a patient speaking with a doctor about their pre-existing conditions in los angeles
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By Pejman Javaheri
Founding Partner

Suffering a personal injury can be tough. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can guide you on how pre-existing conditions might affect your case. Usually, if you have a pre-existing condition related to the injury, it can complicate the case. This is because doctors find it hard to tell if your current problems are from the injury or something you already had.

Insurers and Pre-Existing Conditions

Insurance companies often take a closer look when you have a pre-existing condition. They consider these conditions as factors that might have already weakened your health. This can include a variety of health issues like:

  • Back and neck injuries, which could have been chronic or occasional.
  • Bone or disc diseases that might deteriorate over time.
  • Auto-immune disorders which can affect different parts of the body.

With these conditions already in play, it becomes a challenge for doctors to clearly separate the impact of the recent injury from ongoing health issues. This uncertainty can impact how insurance companies view your claim.

The “Eggshell Plaintiff” Doctrine Explained

This legal concept is crucial in personal injury cases. It suggests that if you were more susceptible to injury due to a pre-existing condition (like the metaphorical ‘eggshell thin’ skull), the defendant is still responsible for all the harm caused. This doctrine is based on the idea that a defendant must take the victim as they find them, fragile condition and all. However, according to California law, you cannot claim damages for the part of your condition that existed before the incident that led to the lawsuit. This means the focus is on the additional harm or worsening of your condition due to the incident, not on the pre-existing condition itself.

The Importance of Full Disclosure in Personal Injury Cases

Being transparent about your health history is key in a personal injury lawsuit. This means you need to disclose:

  • The exact body parts affected by both the incident and your pre-existing condition.
  • The timeline between when your pre-existing condition was diagnosed and the recent incident.
  • Whether there was any recovery from the pre-existing condition before the incident occurred.
  • Detailed information on how the recent incident may have worsened your pre-existing condition.

This level of detail is important because it helps establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the incident and your current condition. This information is typically exchanged during the discovery phase, where both parties share relevant information before the trial.

Getting Compensated for Worsening Conditions

In California, a case from 1977, Ng v. Hudson, says you can get money for making an old, quiet condition worse. This covers your medical bills and other costs because of the injury. But, you can’t get money for any troubles you would have had anyway without the injury.

How a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Our experienced personal injury attorneys can assess your situation and guide you on the next steps. If you or someone you know got injured, our team is ready to help gather information and plan your next steps. Call our office for guidance.

About the Author
P.J. Javaheri is an experienced personal injury attorney and a founding partner of Mi Abogado. Mr. Javaheri received his Juris Degree from the University of California, Hastings in 2005. Mr. Javaheri is dedicated to serving clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. His practice focuses on the area of personal injury law, particularly in representing people who have been injured in car, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents, the practice also specializes in premises liability matters. In recognition of his skills and dedication to his vocation, Javaheri has been named on the California Super Lawyers Rising Stars list in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mr. Javaheri is also active in the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.  In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Mr. Javaheri was honored with appointments to the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charities (LATLC) Honorary Board of Directors at its highest level; the Diamond Level. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Javaheri at 310.694.3084 or by emailing contact@miabogado.com.