When you’ve been injured and are seeking settlement from an at-fault party, your pre-existing injuries could affect your amount of compensation. Depending on the factors of the case, and your pre-existing condition, this could either be a good or bad thing for you as the victim. In Atlanta, here are the ways in which pre-existing medical conditions can affect the settlement you seek after an event that left you injured.
Defining a Pre-Existing Medical Condition
In legal terms, a “pre-existing medical condition” means that you suffered from medical conditions or injuries prior to the incident in which you are claiming in a lawsuit. These conditions must be disclosed when filing a personal injury lawsuit, as they have to be taken into consideration when your compensation award is being calculated.
Examples of pre-existing medical conditions can include but not be limited to: injuries from an unrelated accident, injuries that didn’t heal correctly or congenital abnormalities. These types of conditions can also be the subject of your claim, if it is due to repetitive injuries in the same setting.
Advantages of Pre-Existing Conditions and Settlements
If you had a pre-existing injury that did not finish healing before the accident in which you are filing a claim against, it can actually benefit you in terms of your settlement. For instance, if you previously had chronic neck pain and were involved in a car accident, your pain and medical bills are likely to be greater than if you had not had the initial condition.
However, it can be difficult to prove this unless you have a physician that is willing to go on record and state that the current complications are all due to the latest incident. If you are able to prove as such, your award could be higher, in order to cover all your medical costs.
Disadvantages of Pre-Existing Conditions and Settlements
Unfortunately, these pre-existing conditions can reduce the amount of your award because it can sometimes be difficult to determine which injuries where sustained when. Additionally, it can raise suspicion about the treatment you were receiving prior to and after the accident.
For example, if you were already receiving specific treatment for a condition, and ended up continuing that treatment for the injuries sustained during the accident, this might be of a disadvantage to you. Even if the accident truly furthered your injury, it can be difficult to determine as such.
Your Settlement and an At-Fault Party
When you’ve been injured at the fault of someone else, you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, this could hinder your ability to awarded compensation that will cover all of your medical costs.
This is because the opposing party might argue that you are using the incident to exaggerate your pain so that someone else will foot the bill for your pre-existing medical condition. Even if this isn’t the case, it can still be used against you in an effort to lower your settlement.
Have you suffered a personal injury when you already had a pre-existing medical condition? If so, visit our website or contact us at The Ross Law Firm today to speak with your professional, Atlanta attorney.