Accidents are very scary events that can affect people physically, mentally, and emotionally. Especially when a person has a pre-existing medical condition, showing proof of the underlying condition can prove to be a challenge.
Some people are born with pre-existing medical conditions and others have prior injuries. These underlying conditions can make folks more susceptible to injury. If a person born with a pre-existing condition is involved in a relatively minor accident, the person's doctor will often say that his or her body reacted like it was a severe accident, because of the underlying medical condition. In legal speak, you may hear this called the egg shell plaintiff. What this means is that because of an underlying condition, the person was injured much more than expected.
Compensation Guidelines for Those with Pre-existing Medical Conditions
People with pre-existing medical conditions often ask if it is still possible to receive fair compensation for injuries, or if their underlying medical condition or problem is going to hurt the claim. This is a loaded question because the odds are that the insurance companies will take the position that the accident was minor, and that the person involved in the accident is faking or exaggerating the injuries.
Like all other businesses, the insurance company's job is to try to save money. However, the law is very clear that the person at fault causing the injury takes the injured person as she finds her. He or she is not relieved a responsibility because of an underlying or pre-existing condition that makes the person more susceptible to any type of injury.
If an insurance company suspects that the severity of the person's accident injury is due to an underlying or pre-existing medical condition, then the company will demand the person's medical prior medical records. The company may also try to identify any other previous injuries similar to those suffered at the time of the accident. The person's recoverable damages may be reduced if the insurance company can show proof that the person did, in fact, have a pre-existing condition that contributed to the injuries sustained in the accident.
There are situations, however, when a doctor will discover a degenerative condition that never appeared on the person's medical record. The degenerative condition would then be considered an incidental finding and would likely not affect recoverable damages. These types of cases are dependent on your treating doctor's testimony, which is one reason you should never withhold your past medical history from your doctor. You never want to put your doctor in a position to be in trial or in deposition and she is asked the question, “DID YOU KNOW” and the response is “THE PATIENT DIDN'T TELL ME THAT.”
Contact Our Trusted Northwest Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys
For over 18 years, attorney Guy DiMartino has represented his clients in personal injury cases. If you have any questions about the legal process or have been injured, please call Guy DiMartino Law pat 219-690-8897 to get the help you deserve.