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Do Pre-Existing Injuries Affect Claims?

If you’re currently living with an injury or chronic condition, you’re already living with pain. If an accident, a car wreck, or an act of negligence exacerbates your injury, the consequences can be severe. Your pain can become worse, your healing time could be delayed, and you might find yourself unable to work for an extended period, if ever again.

Now, if you had a pre-existing injury when your new injury occurred, workers’ compensation and personal injury claims can become a little more complicated. That said, complicated doesn’t mean impossible, especially if you have an experienced lawyer on your side.

The qualified New York State personal injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are ready to help you get the full compensation and benefits you deserve, even if you have a pre-existing injury. Dial 516-342-2200 now for a free consultation, or visit us online to schedule your free case evaluation today!

What Is A Pre-Existing Injury?

Many personal injury claims are filed when someone is injured in a slip, trip, fall, or car wreck. As a result, they suddenly find themselves in pain and dealing with muscular injuries and/or broken bones.

In contrast, a pre-existing injury is an injury you had before being examined or treated for another injury. In some cases, a pre-existing injury is worsened by an accident, injury, or act of negligence by someone else.

For instance, if you already have a documented back injury and you then experience a slip and fall injury, it may make your pre-existing back injury worse. This can complicate your case, as it may be challenging to determine the extent to which each injury contributed to your current condition. Here, a skilled NYS personal injury lawyer can help you effectively approach your situation and will work to make sure that you get all the money and benefits you’re entitled to.

How Can New Injuries Make Pre-Existing Injuries Worse?

One of the most common examples of a new injury making a pre-existing injury worse is the disruption of the healing process. If you’ve recently had surgery to address a medical condition, like a herniation in your spine or pins to set a broken bone, a new injury can completely undo the effects or results of your surgery. You’ll likely need to return to the operating table for a revision procedure you wouldn’t have needed if you hadn’t been injured during recovery.

Chronic conditions like arthritis or migraines can be made worse by severe injuries. If you suffer broken bones or a head injury, the effects of your injury can worsen the impact of the condition you already had. In some cases, the damage can be long-lasting or even irreversible.

This is where a claim can become complicated. The person who is responsible for your new injury isn’t responsible for your old injury, and they will try to make the argument that the old injury is the reason why the new injury is so severe.

The experienced New York State personal injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers won’t let those responsible for worsening your injuries escape accountability. Dial 516-342-2200 to start building your case today. Don’t wait! A dollar tomorrow isn’t the same as a dollar today. Get the money you deserve now.

Can You Still File A Claim With A Pre-Existing Injury?

Plaintiffs and insurance companies will likely do everything they can to avoid responsibility or pay you as little as possible for your personal injury claim. They’ll typically assert that your injury or condition existed before the event, and this limits their responsibility for what happened to you.

Accidents, negligence, and car crashes can (and often do) make pre-existing injuries or conditions worse. Insurance companies aren’t usually allowed to deny a personal injury claim just because someone has a pre-existing condition. This concept also includes people who may be more prone to injury or illness, like someone with a compromised immune system or someone with a condition that affects balance or coordination.

You can still file a claim if you have a pre-existing injury, but your claim is likely to be slightly different. A doctor needs to determine how the event made your pre-existing injury or condition worse and if the damage it caused will have a long-term effect on your ability to cope with your condition.

You shouldn’t be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills or lost wages from before the event. You can’t use past treatment records to negotiate a settlement amount. You’re only allowed to consider how your medical future and financial well-being will be impacted moving forward from the aggravating event.

What Is The Eggshell Skull Rule?

The law uses something called the “eggshell skull rule” or the “eggshell plaintiff” concept when someone with a pre-existing condition or injury files a claim in court.

Let’s say a normal man is walking down the street, and someone drops a heavy object from a window. It falls and hits him on the head. He gets hurt, but he’s going to be okay.

Now, say a man with an eggshell-like skull is walking down the street. Someone drops the same heavy object from the same window. It cracks his skull badly. The same event happened to both people, but the man with the weaker skull is clearly hurt the worst.

The law considers the special circumstances that impact the “eggshell plaintiff,” which in this case is someone with a pre-existing injury or medical condition. There may be cases where an official determination needs to be made about how someone’s condition affected the extent of their injuries.

If the accident or injury would have significantly hurt someone even if they didn’t have a pre-existing injury or condition, their previous condition can be almost completely overlooked. If the accident or injury would have been very minor for someone who didn’t have the existing injury or condition, both sides will work together with the help of medical professionals to determine how much of their injury can be attributed to the event in question.

To learn more now, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.

Credibility Is Vital For A Personal Injury Case

It’s possible to successfully recover personal injury damages with a pre-existing injury if you’re completely honest with your doctor and your seasoned attorney. Some people may feel as though they need to hide their previous injuries out of fear that their claims won’t be taken seriously. This often isn’t the truth.

The law typically has to recognize your new injury, even if you have a previous injury. Attempting to conceal a previous injury will probably only damage your credibility when the plaintiff investigates you. Being honest from the beginning helps prevent anyone from accusing you of attempting to conceal the truth or dramatize the extent of your pain.

You also want to avoid giving the impression that you aren’t in pain when you actually are. If you’ve been injured, you probably need to rest. Photos you post on social media or social outings can be used against you to demonstrate that you aren’t in pain, even if you’re simply smiling because you’re happy to see your family.

Don’t give the defense the opportunity to misrepresent your situation. Instead, keep your private life private while you’re dealing with your personal injury case. Stay off of social media and avoid any physical activity that may make your injury worse.

Do I Need A Skilled Lawyer To File A Claim With A Pre-Existing Injury?

Claims that involve a pre-existing injury can be more complicated than claims where someone was in otherwise good health before the event took place. With them, the plaintiff has a substantial burden of proof and needs to be able to separate the pre-existing injury from the harm caused by the other party.

In point of fact, previous medical records must be compared with current records such as X-ray images and clinical diagnoses. To succeed, you will have to be able to prove how the extent of your injury or condition became measurably worse after the accident in question.

For these reasons, claims involving pre-existing injuries should be handled by seasoned legal professionals. With more than (150) years of combined experience, the New York City personal injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers are ready and able to fight — and win! — for you. Call us now at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation and so much more!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 516-342-2200 now!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Mild traumatic brain injury affects the features of migraine | The Journal of Headache and Pain

Forms of Comparative Negligence – The Eggshell Skull Rule | Stanford University Press

Case summary: Credibility in personal injury claims | Canadian Bar Association

Discovery of Social Media Evidence in Legal Proceedings | American Bar Associations

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