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In other words, you had this injury before the auto accident. The auto accident likely caused new injuries. The new injury may cause a previous injury to worsen or it may cause new issues coupled with the old issues.
Typically, aggravation of a pre-existing injury does not preclude the injured party from recovering compensation for their injury.
If you should find that, at the time of the incident, the plaintiff had any physical condition, ailment, or disease which was becoming apparent or was dormant, and if you should find that the plaintiff received an injury as a result of the negligence of the defendant, and that the injury resulted in any aggravation of a condition already pending, then the plaintiff could recover damages for aggravation of the preexisting condition.
Accidents involving pre-existing injuries can be more complicated.
It certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t recover for your injuries. The party that harmed or injured you will not be able to escape financial liability simply because the injured party has a pre-existing injury. It simply means that you must disclose the existence of the pre-existing condition at the outset.
Plaintiff’s are often hesitant disclose the injury out of fear of how it will affect their claim. Many fear that any recovery they are entitled to will be barred because of the prior injury. Fortunately, that is not the case. The important thing to remember is to make a full and complete disclosure about the prior injury.
Pre-existing injuries do not normally compromise an injury claim when a plaintiff suffers an aggravation of a prior injury or worsen a prior injury, unless that plaintiff fails to disclose the injury when asked to do so. It is well established in the law that, “ a defendant takes a plaintiff in whatever condition he finds him.” The actual legal doctrine for this principle is the, “eggshell Plaintiff rule.” This means that a defendant must bear the risk that his negligence will be increased by reason of the actual physical condition of the party harmed.
The negligent actor is subject to liability for harm to another although a physical condition of the other which is neither known nor should be known to the actor makes the injury greater than that which the actor as a reasonable man should have foreseen as a probable result of his conduct.
Assume, for example, that a defendant wasn’t paying attention and was texting while driving and caused a minor accident. In most cases, the fender bender might be settled quickly and wouldn’t cost the defendant a lot of money. However, if he hit a hemophiliac and that person lost a ton of blood and needed expensive emergency surgery and still died from the blood loss, that same defendant could be liable for wrongful death. The eggshell plaintiff rule essentially says that you take the victim as you find him, and it is designed to encourage care and punish negligence.
Rest assured the insurance companies will ask about any prior accidents and any prior injuries. They will want to search you medical records looking for any evidence of prior or pre-existing injuries to refute your claim for damages. Don’t try to conceal this information as it can potentially lead to serious ramifications for your case and adversely affect your credibility.