Pre Existing Medical Conditions In Personal Injury Legal Claim

MG Law Injury Lawyers

Pre Existing Medical Condition & Personal Injury: Understand Your Legal Options  

Life can be unpredictable, and unfortunately, accidents happen. For individuals with pre existing medical condition, navigating personal injury claims adds an extra layer of complexity to an already challenging situation. Whether it’s a slip and fall, a car accident, or any other mishap, understanding your legal options is essential for protecting your rights and securing the compensation you deserve.  

Many people with pre existing medical condition mistakenly believe an injury won’t be fully compensated because of their past health. But fear not! This blog dives deep into the world of pre existing conditions and personal injury law, dispelling myths and empowering you to understand your legal options. We’ll equip you with the knowledge you need to fight for fair compensation. 

The Power of Documentation 

The aftermath of an accident can be a whirlwind of emotions, physical pain, and logistical hurdles. One crucial element that can often be overlooked in the initial chaos is the importance of thorough medical documentation, especially when dealing with pre existing medical condition. Here’s why having a clear paper trail documenting your pre-accident health is critical in a personal injury case: 

Why Documentation Matters 

Imagine you’re enjoying a leisurely bike ride or a stroll in the street when a car cuts you off, leading to an injury. Your knee, a source of occasional discomfort for years due to a sports injury, now throbs with a terrifying intensity. You know the accident exacerbated your pre existing injury, but proving the extent of that aggravation can be a challenge without documented evidence. This is where thorough medical records become a life saver. 

Detailed records from doctor’s visits, physical therapy sessions, and any relevant scans or diagnoses act as a pre-accident baseline. These records help paint a clear picture of your pre existing condition’s severity and limitations. By establishing a documented history of your condition, you effectively counter the argument from the at-fault party’s insurance that the accident caused no new injuries. This clear evidence strengthens your claim and ensures fair compensation for the additional pain, lost wages, and ongoing treatment needs directly caused by the accident’s impact on your pre existing personal injury. It’s a crucial distinction that can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury case.  

How To Ensure Proper Documentation? 

Don’t let the lack of pre-accident documentation become another obstacle to your recovery. Be proactive, maintain detailed medical records, and empower yourself to fight for the compensation you deserve. Here are some tips for ensuring proper documentation: 

  • Schedule regular check-ups: Don’t ignore even seemingly minor issues with a pre existing condition. Regular doctor visits create a documented record of your health status. 
  • Maintain copies of medical records: Request and keep copies of all medical records related to your pre existing condition, including doctor’s notes, test results, and diagnoses. 
  • Seek additional medical attention after the accident: Promptly seek medical attention after an accident, regardless of the severity. Documenting the new injuries and their connection to the accident is crucial. 

Causation vs. Aggravation  

Many people mistakenly believe that a pre existing condition automatically weakens their personal injury claim. However, the law recognizes the concept of causation and aggravation. Understanding the difference between these two terms is crucial to maximizing your potential compensation. 

Causation

This refers to the direct cause of your injuries. In a personal injury case, the at-fault party’s negligence must be the proven cause of your injuries. Let’s say you have a healthy knee and trip on a broken sidewalk, sustaining a new injury. The broken sidewalk (caused by the property owner’s negligence) is the clear cause of your knee injury.

Aggravation

This refers to a situation where an accident worsens a pre existing medical condition. Imagine you have a slightly bothersome back issue. Then, a car accident triggers a flare-up, causing significant pain and requiring additional treatment. Here, the accident is not the initial cause of your back condition, but it is responsible for aggravating your existing symptoms.

The Importance of Causation and Aggravation 

The concept of causation and aggravation allows you to seek compensation for the additional pain, suffering, and medical expenses caused by the accident’s impact on your pre existing condition. If the accident caused your back pain to worsen, requiring physical therapy and medication, you can claim compensation for those new expenses, not just the pre existing condition itself. 

Ontario’s No-fault Accident Insurance

In Ontario, car accidents are handled through a no-fault insurance system. This means regardless of who caused the collision, you’ll file a claim with your own insurance company for medical expenses, lost wages, and car repairs (depending on your coverage). This system streamlines the claims process and ensures everyone involved receives some level of compensation, but it doesn’t determine fault or impact potential lawsuits against the at-fault driver. 

Thin Skull Rule 

The aftermath of an accident can be stressful, especially if you have a pre existing medical condition. You might worry that a “weak spot” in your health will weaken your personal injury claim. Thankfully, Ontario law offers protection through the “thin skull rule.” 

This legal principle ensures the at-fault party in an accident is liable for the full extent of your injuries, even if a pre existing condition makes them worse. Imagine you have a back issue that occasionally flares up. A car accident triggers a severe episode, requiring extensive physiotherapy and medication.  

The thin skull rule prevents the at-fault party’s insurance from arguing that your pre existing condition caused the severity of the injury, limiting your compensation. They are responsible for the additional pain, lost wages, and medical expenses caused by the accident’s impact on your pre existing condition. 

Disclosure Requirements 

Navigating pre existing conditions and disclosure in personal injury claims can be tricky. There’s no legal obligation to volunteer this information to the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, honesty is key. If your pre existing injury is relevant to your current injuries and the accident made it worse, withholding this information could jeopardize your claim later.  

Discussing disclosure with your personal injury lawyer is crucial. They can advise you on the best approach based on your specific situation, ensuring you receive fair compensation while avoiding potential complications down the road. 

Types of Damages 

In the aftermath of a personal injury accident, the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages can add significant stress to your recovery. You can claim compensation on following grounds:  

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for hospital bills, doctor visits, medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. 
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for lost income during your recovery period if an injury prevents you from working. 
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for your physical and emotional pain caused by your injuries. 
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: Compensation for future lost wages if an injury permanently affects your ability to earn a living. 
  • Property Damage: Compensation for repairs or replacement if the accident damages your personal property, e.g. car, bike.  
  • Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Compensation for transportation to medical appointments, home care services, or modifications to your home to accommodate your injuries. 

Negotiation and Litigation Strategies 

When faced with a legal dispute arising from a personal injury claim, two primary paths emerge – negotiation and litigation. Negotiation involves a collaborative approach, where both parties discuss and attempt to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. This can be faster and less expensive than litigation but may require compromise.  

Litigation, on the other hand, takes the dispute to court where a judge or jury decides the outcome. While it offers the potential for a larger award, litigation is a lengthy and more adversarial process with higher costs. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your options, develop a strategic plan, and navigate whichever path you choose. 

Here at MG Law, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers understands the complexities of both negotiation and litigation. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. Let us guide you through the legal process of pre existing medical conditions in a personal injury claim and help you achieve a successful outcome. 

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