurate compensation.
Examples of pre-existing conditions
A pre-existing condition can be any emotional or physical medical illness, condition, or injury a victim has before an accident. While many kinds of conditions can affect a personal injury claim, most pre-existing conditions are long-term or chronic in nature.
A few common examples:
Depression or anxiety
Back and spine injuries
Pervious bone fractures
High blood pressure
PTSD and other mental health conditions
How do I prove that my injuries were exacerbated by an accident?
There are a number of ways you can provide documentation to demonstrate that your pre-existing condition was exacerbated by an accident:
Be ready with documentation
If an insurance company needs “proof” that your pre-existing condition was worsened by an accident, you will need to gather some evidence. You will need to obtain all medical records, X-rays, MRI and CT scans, and any other documents or tests which demonstrate your condition before and after the accident. You might also need the testimony of a medical professional or expert witness to validate and interpret these records for the court. Be sure to speak with your attorney about what documents and evidence will be necessary to prove your case.
Always tell your attorney about pre-existing conditions
If you do have pre-existing conditions before an accident, always inform your attorney. Your attorney cannot properly represent you if they do not have the full story about your health condition before and after the accident. Even if your pre-existing conditions were not exacerbated by the accident, informing your attorney means that there will be no surprises when they take depositions or litigate on your behalf.
What if I was unaware of my pre-existing condition?
If you know of any pre-existing conditions, it is very important that you disclose them to your attorney during your insurance claim process. Intentionally withholding this information could not only reduce your compensation but could also result in criminal charges. If there are existing conditions you were unaware of before the accident, you may be able to prove that withholding them was unintentional by using the testimony of your doctor and your medical records.
How can an attorney help?
If you are trying to figure out how to prove that your pre-existing conditions are worsened by your accident, a reputable personal injury attorney will represent your case so that you can receive the compensation you deserve. These kinds of claims can be very challenging to navigate alone so hiring a professional with a track record for winning personal injury insurance claims is the best way to see compensation and justice.
Getting help after a car accident
If your pre-existing conditions have been exacerbated by a car accident, call (678) 819-5200 for a personal injury attorney with the experience and knowledge it takes to fight for your compensation.