When a West Virginia resident files a personal injury claim, they will likely have a pre-existing health condition. According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Disease Control, West Virginia has the least healthy population in the United States, with the highest incidence of illness and death from chronic diseases, the highest percentage of smokers, and the second-highest rate of obesity. 

In personal injury claims, pre-existing conditions often present unique complexities. When an individual has a health issue prior to an incident, it can complicate how their new injuries are viewed and valued. Legally, the focus is on understanding how the accident aggravated or worsened these pre-existing conditions. It requires a detailed analysis of medical records before and after the incident to establish a clear link between the injury and its impact on the pre-existing condition. Insurance companies might argue the current injuries are merely a continuation of past medical issues, making it challenging to differentiate between the two. Accurate and comprehensive medical documentation becomes a pivotal factor in these cases, providing a basis for distinguishing new injuries from old ones.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

Pre-existing conditions can significantly influence the outcome of a personal injury case. These conditions, which exist before an accident, often lead to complex scenarios when an individual seeks compensation for injuries sustained in an incident. Insurance companies frequently scrutinize these pre-existing conditions, arguing the current injury is not entirely due to the recent accident but rather a result of the individual’s prior medical history. This situation makes it challenging to prove the accident exacerbated these conditions. The extent to which a pre-existing condition is worsened plays a crucial role in determining the compensation amount. Clear medical evidence demonstrating the injury’s impact on the pre-existing condition is vital. It requires a careful examination of medical records to establish a direct connection between the incident and the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. 

Understanding the Legal Definition of Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Law

In personal injury law, pre-existing conditions are defined as any medical issue an individual had before the accident or incident leading to their current injury claim. These conditions can range from chronic illnesses to previous injuries. The legal significance of pre-existing conditions lies in determining the impact of a new injury. For instance, if someone with a prior back injury is involved in a car accident, the law looks at whether the accident worsened their back condition. It’s important for the decision-makers in a case to distinguish between damages caused by the recent incident and ongoing issues from the pre-existing condition. Medical records play a key role in this process, offering insights into the individual’s health status before and after the incident. 

Strategies for Successfully Claiming Compensation Despite Pre-Existing Conditions

Successfully claiming compensation in personal injury cases with pre-existing conditions requires a strategic approach. The key challenge is proving the incident in question significantly worsened these conditions. A comprehensive review and presentation of medical records are pivotal. These records should clearly show the individual’s health status before and after the incident, highlighting any changes or aggravations caused by the recent injury. It is also beneficial to document how the injury has impacted daily life, especially if the aggravation of the pre-existing condition has led to increased pain, reduced mobility, or other limitations. Gathering detailed statements from medical professionals can further strengthen the claim, as they can offer expert opinions on how the incident has impacted the pre-existing condition. Transparent and thorough documentation, combined with a clear presentation of the facts, are effective strategies for overcoming the challenges posed by pre-existing conditions in personal injury claims.

Medical Documentation: Key to Proving Injury Claims with Pre-Existing Conditions

In personal injury cases involving pre-existing conditions, medical documentation serves as a fundamental tool. This documentation provides a factual basis to distinguish between injuries caused by a recent incident and ongoing issues from prior conditions. Accurate medical records before and after the incident are indispensable. These records include doctor’s notes, diagnostic tests, and treatment histories, offering a detailed view of the individual’s health over time. For instance, if someone with a history of knee problems is injured in a fall, medical records can show whether and how the fall worsened their knee condition. A well-documented medical history helps in illustrating the extent of the impact caused by the recent injury. Additionally, statements from healthcare professionals can be invaluable, offering expert insights into the nature and extent of the injuries and their relation to pre-existing conditions.

The Role of Medical Experts in Personal Injury Cases Involving Pre-Existing Conditions

Medical experts play a significant role in personal injury cases with pre-existing conditions. These experts, often experienced healthcare professionals, provide critical insights into the relationship between the injury sustained in the incident and any pre-existing medical conditions. They analyze medical records, examine the extent of injuries, and assess how the recent incident may have exacerbated a prior condition. For example, if an individual with a pre-existing heart condition suffers aggravated symptoms following a car accident, a medical expert can clarify whether and how the accident contributed to the worsening of the heart condition. Their expert opinion helps objectively evaluate the incident’s impact, distinguishing new injuries from ongoing health issues. Medical experts also aid in explaining complex medical terms and conditions in an understandable way for decision-makers in the case. Their input is vital in ensuring a fair and accurate assessment of such personal injury claims.

Legal Challenges in Personal Injury Claims with Pre-Existing Conditions

Personal Injury Law

Personal injury claims involving pre-existing conditions present distinct legal challenges. One of the main difficulties lies in proving how a recent incident has exacerbated these conditions. The task is to demonstrate the injury sustained in the accident has significantly worsened a prior medical issue. Insurance companies often scrutinize such claims closely, potentially arguing the damages claimed are more related to the pre-existing condition than the incident itself. For instance, if someone with a history of neck problems is involved in a vehicle collision, the challenge is to prove the collision, not the pre-existing condition, is the primary cause of their current neck pain. Accurately separating the recent injury’s impact from the pre-existing condition’s ongoing effects is complex and requires careful consideration of medical evidence and expert testimony. These challenges make such personal injury claims particularly intricate.

If you have suffered an injury, please contact Manchin Injury Law Group online, or call our office at (304) 317-7786.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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