A bad accident can change a life forever. From a car accident to a slip-and-fall, to an incident in the workplace, there are countless ways to wind up with an injury that requires medical attention and ongoing treatment. Very quickly, medical bills can pile up and your wages may come to a complete standstill as you miss work in order to recover.
When you have a preexisting condition, injuries from an accident can be even worse. Imagine having chronic back pain only to be rear-ended by a speeding or inattentive driver. Suddenly, you’re dealing with new injuries on top of your (now exacerbated) back pain.
It can be difficult to know what injuries came before and after such an accident, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid seeking the restitution you deserve. It can be easy to give in to hopelessness, but there’s usually a way to recover without putting your quality of life in jeopardy.
Getting help from an experienced San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer can boost your chances of recovering both physically and financially from an accident, even when your preexisting conditions confuse the circumstances.
The Ernst Law Group personal injury firm has been fighting for the rights of victims for more than 35 years and has seen cases through for people in situations much like your own. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 and we can schedule a free, no-risk consultation to discuss the details of your personal injury case as soon as possible.
What is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is any injury or medical condition that existed before a current condition or accident. In a personal injury case, this is usually an injury or pain that existed before the accident in question. Common types of pre-existing conditions relevant to a personal injury case follow:
- An injury that is in the process of healing unrelated to the accident at hand
- Chronic pain that existed before the accident
- A permanent disability or chronic condition from a prior accident or medical diagnosis
- Mental issues from head trauma that occurred prior to the accident
What To Do After a California Accident With a Pre-Existing Condition
If you are ever injured in an accident, your top priority once the dust has settled should always be to seek medical treatment, even if you don’t think your injuries are that bad. Seeing a doctor is crucial to your physical and financial recovery. The only way to prove your injuries exist is through the documentation of a qualified medical professional.
When you have pre-existing conditions, the importance of seeing a doctor shortly after an accident is even higher. Any increases or exacerbations to the condition will need to be examined and documented for them to be recoverable.
California law restricts the victims of an accident from seeking damages for pre-existing conditions, but that does not include a worsening of those conditions. For this reason, you must report any pre-existing conditions to your doctor and legal representation. Failing to do so can make it seem like you were hiding those problems to circumvent the restrictions of suing for pre-existing conditions.
Since you’re able to pursue damages that include a worsening of pre-existing conditions, there’s no reason to keep such information from your doctor or lawyer. Doing so is far more likely to hurt your case than to help.
You can also pursue damages for new injuries and conditions that arose as a direct result of your accident.
Even if you don’t think there is any record of your pre-existing condition, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to seek any piece of evidence that can prove an issue existed before the accident. They will look for anything they can to avoid covering your damages and have been known to go as far as (and further than) scouring social media to find evidence of a pre-existing condition.
Instead of risking it, be honest with your doctor and legal representation when discussing any pain or injuries that existed before the accident. Keep in mind that you can still pursue damages for the exacerbation of a pre-existing condition.
Pre-Existing Conditions Could Help Your Personal Injury Case
Sometimes, having a well-documented history of your pre-existing conditions can actually help you recover more than if there was no evidence of such an issue. This is usually the case where a minor problem turns into a serious one after an accident. On top of that, losing credibility for not disclosing pre-existing pain or injuries can put your entire case in jeopardy.
When dealing with your new and worsened injuries after a California accident, seek a legal team with a history of winning cases like yours. See a doctor, establish a treatment plan and document any new injuries, inform them of any exacerbations to existing problems, and call a seasoned San Luis Obispo personal injury law firm.
The Ernst Law Group can guide you through this difficult time and help you recover the compensation you need to fully recover. Call us at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online, and we can get started on scheduling your free case review to begin your personal injury case process today.