The Influence of Pre-Existing Conditions on Injury Claims

The Influence of Pre-Existing Conditions on Injury Claims

When you suffer an injury from a car accident, the presence of any pre-existing conditions can complicate the claims process. Understanding how insurers view pre-existing conditions enables you to better protect your rights after an accident. This article explains key considerations regarding pre-existing conditions and provides practical guidance to strengthen your injury claim. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can feel empowered to obtain fair compensation even with a prior condition. Arm yourself with information to navigate this nuanced area and avoid common pitfalls that could undermine your claim.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Impact Injury Claims

Pre-existing medical conditions can complicate an injury claim and potentially reduce compensation. Insurance companies will investigate any prior injuries or illness to determine if they contributed to your current condition or prolonged recovery.

  • Past injuries to the same body part(s) often raise questions as to whether the current symptoms were caused or aggravated by the accident in question. Insurers may argue that your injuries would have occurred regardless of the incident, or that you would have healed faster without prior trauma.
  • Underlying degenerative diseases or congenital disorders can also impact a claim. Conditions like arthritis, degenerative disk disease or scoliosis are progressive, so insurers may dispute whether the accident caused your injuries or simply aggravated an existing problem. They may reduce the claim amount, arguing your condition would have worsened over time even without an accident.
  • Prior or ongoing medical treatment for related conditions provides further grounds to contest claims. Insurers can argue that the treatment, not the accident, is responsible for your injuries or that pre-accident symptoms have merely continued. Ongoing care also increases questions as to whether post-accident treatment was reasonably required.

To overcome these challenges, you must provide clear evidence that your pre-existing conditions were stable prior to the accident and that the incident directly caused your injuries and need for treatment. Medical records, witness statements and a doctor’s nexus letter can help establish that your prior issues were non-disabling, and that the accident resulted in a distinct and disabling condition. An experienced attorney can also help negotiate with insurers and strengthen your case.

Proving Your Injuries Were Caused by the Accident

To recover damages in an injury claim, you must prove that your injuries were directly caused by the accident in question. The defense may argue that your injuries were pre-existing or unrelated, attempting to limit their liability.

  • Provide medical records from before and after the incident to establish your baseline health and show how the accident caused new injuries or aggravated pre-existing conditions. Your doctors and specialists can also provide written statements on causation and exacerbation of symptoms.
  • Be forthcoming about any prior related issues but emphasize how the accident made them substantially worse. For example, if you had occasional knee pain before a car crash but now require surgery from the trauma, point to specific new diagnoses, test results, and treatments required due to the defendant's negligence.
  • Give vivid accounts of how your life and abilities have changed due to your injuries. Explain in concrete terms what you can no longer do independently and how you have been impacted physically, emotionally and financially. These compelling narratives, combined with medical evidence, are persuasive for proving causation.
  • Consider having an expert, such as an orthopedic doctor, review your medical records and evaluate your condition. Their findings can then be presented to confirm that your injuries were caused or worsened by the events in question, not pre-existing issues.

By providing consistent evidence from multiple credible sources to establish causation, you strengthen your claim that the accident directly led to your injuries and losses. Work closely with your legal counsel to build a case that leaves no doubt as to liability and addresses all counterarguments before they are raised.

Strategies to Overcome Pre-Existing Condition Challenges

To overcome challenges related to pre-existing conditions, you will need to build a strong case. Some recommendations:

  • Provide medical records from your treating physicians showing the progression of your condition before and after the injury. This demonstrates how the injury aggravated or accelerated the pre-existing condition.
  • Get statements from your doctors explaining their medical opinions on how the injury impacted your pre-existing condition. Ask them to be as detailed as possible in describing your condition before and after the injury, changes in treatment, increased symptoms, etc.
  • Consider getting second opinions from other physicians to support the evidence from your treating doctors. Independent medical examinations may also be useful. More medical opinions and records strengthen your case.
  • Be transparent about your pre-existing condition from the start. Do not hide relevant medical histories or downplay conditions that were present before the injury. Honesty and forthrightness will be viewed favorably.
  • Argue that while you may have had a pre-existing vulnerability, the injury was still a substantial contributing factor to your current condition and need for treatment. The injury exacerbated and aggravated what was originally a stable condition.
  • Negotiate for partial liability if full liability is denied. You may still recover compensation, especially if there are high medical bills, lost work and impacts on your quality of life. Partial awards are common in cases with pre-existing conditions.
  • Consider consulting with legal counsel regarding your rights and options for pursuing an injury claim when pre-existing conditions are involved. An attorney can advise you on the merits of your case and strategies to maximize your settlement or award.

