How Pre-Existing Medical
Conditions Affect Injury Claims
Sept. 30, 2022
Since suffering a childhood injury, you’ve experienced back pain your entire life. When the flare-ups get too intense, you take your prescribed medication. Then, one day you’re out stopping in a nearby retail mart, and you slip and fall backward on a wet surface. The accident results in increased back pain, which causes severe pain and limited mobility.
You file a claim against the storeowner’s liability insurance, and the insurance company claims your injuries were pre-existing and your pain and other problems are not new and not a result of the accident. They refuse to pay, and you ask yourself whether they can get away with this.
That’s a good question, and it all depends on whether you take legal action using the “eggshell skull rule.” The eggshell skull rule is a legal principle observed nationwide that holds the negligent party responsible for all injuries resulting from an accident regardless of the injured party’s vulnerability or fragility due to a pre-existing condition.
If you’ve been injured because of another person’s negligence or recklessness in or around Altamonte Springs, Florida, and you're concerned that your pre-existing condition will stand in the way of your claim, contact me immediately at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A.
With my 25-plus years of experience in fighting for injured persons’ rights to just compensation, I will press your claim using the eggshell skull rule and hold the insurance company to the letter of the law.
I proudly serve clients throughout Central Florida, including the communities of Seminole, Orange, Osceola, and Volusia, as well as the counties of Polk and Lake.
What Is a Pre-existing Condition?
People across the nation routinely experience pain and physical challenges throughout their lives because of hereditary or acquired conditions. High blood pressure can be hereditary and can plague a person throughout life.
While hypertension itself might not normally figure in an injury claim, other pre-existing conditions can, including:
Back, spinal and neck injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions
Degenerative disc disease
Previously broken bones
Strains and sprains that persist
How Do Pre-existing Conditions
Affect Injury Claims?
As we indicated in our earlier example, an insurance company parsing a claim for an injury will often attempt to pin the pain and suffering the claimant is experiencing on a pre-existing condition. For instance, the insurer will counter that the injuries cited in the claim are no different than the complications the person felt before the accident. Therefore, there are no new injuries.
In the case theorized above, the claimant can offer medical evidence showing that there was no herniated disc suffered in their childhood injury prior to the slip-and-fall accident, perhaps through an X-Ray taken during a routine exam months before the accident. Thus, the herniated disc had to be the result of the slip and fall.
The bottom line is, though the eggshell skull rule holds the negligent party liable for new injuries regardless of the sufferer’s pre-existing condition, an insurer – or attorney for the defendant -- is nonetheless going to try to claim it is all a continuation of a pre-existing condition.
Holding the Other Party Accountable
Property owners and operators are required by law to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to protect those on the property from harm. Drivers likewise by law are required to show a “duty of care” for the safety of others on the road. If a property owner or vehicle operator fails to live up to the safety and care standards expected of them, they can be liable for any injuries they cause through their negligence.
To prevail in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you must therefore show (prove) four elements:
Duty: The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances
Breach: The defendant breached that duty by acting in a certain way or failing to act in a certain way
Causation: This breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries
Damages: As a result, the plaintiff incurred compensable losses and damages
Get Compassionate Legal Advice
If you suffer injuries because of another’s negligence, or breach of duty, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages, but insurance companies will use every trick to lowball or deny your claim. This is especially so if they can cite a pre-existing condition upon which they can blame all your injuries and damages. Don’t deal with the insurer by yourself. Seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.
If you’re in Central Florida, contact the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. for legal assistance. Let me examine the circumstances of your accident, negotiate with the insurer, or take the matter to court if needed. I will apply the full range of my decades of experience, knowledge, and resources to obtain the just compensation you deserve.