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How Pre-existing Conditions Can Impact Car Accident Claims in Oregon

Auto accident claims are multifaceted and can be particularly complex when an injury aggravates a pre-existing condition. At Johnson and Taylor, our car accident attorneys help personal injury clients throughout Oregon understand how pre-existing conditions may affect their case and how our lawyers can maximize their chances of a successful claim.

New Injuries and Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions

One key factor that has an impact on a car accident claim is determining whether an injury existed prior to a crash or was a direct result of the collision. Although people with pre-existing conditions may be more susceptible to certain types of injuries, if an accident aggravates existing injuries or causes new ones, they may be entitled to compensation for damages.

For example, if a whiplash injury sustained in a car accident exacerbates a pre-existing condition such as a herniated disc, you may be able to recover compensation for treatment of both the whiplash injury and the aggravation of the herniated disc. Proving that a crash aggravated a pre-existing condition can be challenging, so it’s important to have an experienced car accident lawyer in your corner.

Proving Causation

Although proving causation is part of any personal injury claim, it can become especially complex when pre-existing conditions are involved. Insurance companies do whatever they can to minimize payouts and deny claims, so they may argue that injuries sustained in an accident were mainly due to pre-existing conditions rather than the accident itself.

To dispute this claim, you must demonstrate that the crash was the proximate cause of your injuries. This means that it was the direct and foreseeable outcome of the negligent party’s actions. Medical evidence that documents the nature and extent of your pre-existing condition and the treatment or management of it can help show that a collision caused it to worsen. Medical opinions and expert testimony can also provide compelling arguments to establish a causal link between the crash and an aggravated pre-existing condition.

Disclose Pre-existing Conditions to Your Car Accident Attorney

Always be honest with your personal injury attorney about any pre-existing conditions you may have. Insurance companies often conduct extensive investigations and may explore your medical history. If you fail to disclose a pre-existing injury, your claim could be denied and you could even be sanctioned by the court. However, it’s important to speak to a car accident attorney before giving insurance adjusters any access to your medical records. Your auto accident lawyer will know the best course of action to work toward a successful claim settlement.

Mitigation of Damages

After a car accident, injured victims have a duty to mitigate their damages. This means that they must seek proper medical treatment for new injuries and aggravated pre-existing conditions. Failure to do this can impact the amount of a potential settlement or result in your claim being denied.

Insurance companies usually scrutinize your medical records to determine whether you’ve taken action to mitigate damages. It’s critical to follow your doctor’s recommendations, attend all medical and rehabilitation appointments, and keep detailed records of treatment and medical expenses.

How an Oregon Car Accident Attorney Can Help with Claims Involving Pre-existing Conditions

An experienced auto accident lawyer can provide invaluable guidance throughout the personal injury claims process. They can assess your case and advise you of your options for recovering compensation. If you move forward with your claim, they will conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence, and put it all together to support your case. Your car accident attorney handles all negotiations with insurers and advocates for your rights.

Each case is unique, and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive will depend on the specific circumstances. Personal injury attorneys are well-versed in the complex process of calculating damages in claims involving pre-existing injuries. They may be able to help you recover damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

Our personal injury lawyers give you an honest assessment of your case and the value of a potential car accident settlement or award. We tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear, which is critical to having realistic expectations in claims involving preexisting conditions.

In addition to litigating personal injury cases, we handle probate estate planning and divorce and family law matters. Our personal injury attorneys serve clients in Salem, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon Coast, Medford, and throughout Oregon.

Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers to Schedule a Free Consultation

At Johnson and Taylor, we care about you and your family and work toward the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been involved in a car accident that has aggravated a pre-existing condition, our team is here for you. To schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Salem, Oregon, contact us online or call 503-990-6641. If your condition makes it difficult to travel, we can meet with you at home, by phone, or via Zoom.