Claiming compensation from an insurer following an automobile accident is seldom straightforward. Throw in a preexisting medical condition and your case becomes more complex, making it necessary to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Here's what you need to know about your preexisting condition and seeking compensation from a negligent driver.
A preexisting condition is an injury or medical condition that you have lived with prior to being an accident victim. Preexisting medical conditions may be symptomatic or asymptomatic.
A preexisting condition that does not present aggressive symptoms does not disqualify you from receiving due compensation after an auto accident.
Preexisting conditions that tend to worsen following an accident include neck, back, shoulder, and head injuries; arthritis; herniated and degenerated discs; and strains on other parts of the body.
In Louisiana, negligent parties are responsible only for the harm they cause and not for conditions in which they are not blameworthy. However, the driver at fault may be liable for the harm that a victim with a preexisting medical condition sustains.
Individuals with a preexisting condition are particularly vulnerable to additional harm and injury when they are involved in an accident. In such cases, the Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine is applicable.
According to the Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine, a negligent party is responsible for compensating a victim with a preexisting condition if the condition was stable and if the victim was not anticipating that their condition would worsen had it not been for the accident.
The Eggshell Doctrine essentially protects you from the whims of an insurance company that may attempt to disapprove the relationship between the harm you have sustained from the accident and your existing condition.
However, you have the burden of proof to show the court that the accident in question aggravated your underlying injuries or condition.
If you have a preexisting condition, you may pursue compensation for current and expected medical expenses, emotional distress, and physical pain that was aggravated by an accident.
The court will determine your eligibility for compensation based on the strength of the medical evidence you provide showing that the accident indeed worsened your existing injuries or condition.
The primary evidence you will need to present to the court includes past and current medical records.
Past Medical Records
Past medical records prove that indeed you have an existing medical condition or injury. If you are still receiving treatment or taking medication for the condition, be sure to present evidence of your ongoing treatment regimen.
Before forwarding any medical records to the insurance company, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer for advice on the appropriate documents you need to support your case.
Current Medical Records
Gather your most recent medical records following the accident. These will indicate whether the harm you sustained resulted from the accident or from your existing condition.
Ask your physician to provide comprehensive notes demonstrating how the accident aggravated your existing condition or injury.
If you prove that the accident worsened your condition, the court will require the insurer to compensate you for the monetary and non-monetary damages you may have suffered due to the accident's aggravation of your condition.
Monetary damages may include past and future medical expenses and lost wages. Non-monetary damages may constitute loss of consortium, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
An auto accident can turn your life upside down - more so if are already struggling with a separate injury or medical condition. The defendant's insurer may flat out refuse to compensate you or may offer a low settlement if they determine that you have an underlying medical condition.
Avoid the back and forth with the insurance company and speak to an experienced personal injury attorney instead. At the Law Office of Randolph C. Slone, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with us today for a free initial consultation.