If you are ever involved in a car accident in Lafayette, Louisiana, it is important to understand that your interests and those of the insurance company handling your case are not aligned. You rightly want to receive compensation for the harm you’ve suffered, but the insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible on your claim to protect its profit margin.
One way that insurance companies try to minimize payouts is by claiming that the injuries you suffered in the accident are actually pre-existing conditions. Often, this is not the case.
Additionally, even if you have a pre-existing condition, you might still be entitled to compensation after a collision in Lafayette, LA.
If you’re wondering whether you can be compensated for pre-existing conditions after a car accident, read on to learn more about this issue and how Kenny Habetz Injury Law can help. Contact our Lafayette car accident lawyer at (337) 399-9000 for a free consultation if this issue arises in your claim.
How Can a Lafayette Car Crash Attorney Help You Get Compensation for Your Injuries?
Cases involving pre-existing injuries or conditions can be complicated. You’ll significantly benefit from having an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lafayette in your corner to maximize your compensation.
Kenny Habetz Injury Law can help with complex cases involving pre-existing medical conditions by:
- Retrieving old medical records
- Explaining the nature of your new injuries to your medical providers
- Working closely with your medical providers to ensure you receive proper treatment, which is recorded in your medical records
- Handling communications and requests from the insurance company
- Keeping you apprised of important deadlines in your case
- Negotiating for fair compensation on your behalf
You can learn more about how we can help when you schedule a free consultation with our Lafayette personal injury attorney.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is any health issue you had before the car accident. Pre-existing conditions could be medical conditions like diabetes or arthritis or injuries, such as a broken leg or arm from a workplace accident.
Common Types of Pre-Existing Conditions in Lafayette
A pre-existing condition could vary widely from one person to the next.
However, some of the more common types of pre-existing conditions include:
- Muscle strains
- Broken bones
- Herniated discs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Any previously diagnosed or even undiagnosed medical condition could be considered a pre-existing condition if it pre-dates the accident.
What Is the Eggshell Skull Doctrine?
The courts realize that a person who is involved in an accident is unlikely to be in perfect health. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as many as 133 million Americans have pre-existing conditions. Having a pre-existing health condition does not mean that you cannot receive compensation, despite the insurance company’s claims to the contrary.
There is a legal concept known as the “eggshell skull doctrine.” This scenario imagines a personal injury victim with a skull as thin as an eggshell. The defendant cannot use the plaintiff’s health condition against them, even if the victim’s pre-existing condition made them more susceptible to injury. The defendant must “take the plaintiff as they are.”
It does not matter if another person wouldn’t have suffered the same injuries as the plaintiff or if someone else’s injuries might not have been as severe. The defendant’s actions were negligent, so they should not be able to use the plaintiff’s particular frailty as a defense.
What Should I Do If I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
If you have a pre-existing condition, inform your personal injury lawyer of this. It is best for them to get out in front of this information to ensure that it is not used against you. Additionally, your lawyer can make recommendations about how you can discuss your medical condition in a way that creates a clear link between your accident and your current injuries.
Inform your current medical provider about your pre-existing conditions so this information can be recorded in your medical records, and your doctor can monitor your condition for aggravations. Insurance companies can often obtain medical records, so it is important that you do not appear to be concealing pre-existing injuries.
You also want to attend all of your medical appointments to show you are taking your health seriously. Keep all of your medical records and provide them to your attorney.
Proving a New Injury or Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition in Lafayette, LA
Just because you have a pre-existing condition does not mean it is relevant to your claim. For example, your arm that was broken in a playground accident likely has nothing to do with the whiplash you suffered in a recent car accident. The insurance company cannot issue a blanket denial of your claim just because you received medical care for a completely unrelated condition.
On the other hand, some medical conditions may flare up or become aggravated because of a new trauma to the body, such as a car accident. In these situations, you want to be able to show that though the collision didn’t cause the condition, it did make it worse.
The key to either of these arguments is to have strong medical evidence that clearly delineates the previous condition and treatment from the current condition and treatment. This is why it’s important to get guidance from an experienced lawyer on how you should describe your new injuries or aggravations of pre-existing conditions. Your medical records may help show crucial information about your current condition.
In some cases, your lawyer might recommend hiring an expert witness who can help describe your condition before and after the accident.
What Is the Deadline To File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Louisiana?
If you were injured in a car accident, Louisiana law generally gives you one year to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This does not give you a long time to seek medical treatment, build your claim, and file a lawsuit. This is why it is critical to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lafayette as soon as possible.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Lafayette Car Accident Law Firm
If you were injured in a car accident in Lafayette, LA, Kenny Habetz Injury Law can help. We can guide you through the claims process.
We can also answer any questions you have, such as:
- “Can I be compensated for pre-existing conditions after a car accident?”
- “What is my case worth?”
- “What are the next steps in the personal injury process?”
Contact us to retain our services so we can begin pursuing the compensation you deserve.