The Role of Pre-Existing Conditions in Injury Claims

Written By: Darl Champion

Date Posted: 11.28.23

Category: Personal Injury

Not all injuries sustained in car accidents, slip-and-fall cases, or pedestrian accidents are entirely new. Sometimes, the injuries you sustain make an already present injury or health condition worse. When this happens, many people fear that they won’t be able to win an injury case. But that’s not necessarily true.

In this post, we’ll discuss what these pre-existing injuries mean for your personal injury case, and how you can still get justice for the aggravation of such injuries.

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is any health issue that was already present before a certain date. In the case of a personal injury case, this would mean any health problem or concern you already had prior to being further injured by the negligent party.

For example, if you were already experiencing back pain, but it gets worse after you are rear-ended in a car accident or you slip and fall, you would have a pre-existing injury that was aggravated. These types of cases are called aggravation of pre-existing injury claims.

Can a Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Injury Case?

The tricky thing about pre-existing conditions is that they can make proving injury by the at-fault party more challenging. The other party’s defense will almost certainly try to claim that the injury was not caused by their client but, rather, your pre-existing condition. They may call in their own expert witnesses, such as medical professionals, to testify to that belief. They will use this defense to try to reduce the extent of the injuries you can attribute to their client.

However, just because you have a pre-existing condition doesn’t mean you can’t prove the aggravation of the injury by the negligent party. In fact, our attorneys have extensive experience doing just this. Learn more about how we go about providing aggravation of a condition in the next section.

How Do You Prove Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition?

There are several tactics an experienced personal injury attorney will use to go about proving the aggravation of an existing injury. Before we elaborate on what they are though, it needs to be said that the best thing you can do to ensure the success of your case is to be honest with your attorney about any pre-existing conditions. After all, if you don’t make your lawyer aware of these conditions, they won’t be able to accurately represent your case.

A common misconception many plaintiffs have is that if they admit to a pre-existing condition they won’t be able to claim damages. Not only is this not true but, if you attempt to hide information about previous injuries or health problems, the defense could uncover these in discovery and bring them up at trial, which would seriously hurt your credibility with any jury. It’s better to be fully open and honest with your attorney at the start so they can accurately represent you and your medical history in your case.

If you are upfront and fully disclose all of your prior health problems, your attorney can use a number of strategies to prove the aggravation of your pre-existing condition:

  • Showing imaging studies of the injury prior to the accident (previous X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, etc.) and comparing them to updated studies to show the injury was made worse
  • Presenting medical records before and after the injury was aggravated to show the change in condition
  • Interviewing and presenting testimony from your medical providers
  • Interviewing and presenting testimony from witnesses to the pre-existing condition and aggravation of the condition, such as friends and family members who saw your condition worsen after the incident
  • Evidence showing you engaged in activities before the accident that you are no longer able to do, including photographs, diaries, or testimony of witnesses

In short, proving the aggravation of a pre-existing condition can require additional steps by your attorney, but holding the negligent party accountable can be done if you have the right attorney on your side.

How to Win a Personal Injury Case with a Pre-Existing Condition

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s actions and are worried a pre-existing condition could negatively affect your case, reach out to The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. today. Our award-winning team of attorneys will help you get the full amount of compensation for your case by specifically addressing the pre-existing condition the at-fault party aggravated.

All initial consultations are free and convenient for you: We are open 24/7 and you can reach us by calling the number, filling out the form, or using the website chat box located on this page. We also operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no up-front costs nor anything at all until we win your case for you. If for some reason we aren’t successful, you don’t pay us anything. Don’t wait any longer. Contact us today!

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.