Can a Pre-Existing Condition Affect My Car Accident Insurance Claim?

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How Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Impact California Personal Injury Claims?

How Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Impact California Personal Injury Claims?

Jun 5, 2023

Pre-existing conditions come in many forms and impact countless people. If you’re injured in a car accident or other type of incident, the insurance company may try to cite your pre-existing condition as a reason for denying a cash settlement for various damages. But as we’ll discuss below, California’s eggshell skull rule (doctrine) is in place to ensure that anyone with a pre-existing condition whose injury is made worse via a car accident can recover the financial compensation they deserve.

Can I Recover Compensation if I’m Injured in an Accident With a Pre-Existing Condition?

California law acknowledges that many car accident victims have pre-existing medical conditions that can be exacerbated in motor vehicle crashes or other types of personal injury cases. According to the eggshell skull rule, an at-fault party (defendant) can’t escape liability simply because the plaintiff is more prone to injury than a normal person. The person who is at fault “takes the injured person as they are” in terms of that individual’s pre-existing condition(s).

In most cases, a person who is injured in an accident will not be entitled to compensation if they already have a condition or injury. However, if the accident worsens either your physical or mental pre-existing condition, you may be entitled to a cash settlement for the full extent of the damage.

This is commonly known as the “eggshell plaintiff rule” or “eggshell skull doctrine.” The rule states that:

A defendant must accept a plaintiff in the same condition as when they found them.

If, for example, an injured person has a back injury that was aggravated in a car accident by another driver, the driver at fault must compensate the injured party for the effects on the pre-existing injury or the extent to which it was worsened.

Why Having a Personal Injury Attorney is So Important for Plaintiffs With Pre-Existing Conditions

As stated earlier, the insurance corporations are in business to do one thing: make money. That means denying claims whenever possible – even if your pre-existing condition was worsened as a result of a car accident, dog bite, or slip and fall.

Accordingly, it is highly recommended that if you have pre-existing medical conditions which are made worse by a car accident you consult an experienced and proven personal injury attorney from Dordulian Law Group. We have decades of experience helping injured victims recover maximum compensation in eggshell cases.

As the plaintiff or injured victim, you must prove that the defendant’s conduct caused or contributed to your exacerbated harm. It’s essential that you hire an attorney who has experience establishing that a plaintiff’s pre-existing conditions made him/her more vulnerable to the defendant’s wrongdoing. Attempting to prove this on your own could cause you to be denied the rightful financial compensation you deserve after a car accident or slip and fall.

What are Some Pre-Existing Conditions That Can be Worsened by a Car Accident?

What are Some Pre-Existing Conditions That Can be Worsened by a Car Accident?
Whether it’s a physical or emotional pre-existing condition, a traumatic event like a car accident can have considerable adverse effects on a victim. Some of the more common injuries that are worsened by car accidents include:

  • Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be worsened or reinjured during a car accident. Each new brain injury can worsen or create an entirely new condition that requires a separate medical diagnosis or treatment. A person who is still recovering from a concussion may be elevated to a new category, including brain disease or dysfunction, as a result of an accident. Resulting symptoms could include more intense headaches, memory problems, dizzy spells, and impairment in motor function.
  • Neck Injuries: Whiplash and other injuries of the upper vertebrae such as a slipped disc could be made considerably worse by a car crash. A car accident can exacerbate previous neck injuries.
  • Broken Bones: Previously healthy bones can be fractured. However, in some instances previously broken bones that are still healing may suffer complications if a car accident occurs during the healing process. Symptoms such as a dramatically retraumatized break line resulting in another fracture of the bone can occur. The new fracture and refracture can sometimes be very close together, necessitating an immediate diagnosis from a licensed physician.
  • Back Problems: People who suffer from chronic back conditions like degenerative disk disease and arthritis may find that an auto accident worsens their condition. A new injury can cause a victim to experience pain that was previously manageable but is now unbearable due to the state of their back health.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD can be aggravated and become debilitating after experiencing a newfound event like a car accident or dog bite. This is where a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer from Dordulian Law Group (DLG) can be so beneficial to your case. We will fight to recover all applicable economic and non-economic damages (including pain and suffering as a result of a worsened pre-existing condition).

What Damages Can be Recovered in an Eggshell Skull Rule Car Accident Claim?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or other type of incident with a pre-existing condition, you may be facing a long road to recovery.

To ensure that you secure maximum financial compensation for losses such as medical bills and reduced wages, file your claim with DLG today. Our car accident attorneys have decades of experience fighting on behalf of injured victims for justice and maximum financial compensation. We will pursue all applicable damages within your pre-existing car accident claim, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and/or reduced future earning capacity
  • Punitive damages
  • Hospital bills
  • Medical care expenses – past and future
  • Medication/prescription drug costs
  • Physical therapy/rehabilitation expenses – past and future
  • Psychological distress/emotional trauma

DLG’s dedicated and proven car accident lawyers are skilled at securing all applicable damages for complex injury claims – even those that are hard to quantify/prove such as pain and suffering.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

For a free and no obligation consultation regarding your pre-existing condition car accident injury, contact a member of the DLG team today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with over 25 years of experience fighting to get injured victims the justice they deserve. We’ve helped pre-existing condition car accident victims like you obtain more than $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts while maintaining a 98% winning record.

For your pre-existing condition car accident injury case, don’t settle for anything less than the Dordulian Law Group Advantage. Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for your free consultation.

Go See Sam