If you or somebody you care about sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you will likel be entitled to compensation. However, it is not uncommon for insurance carriers or at-fault parties to try and use an injury victim’s pre-existing conditions against them. Here, we want to discuss what constitutes a pre-existing condition and how these can be used against the victim in an injury case. We also want to discuss whether or not you will need a local Chicago personal injury attorney to help ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
What Counts as a Pre-Existing Injury?
The term “pre-existing condition” has been ingrained in our minds over the last decade, particularly when discussing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and whether or not a health insurer is allowed to decline to provide coverage to those with various types of pre-existing conditions.
However, the term pre-existing condition will also be used by insurance carriers and attorneys in an effort to limit the amount of money an at-fault party may have to pay an injury victim for a claim. There are various types of pre-existing conditions that can mimic injury symptoms, including pre-existing back pain, surgeries, or other chronic ailments a person may suffer from.
How are These Injuries Used Against a Victim?
There are various ways that a person’s pre-existing conditions could be used against them if they are involved in an incident with another party. This is perhaps best demonstrated by giving an example.
Suppose Jacqueline is injured when she is stopped at a stop sign and was rear-ended by Robert. In most rear-end collision situations like this, the rear driver would likely be at fault. However, suppose that Robert’s insurance carrier and lawyer discover that Jacqueline had back surgery five years before the crash occurred and that she has had continuous back pain ever since.
What happens if part of her car accident claim involves back pain?
This can become a complicated scenario, particularly if the insurance carrier attempts to blame Jacqueline’s pre-existing back pain for her current pain and suffering. However, just because a person has a pre-existing condition should not absolve the at-fault party of their liability. It is entirely possible that Robert’s actions, in this case, exasperated Jacqueline’s pre-existing injury. Robert could still be on the line for covering Jacqueline’s medical bills in this situation.
This is what insurance carriers and defendants’ legal teams do – they tried to use an injury victim’s pre-existing injuries against them in an effort to limit the amount of money they pay in a settlement or even deny a claim altogether.
Will an Attorney Help With a Pre-Existing Injury Case?
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. This is especially true if you have any pre-existing injuries that could be used against you in the case. A skilled Illinois personal injury lawyer will be able to get involved in your case, conduct a complete investigation, and determine fault. Your attorney will examine your medical records and analyze how a pre-existing injury could be used against you. With this information, an attorney will fully defend your position with insurance carriers or at trial if necessary.