What Happens if a Car Accident Makes an Existing Injury Worse?

When you’ve been involved in a car wreck, it’s important to inform insurers of the full extent of your injuries. This helps them calculate how much you are due in damages. However, what if pre-existing injuries are exacerbated?

If you find yourself asking, “can I sue if a car wreck aggravates an existing injury” your first action should be to get in touch with an experienced auto accident attorney. They will assess the damages and help you get the compensation you deserve. We cover the basics in our guide below.

Can I Sue if a Car Wreck Aggravates an Existing Injury?

So, can you sue if a car accident makes an injury worse? Unfortunately, the answer can be confusing. For example, if you have a history of severe back pain that is intensified by a collision, you may feel that because the back pain “came first,” then it wasn’t caused by the accident. This scenario discourages many people from seeking compensation or suing the at-fault party and their insurers. 

However, the truth is that any damage you sustain in a car crash, whether it’s a new injury or the worsening of an old one, should be considered by insurers when calculating a payout. You are fully entitled to sue or seek compensation for any damage caused in a car wreck due to a common-law doctrine known as the eggshell skull rule.

What Does the Eggshell Skull Doctrine Mean?

The eggshell skull doctrine states that the victim in a personal injury case cannot have any prior weakness, feebleness, or incapacity held against them. The somewhat odd name comes from a 1939 case (Owens vs. Liverpool Corp) which held that a defendant could not argue that the reason a victim’s skull was fractured was that it was uncommonly fragile.

If we follow through with the example of an individual with a history of severe back pain, this means that debilitating back pain suffered as a result of the accident must be considered to be a consequence of the accident.

The defendant cannot claim that because you have a history of back pain, the car wreck has nothing to do with experiencing intense back pain after the crash. Injuries that emerge as a direct consequence of the accident must be considered on their own merit, and your history is not considered when determining compensation.

This means that if extreme back pain as a result of the crash meant you needed time off work, this should be considered into the insurer’s calculations when determining a payout. Factors like care and rehabilitation costs may also be considered.

You can learn more about the eggshell skull doctrine and how it applies in personal injury claims by contacting our team.

Can You Claim Extra After a Car Wreck Under the Eggshell Skull Rule?

Knowing that you can claim for aggravated or resurgent pre-existing injuries under the eggshell skull rule is important because it means you stand a better chance of getting the payout you deserve. 

Unfortunately, insurance companies are typically quiet about this rule and leave the burden on the victim to know the law. This is unfair and leaves victims suffering not just the agony of injuries sustained in a car wreck, but also the financial burden of having to take time off work or pay for rehabilitation and care. All such burdens should be covered by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.

The best way to ensure that an insurance company isn’t flouting its responsibilities is to contact an auto accident attorney. Your attorney should have a cast-iron understanding of the eggshell skull rule and how to take an at-fault driver to court if you’re suffering from resurgent injuries. 

If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another, you could hire any personal injury lawyer in Katy, TX, or you can hire a West Houston law firm that specializes in car injury claims. Joe Stephens has been defending injury victims in Texas for over 3 decades from negligent individuals, companies, and greedy insurance companies. As a local auto accident law firm in Katy, TX, Joe handles all cases personally, and his staff is always available to answer questions.

If You Were Injured in a Car Wreck Call West Houston Injury Attorney Joe Stephens Now

Pre-existing injuries that have faded are so much worse when they re-emerge due to a car wreck. They reduce the chance of fully healing and require extensive medical treatment. You deserve to be compensated for accidents that aggravated previous injuries. Contact the Joe Stephens Law Firm today, so we can talk about your case.

The Stephens Law Firm, Car Accident Lawyers handles auto accident lawsuits across Texas, including these Houston cities.