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Insurance Companies Try to Deny Claims Using “Pre-Existing Injuries” as an Excuse

by danapplegate on June 13, 2012

Pre-Existing Injuries

“Pre-existing injuries” is an injury one has before an accident. The term is used for the excuse used by many insurance companies to avoid awarding compensation to people who make claims against them when they have sustained an injury in an accident. However, it is extremely rare for an individual to make a claim for an injury they had which existed before the accident took place. In fact, it’s difficult to use an injury that occurred in the past for a new case involving an accident injury because there is obviously a medical record that can be found that documents it. There are exceptions to the rule though, as there are some claims that are made that really do involve pre-existing injuries.

Example of Pre-Existing Injury

Say you have a bad back, but later you’re involved in a car accident and sustain a whiplash. The accident made your pre existing back injury worse. The fact that you had a pre-existing back injury doesn’t mean that you should be denied compensation for your whiplash injury. In other words, people who are involved in an accident with who had a pre existing injury should contact a personal injury lawyer about filing a claim for any new physical damages they’ve sustained that makes the pre-existing one worse. Insurance companies recognize the rights of individuals filing personal injury claims, but many of these companies claim the injuries of a plaintiff existed before the accident so the claim is denied. Luckily, the “eggshell plaintiff doctrine” is used to prove a plaintiff’s case to avoid the common tricks played by insurance companies.

Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine

The “eggshell plaintiff doctrine” simply states that injuries can happen easier if there is already an injury present before an accident. In other words, an individual is in a weakened state if they have an injury and accidents involving a mild impact could cause further damages to an existing injury. Regardless of an individual’s condition during the time of an accident, liabilities are still at play. Drivers who are personally responsible for a car accident are liable for any injuries that the victim experiences from that incident. The fact that a victim had existing injuries before an accident does not relieve the driver of liable and their insurance company responsible for financial compensation.

Insurance Companies Try to Deny Responsibility

Insurance companies will do anything to avoid paying for the negligence of their clients. However, the negligence of the person responsible for an automobile accident is still negligence, regardless of a victim’s pre-existing injuries. Determining who is liable and who is at fault for causing injury in an automobile accident should not be affected by the Eggshell Plaintiff principle. Avoiding common tricks played by insurance companies are best accomplished by letting your lawyer know your complete medical history. Preventing insurance companies from distorting the truth by claiming the injuries was pre-existing at the time of the accident is achieved by letting your lawyer know all the facts about your medical history.

This post was written by Dan Applegate – from  injury law firm in Los Angeles, CA Fisher & Talwar.

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