Can I Be Compensated for Pre-Existing Conditions after A Car Accident?
Were you recently injured in a car accident in Austin, TX? Do you have questions about whether you can be compensated for pre-existing conditions, or how your pre-existing conditions will affect your current claim? Contact Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP, to discuss your case.
Our experienced Austin personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and help you get the compensation you deserve. We offer a free initial case evaluation, so contact our law office to schedule yours today.
Table of Contents
Can a Pre-Existing Condition Affect a Car Accident Claim in Austin, Texas?
Unfortunately, many insurance companies will do everything in their power to reduce and dismiss your claim. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try to deny claims to accident victims with a pre-existing condition, such as a neck injury, when involved in a later accident.
It is crucial to be informed of your rights after an auto accident in the event that your existing condition worsens. Fortunately, the law in Texas is favorable to victims with pre-existing injuries when those injuries are further aggravated by a subsequent vehicle crash.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Austin, Texas, particularly where pre-existing conditions are present, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as you can.
Victims of car accidents are sometimes hesitant to make a claim if they had pre-existing injuries, but the worsening of pre-existing injuries during subsequent accidents can cause serious, long-term effects and deserve your attention. The driver at fault should be held accountable for your injuries.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys in Austin, TX will listen to your story, and help you navigate the often overwhelming process of filing a lawsuit. Our lawyers have been fighting on behalf of car accident victims in Austin, Texas for years.
Why It’s Important to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Navigating the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit can be intimidating, especially when you are dealing with physical injury, or a previous injury has resurfaced due to the accident. If you had a pre-existing injury or medical condition before the car accident occurred, the insurance company will argue that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident in question.
What you may not know, is that you don’t have to accept the insurance company’s argument. You have a right to fair compensation for your injuries, whether they’re an aggravation of previous injuries or new and separate injuries altogether.
Here’s what you can expect from our personal injury lawyers specializing in car accident litigation:
- Working diligently to gather evidence, including photographs, witness statements, police reports, and medical records
- Negotiating with the insurance company’s adjuster to explain your unique case;
- Utilizing the attorney’s skill and experience to build the strongest case for you;
- Preparing for trial, if necessary, to assert your rights if the insurance company won’t pay.
Our Austin car accident attorneys will advise you of your rights and assist you in building the strongest possible case against the insurance company. We know that your world has just been turned upside down and you likely have unanswered questions. That’s why we offer consultations free of charge. With skill, compassion, and diligence, we will aggressively fight for compensation for you.
What Is A Pre-Existing Injury?
In the personal injury context, a pre-existing condition is defined as a health condition that was present before the accident. This could be anything from a recent injury you were recovering from, to a chronic illness that has been present for years. The impact of a car or truck accident can cause an existing injury to worsen.
The following are examples of pre-existing conditions that can be aggravated by a subsequent car accident:
- Herniated disc or degenerative disc disease;
- Lower back and neck strains;
- Previously broken bones;
- Sciatica problems;
- Injuries causing compression of the nerves in the spine;
- Knee and shoulder injuries;
- Brain injuries, including concussions; and
When filing a personal injury lawsuit where pre-existing conditions are present, the injured party must be able to establish the severity of a pre-existing condition both before and after an accident.
This means that the injured party will need to establish the degree to which the accident worsened any conditions or injuries that existed beforehand, while the insurance company will always try to assert that the pre-existing condition is to blame.
If you have experienced pain after an accident or even if you have not, see a doctor immediately.
What is an “Eggshell” Plaintiff?
Texas courts apply the “eggshell injury doctrine” meaning that the defendant in a car accident personal injury case is still responsible for the full extent of the injuries caused by the accident, no matter how “fragile” the victim was when the accident occurred.
In short, Texas gives medically fragile individuals the right to full compensation for their injuries even when their injuries are more serious than they would have been if not for the pre-existing condition.
The doctrine states that victims should be entitled to compensation for injuries sustained in an accident if the pre-existing condition was stable and the victim had no reason to think his or her condition would change, if it were not for the accident. However, you must still be able to prove that the injuries in your claim were directly caused by the accident.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident and Have Pre-Existing Conditions
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have pre-existing conditions, there are steps you need to take now:
- Visit the hospital or get a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible;
- Be candid with your medical provider and disclose your current and pre-existing injuries in detail;
- Make it clear that your pre-existing condition was under control/not symptomatic at the time of the accident;
- Consult the doctor who treated your previous injuries for documentation that it was under control; and
- Follow your doctor’s orders for your current or exacerbated injury.
A personal injury lawsuit stemming from a car accident must be filed within two years of the date the injury-producing act occurred, so it is in your best interest to act quickly if you believe your pre-existing injuries have been aggravated.
Proving Liability in Car Accident Personal Injury Lawsuits
Our experienced personal injury attorneys specializing in car accidents know that there are four parts to proving negligence:
- Duty: The other driver had a duty to conform to a particular standard of conduct toward another;
- Breach of Duty: The other driver breached his or her duty by doing something, or failing to do what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances;
- Proximate Cause: The other party’s breach of duty directly caused your injuries; and
- Damages: You have confirmed injuries, supported by medical bills and records.
Our experienced lawyers will analyze the facts and evidence particular to your case to identify what evidence is most likely to be successful. Our team will gather evidence, utilize experts, medical professionals, witnesses, and more to build the strongest case for you. Your lawyer will work tirelessly to hold the driver accountable.
Burden of Proof
To find a driver guilty in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a car accident, the defendant must be found to have committed the act or negligently cause the act by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is a lower threshold to satisfy than the typical burden of proof in criminal court which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
For this reason, certain cases are sometimes more successfully prosecuted in civil court. Even if the driver is convicted in criminal court, you may still be able to sue them in civil court for compensation.
Commonly awarded damages in personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents of victim’s with pre-existing conditions include:
- Medical bills (above and beyond the cost of treatment for the pre-existing condition);
- Lost income and wages;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disfigurement and scarring;
- Psychological trauma;
- Emotional counseling; and
- Wrongful death, and more.
Our talented lawyers will ascertain where your pre-existing condition begins and ends. We’ll bring in experts to review your medical records and your accident report to provide insight about how the accident has likely affected your condition and made it worse.
We Will Help You Seek Compensation For Aggravated Pre-Existing Conditions After an Austin Car Accident
The emotional and physical injuries that result from car accidents can last a lifetime. When you’ve been a victim of a car accident, particularly where pre-existing conditions are present, the sooner you contact an experienced lawyer, the sooner we can begin working to build the strongest possible case for you. At Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP, we approach each case with vigor and dedication.
When you hire Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP, here’s what you’ll get:
- A team of lawyers whose practices are dedicated exclusively to personal injury;
- Years of combined experience assisting victims of car accidents in Austin, Texas;
- Hundreds of successful cases; and
- Five star reviews from over 130 clients.
If you are ready to learn more about how we can help you, call us now at 1-888-418-8853. We welcome the opportunity to assist you during this challenging time.