Jun 16th, 2023
Paulozzi Joseph

When you file a personal injury claim, one aspect that can significantly impact the outcome of your case is whether or not you have a pre-existing condition. It is vital to understand how pre-existing conditions relate to personal injury claims to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of personal injury claims and pre-existing conditions.

Understanding Personal Injury Claims

Before delving into pre-existing conditions, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of personal injury claims. A personal injury claim is a legal dispute that arises when someone suffers harm due to another party’s negligence. A personal injury claim seeks financial compensation for the damages that the victim has suffered, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Personal injury claims can be complex and confusing, especially for those who have never been involved in one before. It is important to have a basic understanding of the process and what is involved in order to make informed decisions and protect your rights.

What Constitutes a Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury claims can result from almost any type of accident or injury. Some common examples include car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and medical malpractice. To have a valid personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the negligence caused the injury.

It is important to note that not all accidents or injuries will result in a personal injury claim. In order to have a valid claim, there must be evidence of negligence on the part of the defendant.

The Role of Negligence in Personal Injury Claims

Negligence is the legal concept of failing to act with proper care and caution in a particular situation. In personal injury claims, negligence refers to the defendant’s failure to take reasonable care that caused the plaintiff’s injury. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff, that the defendant breached that duty of care, and that there was a direct connection between the breach and the injury.

Proving negligence can be a complex and challenging process, requiring the help of experienced legal professionals. It is important to work with a personal injury lawyer who understands the nuances of negligence law and can help you build a strong case.

Pre-existing Conditions Explained

Now that we understand how personal injury claims work, let’s explore pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is any medical condition that existed before the accident or incident that caused your injury. Pre-existing conditions can range from minor health problems to more serious medical issues.

Definition of a Pre-existing Condition

A pre-existing condition is a health issue that you had before the accident or injury that is the subject of your claim. It is important to note that pre-existing conditions do not automatically disqualify you from receiving compensation for your injuries. However, it can make your case more complicated and require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

It is also important to disclose any pre-existing conditions to your attorney and medical providers, as failing to do so can harm your case.

Common Pre-existing Conditions in Personal Injury Claims

Some pre-existing conditions commonly seen in personal injury claims include chronic back pain, arthritis, prior surgeries, and degenerative disc disease. These conditions can be aggravated by an accident or injury, making it difficult to determine the extent of the damages caused solely by the accident.

For example, if you had a pre-existing back injury and were involved in a car accident that caused further damage to your back, the insurance company may argue that the majority of your pain and suffering is due to your pre-existing condition, rather than the accident.

How Pre-existing Conditions Can Affect Your Claim

Having a pre-existing condition can complicate your personal injury claim, as the other side may try to argue that your injury is not completely their fault. Insurance companies, in particular, often use pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny or reduce a settlement. However, the fact that you have a pre-existing condition does not necessarily mean that you cannot recover damages.

Your attorney can help you build a solid case that takes your pre-existing condition into account. This may involve obtaining medical records and expert testimony to establish that the accident or injury worsened your pre-existing condition and caused additional damages.

It is also important to note that even if your pre-existing condition was not directly aggravated by the accident, you may still be entitled to compensation for any additional pain, suffering, or medical expenses caused by the accident.

In conclusion, pre-existing conditions can significantly impact personal injury claims. It is important to be upfront about any pre-existing conditions with your attorney and medical providers, and to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of your case.

Disclosing Pre-existing Conditions

When filing a personal injury claim, it is essential always to be honest about your medical history, including any pre-existing conditions. Disclosing pre-existing conditions upfront can prevent problems from arising later in the claims process and strengthen your credibility.

The Importance of Being Honest About Your Medical History

Failing to disclose pre-existing conditions can hurt your case and lead to legal consequences. Lying under oath can result in perjury charges, which carry severe penalties. Being truthful and transparent about your pre-existing condition, on the other hand, can help you avoid many potential legal issues and can benefit your case in the long run.

It is understandable to feel apprehensive about disclosing a pre-existing condition, but it is crucial to remember that it is not uncommon to have a pre-existing condition. In fact, many people have pre-existing conditions that do not affect their daily lives or cause them any problems. Therefore, it is essential to be honest about your medical history and disclose any pre-existing conditions, no matter how minor they may seem.

How to Properly Disclose Pre-existing Conditions

When disclosing pre-existing conditions, you should provide complete and accurate information about your medical history. Provide your attorney with your complete medical records, including previous treatments, diagnostic tests, and medications. With this information, your attorney can more effectively demonstrate how your pre-existing condition was aggravated by the accident or injury.

In addition to providing your attorney with your complete medical records, you should also inform your healthcare providers about any pre-existing conditions. Your healthcare providers can help you manage your pre-existing condition and provide you with the necessary treatment to help you recover from your injury.

Consequences of Failing to Disclose Pre-existing Conditions

If you fail to disclose a pre-existing condition and the other side discovers it, they may use it as evidence to deny or reduce your compensation. Failing to disclose a pre-existing condition can also be considered fraud, which can lead to legal and financial penalties.

Therefore, it is crucial to be honest and transparent about your medical history and disclose any pre-existing conditions. Doing so can help you avoid legal and financial consequences and strengthen your credibility in the claims process.

The “Eggshell Plaintiff” Rule

The “eggshell plaintiff” rule is a term used in personal injury law that states that a defendant must take their plaintiff as they find them. This means that even if a plaintiff has a pre-existing condition, the defendant is still responsible for any injuries they cause, even if the injuries are more severe due to the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition.

What is the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule?

The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule means that a defendant is responsible for all harm caused by their negligent actions, even if the plaintiff is more susceptible to injury due to a pre-existing condition.

How the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule Protects Claimants with Pre-existing Conditions

The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule is designed to protect claimants with pre-existing conditions. It ensures that defendants cannot avoid liability by arguing that the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition made them more vulnerable to injury. Instead, defendants must take responsibility for the harm they cause, no matter the plaintiff’s medical history.

Limitations of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule

While the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule provides important protections, it does have some limitations. For example, defendants can still argue that the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition contributed to their injury, and that their damages should be reduced accordingly. Additionally, plaintiffs must be able to prove that their pre-existing condition contributed to their injuries for the Rule to apply.

It is important to note that the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule is not just limited to physical injuries. It can also apply to emotional distress or mental health conditions. For example, if a defendant’s actions cause a plaintiff with a pre-existing mental health condition to experience a severe emotional reaction, the defendant is still responsible for the harm they caused.

Furthermore, the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule can also apply to cases where a plaintiff’s pre-existing condition was unknown to the defendant. For instance, if a defendant causes a car accident that aggravates a plaintiff’s previously unknown medical condition, they are still liable for any harm caused.

However, it is important to note that the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule does not apply in cases where the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition was the sole cause of their injuries. In such cases, the defendant may not be held liable for any harm caused.


Overall, pre-existing conditions can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury claim. It is essential to be honest about your medical history, work with an experienced attorney, and be aware of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been in an accident, or are considering a personal injury lawsuit, be sure to contact an experienced attorney. Our experts at Paulozzi LPA will help guide you every step of the way no matter what type of personal injury lawsuit you face. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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