Can a Vehicle Accident Aggravate Pre-Existing Injuries?


When you are involved in a car accident, the immediate aftermath can bring a flurry of concerns and questions—especially regarding injuries. Motor vehicle collisions can be violent events that lead to serious physical complications. For those with pre-existing conditions, the worry intensifies as the accident may not only cause new injuries, but also aggravate existing medical issues. A Cincinnati car accident attorney may be able to help if a collision aggravated old injuries.

What Is a Pre-Existing Injury?

A pre-existing injury refers to any medical condition or injury that existed before the car accident. These conditions vary widely and can range from previous accident injuries to chronic illnesses. Common examples of pre-existing injuries include:

  • Previous fractures or broken bones
  • Chronic back or neck pain
  • Arthritis or joint issues
  • Prior concussions or head injuries
  • Existing surgical implants, such as knee or hip replacements
  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Chronic back or neck pain

How a Car Accident Can Affect a Pre-Existing Injury

A car accident, even a minor one, can significantly aggravate pre-existing injuries. The impact and force of a collision can exacerbate underlying conditions, causing more severe pain, longer recovery times, and additional medical complications.

For example, a person with a history of herniated discs may experience a sudden worsening of their condition following a car accident. The jarring motions and impact can cause the discs to shift or herniate further, leading to increased nerve pressure and intensified pain. This could result in a need for more aggressive treatments, which might not have been necessary before the accident.

Another example is someone with osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures. In a car accident, the forces exerted can cause bones that would otherwise withstand minor impacts to fracture. This can lead to complicated breaks that might require surgical intervention and a prolonged recovery period, significantly impacting the victim’s quality of life and mobility.

Can Pre-Existing Conditions Affect a Car Accident Claim?

In Ohio, people who are injured in a car accident have the right to file an insurance claim or Cincinnati personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused their collision. If you plan on pursuing these claims, it is common to wonder whether a pre-existing injury can affect your ability to secure compensation.

Ohio recognizes a legal doctrine called the eggshell plaintiff or the eggshell skull rule. This principle states that a defendant must take the plaintiff as they find them. In simple terms, this means that if a vehicle accident worsens your pre-existing condition, the person responsible for the accident is still liable for the enhanced injuries. It’s irrelevant whether a healthier person would have suffered less; what matters is the actual impact on you.

However, this principle comes with responsibilities for the injured party. You must prove that the defendant’s negligence directly exacerbated your pre-existing condition. This process can be intricate, requiring clear medical documentation and often expert testimony.

In these situations, a Cincinnati car accident attorney can provide valuable assistance. A lawyer can help differentiate between the effects of the accident and your pre-existing condition, tapping into their network of resources and expert witnesses to build a robust case on your behalf.

If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, especially with a pre-existing condition, don’t navigate this challenging time alone. Contact an attorney to discuss your accident and take your first steps toward fair compensation.

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