Pre-existing conditions can greatly alter the value of your personal injury claim depending on how they relate to your new injuries and some other factors. It could make your claim worth much more, or it could make it worthless. The results can vary from case to case, so it’s important to understand the theories about pre-existing conditions and the importance of proper documentation and representation.

How It Might Help:

A pre-existing condition has the potential to make your claim worth more because aggravating an existing injury can be more painful and more difficult to treat compared to a new injury. Under the lay, the “egg-shell plaintiff theory” says that a defendant must take the plaintiff as is. For example, if person A hits someone with his or her car, and that someone has very brittle bones, Person A cannot argue to reduce liability by suggesting that a person with stronger bones would not have been injured. If that argument were to work, the victim would be under-compensated for his/her injuries. It is not the victim’s fault that he/she has brittle bones, just like it’s not the victim’s fault person A hit him/her with a car. Likewise, if an older individual or someone already suffering from back pain is in a car accident, he or she may have worse whiplash than a younger individual or someone without a pre-existing condition.

If your pre-existing condition is documented and your treating physician can go on record to state that, although it exists, all of the complications and new treatments presented in the case are from the most recent injury or accident, it is likely that you will be able to recover all of your related medical bills.

How It Might Hurt:

A pre-existing condition could make your claim worthless because it raises suspicion about the authenticity of your injuries and treatments. For example, if you have been regularly seeing a chiropractor for neck and back pain because of the physical requirements of your job, then continue to see that chiropractor after a crash due to worsened pain, your opposing insurance adjuster will likely try to have those visits removed from your claim total. The adjuster will argue that you are using the accident as an opportunity to aggressively over-treat injuries you already had, or that only a small part of the current treatments are related to the accident. This can result in a lower payout for your claim.

How To Get The Results You Need:

To minimize the chance for a loss on your claim due to a pre-existing condition, you need to make sure that your pre-existing condition a condition relating to the accident are well documented and verified by your physician. Additionally, securing an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in your case will increase your chances of an accurate, full payout.

If you or a loved one suffered an accident in the state of Colorado, and you have any questions, you should contact Malman Law Firm at 303-733-7900 or ilianameza@malmanlawfirm.com.

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