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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
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Pre-existing conditions: Do they ruin my car crash case ?

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The short answer is not necessarily. Most people know that the phrase “pre-existing condition” has a bad ring to it when it comes to health insurance where it generally means that your insurance company will not cover you for conditions you had prior to purchasing insurance. Well, that same phrase can have a bad ring to it in the context of personal injury lawsuits as well, although it doesn’t automatically mean bad news for your claim.

Similar to the health insurance context, it is not uncommon for a defendant in a personal injury claim to assert that they should nothave to pay you for health expenses related to a pre-existing condition that you had before your car crash. Sometimes this makes sense; after all, the system is designed to make defendants pay for harm that they actually caused. But things are rarely that clear when it comes to litigating car and truck crash cases. The insurance company’s defense lawyers may be technically right in that your medical records show that you did have some sort of pre-existing condition before the car wreck. But what happens if you did not even know you had that condition and it certainly was not bothering you before the defendant caused the car accident? It is not at all uncommon for Herndon Virginia injury lawyer Doug Landau to hear clients say things like “it wasn’t really bothering me before!” or “no one suggested I have shoulder/back/neck surgery before the defendant smashed into my car!” In those situations, it certainly seems like the defendant should have to pay something for making the condition worse.

While ever case is definitely unique, the law does establish a few guidelines to help us understand what might happen when a plaintiff has a pre-existing condition. In tomorrow’s post, we will look at how the law views victims with "pre-existing conditions" so that fair compensation and balance can be restored after a car, truck or bicycle crash.