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How to Address Pre-existing Conditions in Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Can You Sue With a Pre-existing Condition?

Roughly 130 million people are dealing with some sort of chronic health condition or pre-existing injury. What happens when these people end up getting injured in car accidents, slip and fall cases, and other incidents? Whether or not suing with a pre-existing condition will work depends on your situation.

Pre-existing Conditions Don't Remove Liability From the Defendant

Some personal injury lawsuits are fairly straightforward. You get injured due to the negligence of another party, sue them, and get compensation for your damages. However, what happens if you were already injured before the other party was negligent? In these cases, whether or not the other party owes you compensation will depend on when your injuries occurred.   The good news is that a pre-existing condition doesn't automatically prevent you from suing. From a legal perspective, your own poor health doesn't remove anyone else's duty to behave responsibly. So if another person is negligent in a way that causes more injuries to you, your pre-existing condition doesn't matter. This is true regardless of whether the new injuries you got are entirely separate from your pre-existing condition or exacerbate your pre-existing condition.   For example, consider a case where a person has fragile bones due to osteoporosis. If another person shoves them on the stairs, causing them to break both hip bones, the other person has to pay all the damages associated with the broken hips. Even though the same shove might not have incapacitated an able-bodied person as severely, the person who shoved was still behaving negligently and bears all responsibility for the outcome of their behavior.

You Might Need to Prove Your Current Injuries Weren't There Before the Accident

The only reason a pre-existing condition would stop you from getting compensation is if the injury you are suing for is actually just the pre-existing injury. For example, if you had back pain, got in a car accident, and continued to have the same level of back pain, it would be hard to sue the other driver for your pain. To successfully make your case in court, you have to show that the incident either caused a separate injury or caused your pre-existing condition to worsen.   How do you do this? It's all down to the evidence your personal injury attorney presents in court. When a person is injured, a lot of medical testimony is necessary. You will need to show exactly what your injury was before and exactly how much worse your health got after the incident. It's quite common for the defendants to spend time arguing that any health issues you have now were actually health problems that occurred before the incident. However, the right medical testimony can explain how your condition was worsened by the defendant's behavior.

It's Important to Alert Your Lawyer to Pre-existing Injuries

Many people want to avoid even mentioning pre-existing conditions because they don't want to risk complicating their lawsuits. However, this is a bad idea. You can never be sure that the opposing side is unaware of your injuries, and if they surprise your legal team in court, it can be hard to recover.   Instead, it is better to be upfront about any pre-existing conditions you have. This ensures your Allentown personal injury lawyer has time to gather evidence for your case. They may want to schedule some medical testimony or search for older medical records so they have proof that the injuries you are suing for are not old health problems that existed before the incident.   Don't let pre-existing conditions stop you from getting the compensation you deserve. At Metzger & Kleiner, we have plenty of experience handling these sorts of cases. Our team of Allentown personal injury lawyers can help you fight for compensation and argue that you suffered from injuries following an incident of negligence. To learn more about our services, call 610-435-7400 or fill out our contact form now.

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