Following these recommendations will strengthen your position and increase the chances of overcoming a pre-existing condition challenge. While it may require diligent effort, many claimants in similar situations have found success. Staying determined and building a persuasive case can lead to fair compensation for your injury.

Why You Need an Experienced Texas Car Accident Lawyer

When injured in a car accident, seeking legal counsel from an experienced Texas personal injury attorney is critical. An experienced lawyer will understand the nuances of Texas car accident law and how to build a strong case to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.

Pre-existing conditions you may have had before the accident can negatively impact your claim if not addressed properly. An experienced attorney knows how insurance companies may try to attribute your injuries to a pre-existing condition rather than the car accident in order to lower your settlement. They will review your medical records and bills to determine which injuries were caused or aggravated by the accident. They can also bring in medical experts to strengthen the evidence in your case.

An experienced lawyer will help determine all potential defendants and sources of recovery in your case. They can identify other parties that may share liability for your injuries, such as vehicle manufacturers or municipal governments responsible for road conditions. They know how to fully investigate the accident to establish liability and win a fair settlement or verdict for you.

When it comes time to negotiate a settlement or go to trial, an experienced attorney is essential. They know how to craft persuasive arguments to maximize your recovery, how to challenge unfair settlement offers, and how to present convincing evidence in court. Their knowledge of car accident law and litigation experience will put you in the best position to recover full compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

In summary, an experienced Texas car accident lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Their legal expertise and skill in navigating claims and settlements will help you overcome challenges like proving fault or attributing injuries to the accident versus a pre-existing condition. For the best chance at maximum compensation, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after any auto accident.

FAQs: Do Pre-Existing Conditions Prevent Me From Recovering Damages?

Pre-existing medical conditions do not necessarily prevent you from recovering damages in a personal injury claim. However, they can complicate matters. The key question is whether your pre-existing condition was aggravated or exacerbated by the accident and injury in question.

What constitutes a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition refers to any medical issue that was impacting you before the incident that caused your injuries. This could include conditions like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic pain. Essentially, any diagnosed or undiagnosed health issue that predates your accident would qualify as pre-existing.

How do pre-existing conditions affect injury claims?

If your pre-existing condition was worsened or aggravated by the accident, you may still be able to recover damages. However, the defendant (person or party responsible for the accident) may argue that some portion of your injuries and need for treatment actually stem from your pre-existing condition and not the accident itself. They may claim that only the additional injury or aggravation should be compensable.

What evidence is needed to prove injury aggravation?

To prove that your pre-existing condition was aggravated by the accident, compelling evidence is needed, such as:

  • Medical records showing the progression or worsening of your condition after the accident.
  • Testimony from your doctors regarding how the accident impacted your pre-existing condition.
  • Information on any new treatments, surgeries or therapies that became necessary due to the aggravation or exacerbation of your condition.

While pre-existing conditions add complexity, do not assume you have no case if you have prior health issues. With strong evidence that your condition was aggravated or worsened, you may still recover fair compensation for your injuries. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate the merits of your claim.


While pre-existing conditions can complicate injury claims, understanding how they are treated under the law and by insurance companies can empower you to protect your rights. Though you may face additional scrutiny, pre-existing conditions do not negate your right to compensation for new injuries. With patience and persistence, you can obtain fair compensation, especially with the help of legal counsel from lawyers at Fletcher Law in these matters. Do not let pre-existing conditions discourage you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. Knowledge of the law, medical evidence, and insurance regulations will enable you to build a strong claim despite complicating factors.