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Do Pre-Existing Injuries Affect My Claim?

Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC  Dec. 27, 2022

In Georgia, a person injured in a negligent accident may be eligible to seek compensation from the at-fault party through a claim or lawsuit. However, having a pre-existing medical condition can affect the outcome of your claim or the amount of compensation you may recover. 

According to a recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), between 61 million and 133 million non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition. A seasoned Georgia personal injury attorney can educate you about the impact of pre-existing injuries on your injury case. 

Attorney Walter Gabriel has devoted his career to offering experienced legal services and advocating for the best interests of personal injury and accident victims. He will fight zealously for your best interests, strive to establish your case, and help you seek the financial justice you deserve. The firm proudly serves clients across Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout the surrounding area, including Alexandria and Dunwoody. 

What Are "Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?"  

A pre-existing medical condition can be described as an underlying health issue (physical or mental) – such as a medical illness, injury, or disease – that existed before the person sustained another injury from an accident. Here are some common examples of pre-existing medical conditions: 

  • Cancer 

  • Asthma 

  • Sleep apnea 

  • Epilepsy 

  • Lupus 

  • Acne 

  • Pregnancy 

  • Chronic back pain 

  • Diabetes 

  • High blood pressure 

  • Depression 

  • Anxiety 

  • Extreme obesity 

  • Back and neck conditions from bad posture 

  • COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 

If you were involved in an accident while having a pre-existing health problem, you need to reach out to a practiced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can evaluate every aspect of your personal situation and help you understand the effect of your existing health problems on your case. 

How Do They Affect a Personal Injury Claim?  

Georgia is an "at-fault" auto insurance state. According to the state's at-fault system, the person who caused the traffic crash or injury (the at-fault party) will be held financially and civilly responsible for medical expenses, property damages, and other accident-related losses suffered by the victims. 

Regardless of whether or not you had a pre-existing injury or medical issue, you are still entitled to pursue fair compensation for your injuries. However, to recover damages in the state of Georgia, you will need to prove negligence and establish liability. 

To establish liability, you need to show – coupled with demonstrating other elements of liability – that your pre-existing health problem was totally manageable prior to the accident, but it eventually deteriorated or aggravated as a result of the incident. 

Should you be successful with your injury claim, you will receive financial compensation for your pre-existing medical issue as well as any new injuries, damages, or losses suffered from the accident. A trusted lawyer can help advocate for your best interests and determine whether the eggshell doctrine affects your case. 

The "Eggshell Skull Plaintiff" Rule 

The "eggshell skull plaintiff" rule is a doctrine in personal injury law which applies to injury cases that involve claimants or victims with pre-existing health issues. According to the doctrine, the at-fault party (defendant) will be liable for reactions and damages suffered by the claimant from the defendant's negligence – even when not aware of the victim's existing health challenges. 

What's more, in a personal injury case, the eggshell plaintiff rule has an effect on both the claimant and the defendant. Depending on the surrounding circumstance, claimants may be categorized into: 

  • Plaintiffs with pre-existing injuries – Plaintiffs who have pre-existing medical issues or injuries. 

  • Eggshell skull plaintiff – A person whose fragile health condition makes them vulnerable to injury or harm. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer can assess the details of your unique situation and walk you through the personal injury claims process. 

Trusted Legal Representation 

Getting hurt in a negligent accident can be difficult and unsettling. Unfortunately, having an underlying health problem can make your case even more complex and overwhelming. In order to seek damages, you must prove that the at-fault party's negligent actions or accident aggravated or worsened your pre-existing medical issue. Reach out to a trusted personal injury attorney immediately to protect your legal rights and help seek your rightful financial compensation. 

Attorney Walter Gabriel is ready to support and represent clients with underlying health conditions in their injury claims. As your attorney, he will review all of the facts of your unique situation and seek to prove that the defendant's negligence worsened your condition. Above all, Attorney Gabriel will fight compassionately for your legal rights and attempt to recover the maximum possible compensation for your damages. 

Having a pre-existing health issue shouldn't hinder you from pursuing compensation for your injuries. Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, today to schedule a simple case assessment with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. The firm proudly serves clients across Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout the surrounding area, including Alexandria and Dunwoody.