compensation even with a pre-existing condition

One of the most common reasons why we hear why personal injury claims are denied or victims are hesitant to even pursue personal injury claims is because they have a pre-existing condition. However, if you were injured by someone else’s negligence, you can get compensation even if you have a pre-existing condition.

Insurers cannot deny injury claims when an accident makes an existing injury worse, or if the accident causes a new injury, even if the existing injury contributed to the new injury.

Get Compensation for Your Aggravated Injury

While insurance companies are not required to provide compensation for pre-existing injuries that their policy holders did not cause, if their policy holder causes an accident that aggravates your pre-existing condition (meaning, makes it worse), they are required to compensate you for the treatment of the aggravation.

For example, consider the case of an imaginary woman named Stacy. Stacy had previously injured her knee playing softball. The injury was manageable and didn’t affect her life too much, although she couldn’t run the bases as fast as before. But after slipping and falling on a wet floor in a store where no warning sign had been posted, Stacy now walks with a limp and her doctor tells her she needs surgery.

The store’s insurance company argues that Stacy’s knee is a pre-existing condition, and it’s not their responsibility to pay for her knee surgery. However, while it is true that Stacy’s knee was already injured, it is also undeniable that Stacy’s injury is now worse than it used to be (she never limped before the fall in the store).

South Carolina law states that it doesn’t matter that Stacy had a weak knee that was more susceptible to injury before she fell. The only thing that matters is that she can prove she was injured because she fell, and she fell because of the store owner’s negligence.

You Still Need a Lawyer if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

Fighting to get compensation after an injury on your own is difficult in the best of situations, but when you have a pre-existing injury, it becomes much more difficult. While the insurance company can’t deny you compensation just because you have a pre-existing condition if you have a new or aggravated injury, they can still reduce the amount of compensation you can get.

This is because they are only required to treat the aggravation, not the entire injury. If you don’t have an experienced lawyer fighting for you, the insurance company will try to justify paying as little as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney can help prove that most of the pain you are suffering would not have happened—and the treatment you require would not be needed—if it wasn’t for the at-fault party’s negligence.

Our South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

At Joye Law Firm, we believe that you should never be forced to pay out-of-pocket for an injury that only happened because of someone else’s negligence, and that remains true even when you have a pre-existing condition. Our firm has experience working with injury victims who also suffered from pre-existing conditions, and we know how to prove that your injuries are both serious and new. Contact us today for a free case review to see how we can help you.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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