Will a Pre-existing Condition Affect My Car Accident Settlement?

car accident aggravated pre existing condition settlement

An existing health issue shouldn’t be a get-out-of-jail-free card for insurance companies after a car accident. Yet, they often try to lowball settlements by claiming your injuries were pre-existing rather than caused by the crash.

Don’t let them devalue your claim – understanding how pre-existing conditions impact accident cases is critical to getting every penny you deserve.

If an accident exacerbated your condition or led to new complications, you have every right to compensation for that additional damage. With legal representation and irrefutable medical evidence linking your worsened state to the accident, you can shut down unfair “pre-existing” arguments.

Pre-Existing Conditions and Car Accidents

In the context of personal injury law, a pre-existing medical condition refers to any physical or mental health issue that you had before the accident occurred. Common examples include:

  • Pre-existing chronic back or neck pain
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Previous surgeries or healing injuries
  • Conditions like depression or anxiety

The key factor is whether the car accident caused a documented and measurable aggravation or exacerbation of your pre-existing symptoms. Perhaps your herniated disc became far more debilitating after the collision’s jarring impact. Or the head trauma triggered severe migraines and cognitive issues stemming from a prior concussion.

How Car Accidents Can Aggravate Pre-Existing Injuries

Even a relatively minor fender-bender can apply incredible force to the body and trigger a cascade of physiological reactions. Soft tissues can be strained or torn, bones can fracture, and the sudden deceleration can cause the brain to collide with the inner skull.

For those with pre-existing conditions, this trauma doesn’t occur in a vacuum – it layers on top of already compromised areas of the body. Consider, for example, a victim who experiences a back injury. After undergoing years of successful treatment, a violent, head-on crash can reinjure multiple herniated discs and require emergency spinal surgery.

Having thorough medical documentation would play a vital role in this victim demonstrating just how severely the accident aggravated their pre-existing condition.

Insurance Companies’ Approach to Pre-Existing Conditions

As personal injury attorneys, Pasternack Injury Law Group is intimately familiar with the tactics insurance companies employ to devalue or outright deny claims that involve pre-existing conditions.

Their arguments tend to follow a predictable pattern:

  1. The injuries aren’t really that bad
  2. The injuries are just a continuation of your client’s pre-existing symptoms
  3. The accident couldn’t possibly have aggravated the condition to such a degree

Insurers will comb through years of medical records to find any evidence that could suggest that your symptoms haven’t markedly worsened since the accident. They’ll request countless pages of documentation. In some cases, they may even demand that you undergo independent medical exams performed by doctors handpicked by (and potentially biased toward) their legal team.

Calculating Fair Settlement Values for Aggravated Conditions

Determining an appropriate settlement value for injuries that involve pre-existing conditions is a complex and nuanced process. We must account for every possible angle while factoring in both past and future costs.

  • If your condition will now require far more extensive treatment or accommodations, those costs must be calculated and included in your settlement.
  • If you cannot return to your previous job or career, calculations must be made regarding your lost earning potential.
  • In many cases, general damages like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life activities should also be compensated.

To build a strong case, car accident lawyers often rely on expert witnesses and testimony from medical and economic specialists. Their authoritative input helps quantify and substantiate the actual harm caused by the aggravation of your pre-existing condition.

Leverage in Pre-Existing Condition Injury Cases

At Pasternack Injury Law Group, we’ve amassed a proven track record of favorably resolving even the most complicated personal injury cases through skilled negotiation or litigation when necessary.

Our team has fought the biggest insurance carriers, overcoming their predictable objections and bad-faith tactics to secure multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients.

But our results speak for themselves. Just read the testimonials from grateful clients whose lives were forever altered by accident, then made whole again through our tenacious advocacy and elite legal strategy.

Protecting Your Rights With a Pre-Existing Condition

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence and have a pre-existing health condition, protecting your rights from the very start is critical.

  1. Seek immediate medical attention.
  2. Get a full evaluation and diagnosis.
  3. Follow your treatment plan to the letter.
  4. Maintain detailed documentation of all your care and any expenses stemming from the accident.

Even if you’re unsure whether your accident relates to a pre-existing condition, it’s better to let the Pasternack Injury Law Group properly investigate and establish the connections during the initial claim process.

By having a staunch legal advocate in your corner from day one, you’ll maximize the chances of obtaining a fair settlement that reflects all of your damages. A settlement that accounts for what you’ve been through, what you currently face, and all the future hardships caused by an accident that aggravated your pre-existing condition.

If you or a loved one have had a pre-existing condition worsened by a car accident in California, contact Pasternack Injury Law Group today for a free consultation.

Author Bio

Barry A. Pasternack

Barry Pasternack brings over three decades of legal experience to his role as the founding attorney at Pasternack Injury Law Group. He holds a J.D. from the esteemed California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, and has been a member of the California State Bar since 1988. Located in downtown San Diego, Barry’s practice serves clients throughout the San Diego region, providing comprehensive guidance and representation.

Barry’s commitment to his clients is unwavering, and your initial consultation is always free of charge. You only pay attorney’s fees when he successfully recovers compensation on your behalf. When you choose Barry Pasternack, you’re selecting a skilled legal professional who will tirelessly fight for your rights and work diligently to help you on your path to recovery.

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