How are Pre-Existing Conditions Treated in a Personal Injury Case?

Accidents and sudden, unexpected injuries are frightening, traumatic, and painful. All too often, the distress continues long after the initial injury, when injury victims must navigate Nevada’s at-fault insurance laws to recover compensation for damages. Nevada’s comparative negligence insurance laws allow injury victims to claim compensation for damages as long as they are no more than 50% at fault for their injury. Unfortunately, because insurance companies exist to make profits, they often seek reasons to deny a claim or significantly undervalue it in order to protect their bottom lines. One way insurance adjusters try to deny accident claims in Nevada is to cite an accident victim’s pre-existing condition as the true cause of their pain and other symptoms. Does this mean you cannot recover damages after a personal injury if you have a pre-existing condition? No, an experienced Las Vegas injury lawyer understands that a pre-existing condition should not preclude compensation for an injury.

Personal Injuries and Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions do not prevent Nevada personal injury victims from filing an insurance claim or lawsuits and recovering damages, like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An injury from a car accident or a serious slip-and-fall incident can worsen an already existing condition by causing an increase in symptoms, pain, or by hastening the progression of a degenerative condition. Sometimes imaging tests such as CAT scans, X-rays, and MRIs can prove that an accident or injury worsened a pre-existing condition when an attorney uses them to show a comparison between a condition before an accident and after an accident. If a pre-existing medical condition significantly worsened due to a car accident or other trauma, the injury victim could suffer damages that deserve compensation such as the following:

  • Reimbursement for medical expenses and future medical expenses for ongoing care
  • Lost income reimbursement, and compensation for future loss of employment opportunities
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of pleasure in life or diminished life quality

Sometimes suffering a serious injury exacerbates a condition requiring medical procedures to correct or improve. More serious injuries may cause the permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition with life-altering effects like partial or total disability and the inability to perform routine daily tasks.

What Types of Pre-Existing Conditions May Worsen Due to Personal Injuries?

Back conditions and neck conditions are common pre-existing conditions worsened by traumatic injuries. Other common examples of conditions vulnerable to exacerbation include the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Previous fractures
  • Previous head injuries
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Brittle bones
  • Hypertension
  • Depression/anxiety

Even when these conditions were present before the accident, if a car accident, bad fall, or other traumatic personal injury significantly worsens the condition, the at-fault party is liable for damages. For example, if a person has brittle bones due to osteoporosis and a car accident causes multiple shattered bones, the at-fault party cannot claim as a defense that they didn’t know the other driver had brittle bones. They are still responsible for all harm caused by the accident if they were negligent and at fault for the injury.

If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury that exacerbates a pre-existing condition or causes a permanent aggravation of the condition, it’s important to seek an experienced attorney as well as medical documentation to show how the injury worsened your pre-existing condition and the impact of the condition on your life and financial well-being.