If you have been unfortunately involved in a car accident in the Kansas City area, the road to recovery can be daunting—especially if you have a pre-existing condition. Many accident victims worry that their pre-existing conditions may limit their ability to claim pain and suffering damages. However, the truth is that having a pre-existing condition does not disqualify you from seeking compensation.pain and suffering

Understanding the “Eggshell Plaintiff” Doctrine

In personal injury law, there's a principle known as the "eggshell plaintiff" or “take your victim as you find them” rule. This doctrine asserts that the at-fault party is responsible for your injuries caused by the accident, even if the injuries are more severe because of a pre-existing condition. The “eggshell-plaintiff” doctrine applies to all areas of the law – intentional torts, strict liability, negligence, and even criminal law. It protects the rights of a plaintiff whose pre-existing fragility makes them particularly susceptible to injury.

The Impact of a Pre-existing Condition

A pre-existing condition may exacerbate the pain and suffering experienced after a car accident. The key legal issue is whether the car accident aggravated your pre-existing condition, causing additional pain or disability beyond what you were already enduring.

Documenting the Aggravation of a Pre-existing Condition

To make a successful claim, it is vital to show that the car accident aggravated your pre-existing condition. This typically requires:

  • Medical Evidence: Detailed medical records before and after the accident to demonstrate the change in your condition.
  • Expert Testimony: Often, a medical expert’s testimony is crucial in explaining how the accident worsened your condition.
  • Personal Documentation: Keeping a diary or journal documenting your pain levels and challenges can provide personal evidence of your suffering.

Challenges in Claiming Pain and Suffering

One of the main challenges in these claims is separating the pain and suffering caused by the accident from the symptoms of your pre-existing condition. Insurance companies often scrutinize these claims closely, looking for reasons to minimize their payout. The stringent review by insurance companies often leads to prolonged negotiations and, in some cases, litigation. For the claimant, this can translate into a daunting process where they must prove the causation of their injuries. It is a procedural tightrope where the claimant must demonstrate the connection between the incident and their pain, distinguishing it from any historical medical complaints.

Medical evidence becomes the linchpin in these cases. A thorough and contemporaneous medical record that delineates the onset of new symptoms or the exacerbation of pre-existing one’s post-accident is invaluable. It is often through detailed medical evaluations, expert testimony, and sometimes the use of medical imaging or diagnostic tests that a clear timeline is drawn, delineating the pre-existing condition from the accident-induced injuries.

How Can an Attorney Help?

An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate these challenges by:

  • Gathering and presenting evidence to support the aggravation of your condition.
  • Consulting with medical experts to prove that the car accident caused additional harm.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies who may attempt to downplay the accident’s impact on your pre-existing condition.

Foster Wallace, LLC: Your Advocates in both Kansas and Missouri

At Foster Wallace, LLC, our Kansas City personal injury lawyers understand the nuances of personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions. We are committed to ensuring that our clients are not unfairly penalized for having pre-existing conditions and that they receive full compensation for their pain and suffering.

If you have a pre-existing condition and have been involved in a car accident, you still have the right to claim compensation for pain and suffering. It is crucial to seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer who can effectively manage the complexities of your case.

Michael Foster
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Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney
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