Yes, you can recover damages for any injuries you suffer in a Georgia car accident, even if you have pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition may complicate your legal recovery, but it does not change the fact that you have the right to recover compensation for your accident injuries, including any worsening of your pre-existing conditions caused by the crash.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition is an injury, sickness, or health problem that you had before the car accident.
Insurance companies in personal injury cases try to label as many conditions as possible as pre-existing in hopes that they will not have to pay for the related medical expenses and other losses.
What Types of Damages Are Available After a Car Accident Involving Pre-Existing Injuries?
If a car accident made your existing conditions worse, you might be eligible to receive compensatory damages for the damages caused or aggravated by the accident, which can include:
- Lost income and benefits
- Physical and emotional distress
- Medical expenses and ongoing costs (beyond regular treatment for your pre-existing conditions)
- Permanent changes to your appearance
- Inability to enjoy life as before
- Wrongful death if the accident resulted in a fatality
What Happens if a Georgia Car Accident Aggravates a Pre-Existing Condition?
You can recover damages if the accident worsens your pre-existing condition. While you can't recover compensation for any medical condition you would have had if the crash had not occurred, you can recover compensation for any worsening of a condition that you had before the crash.
Common Pre-Existing Conditions That a Car Wreck Can Worsen
Some injuries and illnesses are more likely to become worse if you are involved in a car accident, including:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
If you have had concussions in the past and then hit your head in a car accident, the harm to your brain can be more serious and have a more significant impact on your life.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain and can make everyday life very difficult. It's not always clear what causes fibromyalgia, but there have been cases where car accidents have either started the condition or made existing fibromyalgia even worse.
If you have medical conditions such as osteoporosis or osteogenesis imperfecta, your chances of getting fractures in a car accident increase significantly. Having brittle bones also makes you more susceptible to harming organs that are shielded by your bones, such as internal injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Degenerative conditions such as degenerative disk disease or arthritis can get worse because of the impact of a car crash. This can result in more severe symptoms and long-lasting pain for the person affected.
How an Attorney Can Help if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
Although you may have the right to compensation for injuries resulting from the car accident and any worsening of your pre-existing health conditions, obtaining the compensation can be challenging. At Rechtman & Spevak, our Georgia personal injury lawyer has decades of experience handling car accident claims. He can help by:
- Investigating your car accident to collect evidence demonstrating that another party is responsible for the crash
- Recording your losses by gathering medical bills, financial records, and other supporting evidence
- Collaborating with expert witnesses, if needed, to build a strong case against the opposing party
- Handling insurance claims and engaging in settlement negotiations
- Preparing to file a lawsuit and advocate for you in court, if the other party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement