The Impact of Pre-Existing Conditions on Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases in California can become complex when pre-existing conditions come into play. Understanding how these conditions impact legal proceedings is crucial for both plaintiffs and defendants.  

In this blog, we explore the nuances surrounding pre-existing conditions in personal injury cases within the California legal framework. 

Defining Pre-Existing Conditions 

Pre-existing conditions refer to any health issues or injuries that an individual had before the accident or incident that led to the personal injury claim. These conditions can range from chronic illnesses to previous injuries and may vary in severity. 

When pursuing a personal injury claim, it's essential for the individual with a pre-existing condition to fully disclose this information to their legal representation. Failure to do so may complicate the case and potentially undermine its credibility. 

Impact on Causation and Damages 

One of the challenges in personal injury cases involving pre-existing conditions is establishing causation. Legal professionals must differentiate between injuries or conditions that existed before the incident and those directly resulting from it. 

If the accident exacerbates or aggravates a pre-existing condition, the plaintiff may still be eligible for compensation. However, proving the extent of aggravation and its connection to the incident is critical. 

Legal Principles in California 

California follows the "eggshell plaintiff" rule, which means that a defendant is liable for the full extent of the plaintiff's injuries, even if the plaintiff's pre-existing conditions make them more susceptible to harm than an average person. 

California employs a comparative fault system, which considers the proportion of fault assigned to each party. If the defendant can establish that the pre-existing condition significantly contributed to the injuries, it may impact the amount of compensation awarded. 

Strategies for Building a Strong Case 

Comprehensive medical records that clearly outline the pre-existing condition and its current state are crucial. These records should also delineate how the incident contributed to the worsening of the condition. 

In complex cases involving pre-existing conditions, expert testimonies from medical professionals may be essential. Experts can help establish a direct link between the incident and the exacerbation of the pre-existing condition. 

Reach Out to a California Personal Injury Attorney 

Navigating personal injury cases in California becomes more intricate when pre-existing conditions are involved. Whether you are a plaintiff seeking compensation or a defendant facing a claim, understanding the legal principles, presenting thorough medical documentation, and employing strategic legal guidance are pivotal. If you find yourself in such a situation, reach out to Harris Personal Injury Lawyers by calling 1-800-GO-HARRIS or by filling out our contact form here.