Car Accidents And Pre-Existing Injuries – Claims Advice

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My Pre-Existing Injury Got Worse After A Car Accident, Can I Claim?

By Cat Way. Last Updated 16th August 2023. If you have been involved in a car accident and a pre-existing injury got worse, you may be wondering whether you can still claim compensation. The short answer is yes, you can still make a personal injury claim, and in this guide, we’ll explain the issues surrounding this.

Making a claim that involves a pre-existing condition can be more complicated than a standard personal injury claim. It can sometimes be difficult to prove that your injuries were worsened by an accident.

Pre-existing injury got worse after car accident

My pre-existing injury got worse after a car accident

If you wish to make a personal injury claim following an accident in which your pre-existing condition got worse, Legal Expert can help you.

If we can see that you have a legitimate claim we can provide you with a skilled personal injury solicitor to handle your car accident claim.

To begin your claim, call us today on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, you can contact us in writing using the claims form on our website.

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What Is A Pre-Existing Injury Made Worse By A Car Accident?

Suffering a worsening of a pre-existing after a car accident essentially means that the person who was injured already had an injury or lived with a pre-existing medical condition. Being involved in a car accident worsened their injury or medical condition, increasing their pain and suffering.

In some instances, the worsening of the pre-existing injury or medical condition may have a long term impact on their lives.

There are two ways that a car accident can worsen a pre-existing condition. The first is the acceleration of a condition, which means that the effects of the condition are brought forward by the accident. The claimant may not have been aware they had the condition until they suffered the accident.

The second is the exacerbation or worsening of a pre-existing condition, which is when the pre-existing condition is made worse. For example, if you suffer from multiple sclerosis, arthritis or osteoporosis they can all be worsened by a car accident.

Understandably these sorts of injuries can be more difficult to prove. Your medical records from before and after the accident and other evidence will have to be assessed by a medical expert. A specialist solicitor will need to collect as much evidence as possible to support your compensation claim.

Obtaining medical evidence, in particular, can help determine whether you’ve suffered an acceleration or an exacerbation injury. This evidence can also be used to determine the extent of that damage too.

What Pre-Existing Injuries Could Be Made Worse?

We will now look at some pre-existing injuries or medical conditions which can be exacerbated or accelerated by a car accident.

  • Soft tissue injuries: Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck which is caused by the head being forced forward and back, overstretching the muscles. Suffering whiplash with a pre-existing condition can worsen medical conditions such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis, as well as any long-term back injuries.
  • Broken bones: If you have suffered from a broken or fractured bone that you have had treated and had started to heal, being involved in a car accident may cause the bone to rebreak or refracture. The bone will already be weaker if it is in the process of healing. In some instances, the break or fracture may be worse than the first time.
  • Back injuries: If a person has a pre-existing condition affecting their back such as degenerative disc disease or a prolapsed disc, a car accident can exacerbate their condition.
  • Brain injuries: If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury recently you are sadly more vulnerable to reinjury. If a person with a traumatic brain injury is involved in a road traffic accident, their condition may be exacerbated, or a new injury may develop.

If a car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim. Call Legal Expert today and if we believe you are owed compensation for the worsening of your injuries, we will provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to handle your compensation claim.

How Does The Eggshell Rule Apply To Pre-Existing Injury Claims?

The “eggshell rule” is also known as the “thin skull rule” or the “take your victim as you find them rule”.

As the title suggests, the law does not discriminate against people who may be more vulnerable to suffering an injury than others. It is simply misfortunate that the injured person had that pre-existing condition and found themselves harmed in an accident.

The eggshell rule applies to situations where an injury happened where most people would only suffer minor injuries, but the claimant suffered more serious injuries. This could be due to a medical condition that the victim already had.

For example, a car passenger may have osteoporosis and the impact of a car accident caused them to break a number of bones, whereas other passengers may have only suffered strains or sprains.

We recommend calling us today to speak to a claims advisor who will be able to let you know if you can make a claim for an injury involving a pre-existing condition or not.

Could You Claim If The Car Accident Only Made A Pre-Existing Condition Worse?

If the only injuries you suffered was the acceleration or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition this should not be held against you when you claim.

It is the job of medical experts to assess your medical notes and your current condition and determine the extent of the acceleration or the exacerbation.

If you have suffered new additional injuries as a result of the car accident you may also be able to claim additional compensation for these injuries.

How To Prove That The Car Accident Caused Your Injury To Get Worse

To successfully claim car accident compensation for a pre-existing condition, your solicitor must be able to present evidence that your pre-existing injuries or medical condition were worsened as a result of the car accident.

Proving this can be difficult. You may need to use medical records, x-rays and the results of a medical assessment to prove that the car accident worsened your pre-existing condition.

For example, if you had a fractured arm that worsened after a car accident, you will need to provide the following records:

  • The original medical diagnosis of your injuries
  • Medical reports from doctors appointments that help prove that your fracture was healing
  • Medical records after your car accident to prove that the bone had refractured as a result of the car accident.

We recommend seeking the correct medical treatment after a car accident. First of all, you need to ensure that you visit a GP or a hospital (as appropriate) so your injuries don’t get worse over time.

Going to a doctor also means that your injuries or worsening of your injuries will be diagnosed, which can be used as evidence to support your pre-existing injury claim.

As part of the personal injury claim, your solicitor will arrange for you to be examined by an independent medical expert. Their role will be to determine the extent of the acceleration or exacerbation. This will then be used by your solicitor to arrive at an appropriate value for your injuries, as well as proving the car accident caused the harm suffered.

