Can Pre-Existing Injuries Impact Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Pre-existing injuries and conditions can often have an impact on personal injury cases. They introduce complexities to a case in terms of how liability is assigned, which injuries are deemed the fault of someone else, and even if the case can move forward at all. Understanding the impact pre-existing conditions have on personal injury claims can be the difference between whether you and your family get the just compensation you deserve for your injuries. At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, we specialize in guiding our clients through these complexities.

What is Classified as a Pre-Existing Injury? 

A pre-existing injury refers to any known medical condition or injury that an individual suffered prior to the accident or incident leading to their current personal injury claim. It doesn’t matter if you were born with a certain condition or suffered an injury sometime throughout your life, any injury from the time before your accident can be classified as pre-existing in terms of your personal injury case.  

Pre-existing injuries and conditions can stem from nearly any medical condition, including things like: 

  • Chronic pain 
  • Previous fractures and broken bones 
  • Birth defects 
  • Chronic illnesses 
  • Mental health conditions 
  • Degenerative diseases 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Chronic joint pain or conditions such as arthritis 
  • Prior concussions or traumatic brain injuries 

Regardless of the injury or condition, it can play a pivotal role in how a new personal injury case is evaluated and compensated. These conditions are scrutinized in personal injury cases to assess how the recent accident has uniquely impacted your health and quality of life. 

Can You File a Personal Injury Claim with a Pre-Existing Injury? 

The presence of a pre-existing condition does not bar you from filing a personal injury claim in New Jersey. However, it does introduce additional layers to your case. The key is to demonstrate how the recent incident has aggravated or exacerbated your pre-existing condition, rather than simply revisiting past injuries. It also must be shown that any new injuries you have sustained are not the result of your pre-existing condition, but instead the result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or reckless actions. 

The Eggshell Skull Legal Doctrine 

The “eggshell skull” rule is a legal doctrine stating that if a plaintiff has a pre-existing condition that makes them more susceptible to injury, the defendant is still liable for all damages caused, even if those injuries are more severe than what a typical person might experience. This principle underscores the importance of full compensation for victims, regardless of their physical state prior to an accident. 

This is just one of the legal doctrines that can be used in your case. 

Proving Your Condition Worsened Due to the Accident 

Documenting the aggravation of a pre-existing condition requires a detailed and strategic approach, which is why it’s crucial to have the right personal injury lawyers at your side. These strategies can be crucial in establishing a clear link between the incident and the exacerbation of your condition: 

  • A comprehensive medical evaluation after the incident 
  • Your detailed medical history and documentation that showcases the difference in your condition pre-and post-accident 
  • Expert testimony to prove the extent of aggravation caused by the accident 

When Insurance Companies or Other Defendants Challenge Your Claim 

Defendants and insurance companies may attempt to minimize compensation by arguing that your injuries were pre-existing and not a result of the recent incident. This is where the expertise of a personal injury attorney becomes invaluable. An experienced attorney can: 

  • Strategically counter the insurance company’s claims by presenting compelling medical evidence and expert testimonies.
  • Negotiate to ensure you receive fair compensation. 
  • Represent you in court, if necessary, to fight for your rights. Do not work with an attorney that has little to no courtroom experience.

Aggressive Representation for Your Personal Injury Case

At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, our team is experienced in handling cases involving pre-existing conditions. We understand the nuances of New Jersey personal injury law and are committed to advocating for our clients’ rights. Our experience allows us to navigate the complexities of these cases effectively, ensuring that your pre-existing conditions are accurately represented. This gives you the best chance of being compensated. We don’t stop until you get justice. 

If you’re dealing with the aftermath of an accident that has worsened your pre-existing condition, our attorneys are here to help you understand your rights, build a strong case, and navigate the challenges of your case. Together, we can pursue the compensation you need to support your recovery and future well-being. Get in touch with us today for a free case consultation.