In most cases, when someone has an accident that leads to them suffering a personal injury, it is a new injury, a new health problem and a new issue for the injured person to cope with. For some, a pre-existing health condition is affected. Whether it’s an injury that had been suffered in the claimant’s past or an ongoing health problem, it can still have a big consequence upon their day-to-day life, their ability to work, earn money and look after themselves or their family properly.
But if this condition or injury that is already present is affected by an accident, can the injured person still claim compensation? Can they hold the 3rd party liable for their situation even though they already had problems? And will it affect their settlement value for their claim for personal injury compensation?
It comes down to liability
When it comes to making a claim for compensation after suffering a personal injury that relates to a pre-existing injury or health condition, the most important element of the claim remains the same as with all claims for personal injury compensation. You must be able to demonstrate that the 3rd party are liable for the accident and should have avoided it happening in the first place. As a claimant, we don’t expect you to know how to work out if this is possible or how to go about proving it. It’s what we’re here for. We can discuss the specifics of the accident in which your pre-existing condition was affected and advise you as to whether or not we think that you have grounds to pursue a claim for compensation on a no win no fee basis.
When claiming compensation for a worsened pre-existing health condition or injury, it can be a little more complex when it comes to evaluating the level of compensation settlement you should expect to receive. The claims process is the same however, as your solicitor will get your authority to access medical records and then instruct experts to assess you and write a qualified report evaluating the situation and impact that the accident has had. This will form the basis for your solicitor and the insurers defending the claim to discuss what level of compensation you should receive. It’s not always the case that you would get a lower settlement than someone suffering a fresh injury, indeed, it could be more, it all depends on the medical evidence available.
Don’t feel embarrassed
With particular reference to pre-existing health conditions, people who have had their situation worsened by an accident that was not their fault often feel reluctant to claim due to being embarrassed. For many people who have a form of disability, they like to live life privately and do their best to hide their health problems from the outside world. Many people feel (wrongly) that they may lose their job if their disability is discovered and learn to work and manage their health issues. However, when their situation is worsened by an accident, it can become more difficult to hide the problem and carry on as normal.
We’re used to handling these delicate issues and working closely with claimants to make sure that they have the confidence to pursue their legal right to make a claim for compensation, particularly after suffering an accident at work or falling in a public place.
Remember, if your situation has been worsened in an accident that was not your fault, you have every right to seek compensation for the distress, pain and effect that the outcome has on your life. Indeed, by making a claim for compensation, you will get access to further medical assistance that could well help you to recover to your usual level of activity more quickly than not claiming.