How To Prove That The Other Party Was At Fault

You will have to prove that the road traffic accident was caused by negligence on the part of the other driver or road user. To achieve this, it will be necessary to establish that the other driver owed you a duty of care (which all road users do under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Highway Code), that they breached that duty of care, and as a result, you suffered an injury.

Your solicitor may have to provide evidence that the other driver disobeyed the rules of the road, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or that they were looking at their phone whilst they were driving.

Your solicitor may use CCTV footage, police reports, witness statements and insurance company documents to prove that the accident was not your fault.

You can also collect evidence at the scene of the accident by photographing any damage to your vehicle, visible injuries, or hazards on the road.

You can also keep any receipts or medical records relating to your injuries which may be used as evidence to support your claim for a pre-existing injury that got worse after a car accident.

A Car Accident Aggravated My Pre-Exisiting Condition – What Is My Settlement Worth?

If a car accident aggravated your pre-existing condition, your settlement could be made up of two heads. These two heads cover different areas of your claim, and are calculated in different ways.

The first head that we will discuss is general damages. This head of your claim covers the physical and mental injuries that you sustain as a result of the vehicle collision, as well as the ways in which these injuries affect your life. The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) help legal professionals value this head of claim, as it provides guideline settlement brackets for various types of injuries.

You can find some examples of the compensation amounts found in the 16th edition of the JCG in the table below, but please note that these are guidelines only.

Nature Of Your InjuryPossible SettlementNotes
Neck Injuries - Severe (1)In the region of
The most serious level of injury leading to incomplete paraplegia or which results exeriencing a permanent spastic quadriparesis. There may be extensive symptoms associated with this.
Neck Injuries - Severe (2)£65,740 to
Those injuries such as serious fractures and breaks.
Neck Injuries - Severe (3)£45,470 to
The injury may cause a dislocation or fracture as well as or cause severe soft tissue damage and injury. There could be a tendon rupture.
Neck Injuries - Moderate (1)£23,460 to £36,120Dislocations and fractures which are less serious than the category or degree above. The person will be vulnerable to future and further trauma.
Neck Injuries - Moderate (2)£24,990 to
Soft tissue and wrenching injuries.
Back Injury - Moderate (2)£12,510 to £27,760Disturbance of ligaments or a prolonged disruption of a pre-existing condition or an acceleration of a condition by a number of years.
Minor Head Or Brain Injury£2,210 to £12,770Head injuries which only result in minor degrees of head or brain injury.
1 Or More Whiplash injuries With 1 Or More Psychological Injuries£4,345Recovery is expected within 18-24 months.
1 Or More Whiplash Injuries£4,215Recovery is expected within 18-24 months.

The second head of claim that you could pursue is special damages. This allows you to claim back the financial losses you experience as a result of your injuries. For example, this could include the cost of:

  •   Lost earnings.
  •   Prescriptions and other medicines.
  •   Travel to and from appointments or work.
  •   Childcare.
  •   Help with housework.

In order to make a claim under this heading, you must be able to provide proof of your losses, such as with bank statements and receipts.

For more information on claiming compensation for a car accident that exacerbated a pre-existing condition, contact our team of helpful advisors today.

How To Make A Claim For An Accident Causing A Pre-Existing Condition

To begin a personal injury claim for a pre-existing condition that was worsened by a car accident, we recommend you work with a solicitor experienced in these types of cases. That’s where we can help.

Why trust a solicitor from Legal Expert?

  1. Legal Expert can handle your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
  2. Our solicitors have decades of experience handling personal injury claims. They have the expertise to navigate any legal hurdles, debunk legal jargon and push for the maximum compensation you could be owed.
  3. Check out our reviews from our past clients to see more about our excellent service offering
  4. We can help people nationwide

No Win No Fee Claims For Injuries Made Worse By A Car Accident

Legal Expert can handle your personal injury claim with a pre-existing condition on a No Win No Fee basis, so you take on less financial risk. A No Win No Fee claim means that your solicitor will offer you what’s known as a Conditional Fee Agreement—the formal name for a No Win No Fee Agreement.

The underpinning principle of this agreement is that you only pay a fee to your solicitor on the condition that they achieve a successful outcome.

This means there are no fees to pay upfront, nothing to pay as the case proceeds, and if it ends unsuccessfully, you will not have to pay any of your lawyer’s fees.

If the claim is a success, you’d pay your solicitor a success fee. This is a small percentage that is deducted from the compensation awarded.

To learn more about No Win No Fee claims, get in touch.

Contact Our Claims Team

To begin your No Win No Fee claim for an injury that worsened after a car accident, call Legal Expert today on 0800 073 8804.

Alternatively, you can contact us using our online accident claims form.

Or you can chat with us now using our live chat service.

If you have a valid reason to claim compensation, an experienced personal injury lawyer will start the work on your compensation claim right away. So call Legal Expert today, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Injury Claim Resources

Thank you for reading our guide to making a claim if you suffered an accident in which a pre-existing injury got worse. We’ve included some more guides that you may find useful below.

Can A Whiplash Claim Be Refused?

How To Claim As A Passenger In A Car Accident

An NHS Guide to Soft Tissue Injuries

The NHS Guide to Whiplash

We also have some other guides on car accident claims that you may find useful:

Guide by Chelache

Edited by Billing

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