Injured women with attorney

Do Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Effect an Injury Claim?

The Law Office of David Hunt April 16, 2024

Illinois law operates under the principle of the "eggshell plaintiff theory," where the plaintiff is accepted as they are, inclusive of any pre-existing conditions. This means that if an individual had a medical issue before an accident and their symptoms or injury were worsened by the crash, they are still entitled to seek recovery for those exacerbated damages under Illinois law. In other words, the presence of a pre-existing medical condition does not prevent someone from pursuing a lawsuit in such cases. 

But personal injury cases involving pre-existing conditions can be hard to win if you don't have the right legal support. Insurance companies or the opposing party may try to argue that your pre-existing condition was the primary cause of your injuries, and not the accident. This can significantly decrease the amount of compensation you receive. 

To enlist the support you deserve, contact my firm, The Law Offices of David Hunt, in Peoria, Illinois. I've helped secure fair compensation for injury victims across Peoria County, Woodford County, and Caswell County. Schedule your free consultation today. 

Understanding the Impact of Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Pre-existing medical conditions are health issues that existed before the claimed injury or accident occurred. Insurers often scrutinize these conditions closely, as they can significantly influence the evaluation of your claim. The main concern is differentiating between injuries caused by the accident and symptoms related to or exacerbated by the pre-existing condition. 

How Insurers View Pre-Existing Conditions

Insurance companies may attempt to reduce their liability by attributing your current injuries to your past medical history.  

It's not uncommon for them to argue that your injuries were not directly caused by the incident in question but rather resulted from your pre-existing condition. This is why it’s essential to understand how your medical history can affect your claim. 

Legal Rights and Pre-Existing Conditions

The good news is that in most jurisdictions, having a pre-existing condition does not bar you from receiving compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. The legal principle of "taking your victim as you find them" applies here, meaning that if your pre-existing condition makes you more susceptible to injury, the responsible party cannot use this as a defense to reduce your compensation. 

Strategies for Navigating Your Injury Claim

Prepping an injury claim that involves pre-existing conditions requires a well-thought-out strategy to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. Here are several key approaches to consider: 

  1. Be Transparent: It's crucial to be upfront about your medical history when filing a claim. Concealing a pre-existing condition can backfire and hurt your claim's credibility. 

  1. Differentiate Between Conditions: Distinguishing between your current injuries and pre-existing conditions is essential. Medical records and expert testimonies can help clarify this distinction. 

  1. Seek Legal Advice: An experienced personal injury attorney can help unpack the complexities of your claim, especially when insurers challenge the impact of your pre-existing conditions. 

  1. Document Everything: Keeping detailed records of your medical treatments, both before and after the incident, can provide clear evidence of how the accident exacerbated your pre-existing condition. 

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

While not mandatory, enlisting the services of a personal injury attorney can greatly benefit your claim, especially in cases where pre-existing conditions are involved. A skilled lawyer can craft a compelling argument that accounts for the nuances of your medical history, ensuring that your claim is accurately represented. 

Pre-existing Conditions in Workers' Compensation Claims

Workers' compensation claims in Illinois are another area where pre-existing conditions come into play, complicating the process of obtaining fair remuneration for work-related injuries.  

According to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, an injury is compensable if it arises out of and in employment. This includes situations where a pre-existing condition is significantly aggravated by workplace activities or incidents. 

However, proving that a work-related activity or incident has aggravated a pre-existing condition sufficiently to warrant additional compensation can be challenging.  

Employers or their insurance providers may argue that the worsened condition is not directly related to the work environment or incident, but rather a natural progression of the pre-existing condition. 

To strengthen such a claim, Illinois law mandates the compilation of medical evidence that clearly delineates the impact of the workplace incident on the pre-existing condition. This may involve detailed medical evaluations and testimony from healthcare professionals who can attest to the causal relationship between the workplace incident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. 

In conclusion, while Illinois workers' compensation laws do account for the complexities introduced by pre-existing conditions, claimants seeking compensation for the aggravation of such conditions face the burden of providing compelling medical evidence. Legal representation by a seasoned attorney can be invaluable in asserting the claimant's rights and securing appropriate compensation. 

Get Legal Counsel Today

Pre-existing medical conditions certainly add a layer of complexity to injury claims, but they don't preclude the possibility of receiving fair compensation. By understanding your rights, properly documenting your condition, and seeking the right legal guidance, you can effectively pursue your claim in the face of challenges. 

Remember, each case is unique, and the nuances of your situation can greatly affect the outcome of your claim. Consulting with a legal professional is the best way to ensure that you are navigating these complexities effectively. With the correct approach and support, you can secure the compensation necessary to facilitate your recovery and move forward. 

I have over three decades of legal experience, and I’m passionate about protecting your rights. Contact my Peoria injury law firm today to set up a free consultation.