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The Role of Pre-Existing Conditions in Spinal Injury Claims

October 27, 2023Spinal Injury

Skeleton with a spinal injury

Whether you received a spinal injury in a pedestrian, car, or a work accident in Houston, pre-existing conditions introduce an added layer of complexity to spinal injury claims. One of the central challenges is establishing the extent to which the pre-existing condition was affected or exacerbated by the incident.

Exacerbation or Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition

It is referred to as “exacerbation” or “aggravation” of a pre-existing condition by healthcare providers when an accident causes a previously diagnosed medical condition, ailment, or minor injury to worsen. Those are defined as follows:

  • Exacerbation is the minor flaring up of a condition.
  • Aggravation means a severe injury has occurred that requires further medical treatment.

Having a pre-existing condition does not disqualify you from recovering compensation, but you must be able to provide medical evidence that the accident exacerbated or aggravated it. An attorney can help you gather evidence to establish the difference in your injury severity before and after the accident, as well as demonstrate how your life has changed.

The Eggshell Skull Rule in Texas

The Eggshell Skull Rule, also known as the “thin skull” or “pre-existing condition” rule in Texas, is a legal principle that holds a defendant (at-fault party) liable for the full extent of a plaintiff’s (injury victim’s) injuries, even if the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition that made them more susceptible to harm. Essentially, it means that a defendant must take the plaintiff as they are, regardless of any underlying vulnerabilities. If a plaintiff with a pre-existing condition sustains an injury due to the defendant’s negligence, the defendant is responsible for the full scope of the harm, even if it exceeds what would typically be expected for a person without such a condition. This rule serves to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions and ensures that they are not unfairly disadvantaged in personal injury cases.

Proving a Spinal Injury Claim When You Have a Pre-existing Condition

Proving a spinal injury claim when a pre-existing condition is involved requires a careful and strategic approach. First and foremost, transparency is paramount. Disclose your pre-existing condition to your attorney. Withholding this information can have serious legal consequences later.

Next, your lawyer will help you seek expert medical opinions from specialists who can comprehensively assess how the accident affected the pre-existing condition. This expert testimony serves as crucial evidence in establishing causation. Causation refers to the direct link that must be established between the incident or negligence and the resulting spinal injury, demonstrating that the actions of the responsible party were a substantial factor in causing the harm.

Your attorney will also thoroughly review your medical records, ensuring they clearly document both the pre-existing condition and how it was impacted by the accident. Additionally, gather any relevant historical medical records that demonstrate the state of your condition prior to the incident. This will provide a comprehensive timeline of your health history. With a lawyer’s help, you can build a strong case and ensure you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Speak to a Trusted Houston Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal injury due to another party’s negligence and also have a pre-existing condition, arrange a free consultation with our Houston Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer today. We can discuss your legal options and the best course of action in your case.