What Happens If You Have a Preexisting Condition and File a Personal Injury Claim in New Jersey?

The existence of a pre-existing condition is one issue that often causes questions while negotiating the complexities of a personal injury claim. Many people who have been hurt worry that their chances of getting reasonably compensated will be lower if they have been hurt before. New Jersey residents facing such challenges would do well to familiarize themselves with the help of a New Jersey personal injury lawyer.

  • A Pre-Existing Condition

In the context of a personal injury claim, the term “pre-existing condition” refers to any injury, disease, or physical or mental health condition already present before the accident or occurrence that caused the claim. There is a vast range of possible causes, some of which are:

  • Long-Term Illnesses

Chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.

Past Injuries

Injuries that have already occurred, such as a fractured bone, a sprained muscle, or a surgical incision.

  • Conditions That Lead to Decline

Degenerative diseases, such as arthritis and spinal disc degeneration, progress naturally over time.

  • Problems with Mental Health

Mental health issues such as sadness, anxiety, or PTSD have existed for a while.

  • History of Disability

The incident exacerbated preexisting impairments, such as mobility issues or vision loss.

The Legal Theory of the “Eggshell Plaintiff”

Personal injury law in New Jersey and many other states follows a theory known as the “Eggshell Plaintiff” doctrine. In practice, this implies that a defendant in a personal injury action must accept the plaintiff as they find them, flaws and all.

When a plaintiff’s preexisting medical condition or vulnerability to injury has been exacerbated or worsened by the defendant’s acts, the contributory negligence law may be used. The “Eggshell Plaintiff” doctrine is best understood by keeping in mind the following points:

  • There is an Emphasis on Vulnerability

The doctrine states that a defendant cannot raise a plaintiff’s preexisting condition to avoid responsibility for damages.

  • Complete Accountability

Regardless of whether the plaintiff already had a medical condition or was more vulnerable to injury because of their medical history, the defendants are entirely accountable for the damages they cause.

  • Expenses Related to Aggravation

The plaintiff has a right to demand compensation for any additional harm or suffering arising from the aggravation of a preexisting ailment due to the accident or incident.

  • Testimony from Experts

Expert medical testimony is typically necessary to prove that the accident exacerbated a preexisting ailment. Medical experts could testify about how the collision made the plaintiff’s preexisting condition worse.

  • Provenance and Paperwork

The “Eggshell Plaintiff” theory requires extensive medical evidence before and after the event to prove that the occurrence in question exacerbated the plaintiff’s preexisting condition.