Pre-existing conditions do not automatically prevent an injured victim from receiving fair compensation. The law generally requires "reasonable proof" as to the losses sustained, and where the unsafe driver has made the victim’s health worse or more difficult to treat, the courts will allow proof and verdicts for those damages.
First, the law says that the defendant has to “take the victim as is”, which basically means that the defense can’t get out of paying simply because they were unaware of your pre-existing condition. Basically, they can’t go around saying “but I didn’t know the plaintiff had a weak shoulder joint when I caused the accident and so I shouldn’t be held accountable because a normal, healthy person wouldn’t have been injured”.
Second, the law tells us that we need to figure out exactly what harm the defendant caused. Maybe the defendant caused you to develop a condition you didn’t have, in which case they must pay for the costs of you having that condition now. Maybe they caused an existing condition to get worse, in which case they must pay for the increased expenses. Likely, this will mean lots of questions about whether you experienced any symptoms before the accident, sought any treatment before the accident, or had any limitations before the accident. The key is to clearly establish that the accident worsened your condition or triggered it to flare up.
Pre-existing conditions definitely make personal injury cases more complicated, but a good attorney will know how to determine whether they should affect your recovery and how to demonstrate the defendant’s role in aggravating that condition. If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of a car, truck, bicycle or motorcycle crash and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.