Will my pre-existing condition affect my personal injury compensation?
This is a question many people ask themselves after a personal injury. UK law states that any person injured in an accident that was caused due to somebody else’s fault may be legally entitled to claim compensation for injuries sustained in that accident. While this law and its implications are clear, it might appear to some that it assumes the victim was perfectly healthy prior to the accident.
So what happens if you already have some sort of health condition at the time of the accident? Are you still eligible to claim compensation?
This article aims to explain how pre-existing conditions can affect personal injury claims.
What Is Considered A Pre-Existing Condition?
With regard to personal injury claims, a pre-existing medical condition refers to any injury or chronic condition that you were suffering from before the accident. The accident then either worsens the injury or creates other complications. Here’s a look at a few examples:
Example 1: Let’s say you injured your wrist while mowing the lawn. On your way to work, you are involved in a road traffic accident in which your wrist injury is worsened. In this case, you may be able to claim compensation if the accident was the other driver’s fault. However, the question you may be faced with is – can you claim compensation for your injured wrist or will it be considered as a pre-existing condition that you cannot claim for?
Example 2: In another scenario, let’s say you’ve been experiencing chronic back pain because of a slipped disc. You injure your back again and the pain gets worse after a slip on wet flooring. Under these circumstances, are you still entitled to claim compensation for your back injury?
Example 3: In a third scenario, you sustain hearing loss from exposure to loud noises in the workplace, which accelerates your already declining hearing ability. Can you claim for the premature loss of hearing or will the decline in hearing be considered as inevitable and hence not an injury you can claim for?
There is no straightforward answer to any of these scenarios. Whether or not you can claim will depend on the type of injury, the type of accident, and how the accident impacted the injury. Most important of all, your claim will need to be substantiated by a qualified medical professional.
What You Need To Prove To Win A Personal Injury Claim
You are legally entitled to claim compensation only for injuries that you sustain in an accident that is due to somebody else’s negligence or mistake. Moreover, you can expect to win your claim only if you can prove that your injuries were caused by the accident in question. If you were already injured prior to the accident, proving that the accident made your existing injuries worse can be complicated.
You will need to provide medical records to show your injuries and the treatments that you received before and after the accident. You will also need to provide a statement from your doctor indicating that the accident aggravated your injuries or your condition and that you would not be in your current condition if it were not for the accident. It can be difficult to win a compensation claim for pre-existing conditions without a doctor’s statement supporting the claim.
Getting A Medical Check-Up Immediately After An Accident Is Crucial
The longer you wait to get a medical check-up, the more difficult it can be for a doctor to assess the impact of the accident on your existing injuries.
Regardless of whether or not you were suffering from any pre-existing condition at the time of an accident, it is always advisable to get a medical check-up at the earliest for three reasons. The first is to get your visible injuries treated. The second is to check for any invisible internal injuries. The third is to establish that you were injured in the accident and are therefore eligible to file for compensation.
Speaking To A Personal Injury Solicitor Is Just As Important
Winning any personal injury claim can be challenging. Dealing with a pre-existing condition can make it even more difficult to win. The defendant’s solicitors will likely use every legal loophole to disqualify your claim. To win your claim, you need a personal injury solicitor who can prove that your symptoms were made worse as a result of the accident and that you should be awarded compensation for the exacerbated symptoms.
Our personal injury solicitors have experience handling claims of this nature and will fight to protect your legal rights and get you the maximum compensation that is due to you. They will also help fund your claim using the No Win No Fee option so you do not have to worry about having to cover any legal expenses upfront.
Why It’s Important to Disclose Prior Injuries
It can be tempting not to disclose your pre-existing injuries if you can “get away with it”. However, this action can do more than just jeopardise your claim. The defendant’s solicitors are sure to ask for a detailed medical report, which will be analysed by their own medical expert. If they find any discrepancy, however minor, it can have serious consequences. In addition to diminishing your chances of getting any compensation at all, you could also be penalised in various ways.
If you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, it is important that you are honest about any pre-existing medical conditions you had at the time of the accident. The best approach is to disclose all pre-existing conditions and work with your solicitor and doctor to prove how the accident aggravated these injuries.