If you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault and you have sustained an injury, you may be able to claim compensation. If for example you were involved in a road traffic accident and you were already suffering from a back injury prior to the accident, but the accident made the injury worse and exacerbated it, you may still be able to make a claim.
Egg Skull Rule
The general legal doctrine is that a defendant must take a victim as they find them. Therefore even if you had a pre-existing condition prior to the accident, if the accident has caused the condition to become worse for example then you can still claim compensation.
What evidence do I need to prove?
During the course of a personal injury claim, your legal representative will want to obtain your medical records. These may include your GP records, hospital records, physiotherapy records etc. Usually a request would be made for all medical records, so pre accident records and all post-accident records. The reason for this is that f you are examined by an independent medical expert for the purpose of obtaining a medico legal report as part of your claim, the expert will want to see if you have any past medical conditions or pre-existing injures that could impact the value of your claim.
How will a pre-existing condition affect my claim?
A medico legal expert will need to be able to assess what injuries in their opinion have been caused by the accident and what are pre-existing. This will enable the medical expert to provide a prognosis.
Valuing a claim
The starting point for valuing a claim are the JC Guidelines which are the Judicial College Guidelines by a panel of Judges which provide indications as to how much various injuries can be worth. This is used alongside case law. Both the JC Guidelines and case law will consider those injuries in which a
Claimant has had a pre-existing condition or pre-existing injury and this can have an impact on the value of the claim.
Do I have to disclose a pre-existing condition/injury?
In short yes you do. The reason for this is that any medico legal expert will want to review all past medical records and this will be mentioned in a medical report. The medical expert has a duty to the Court to provide an opinion.
Furthermore once Court proceedings have been issued, as part of standard disclosure you have a duty to disclose your medical records to the defendant. If you fail to do so, the defendant can make an Application to the Court to ask for the Court’s permission for the disclosure of such records. It is important to be honest about any pre-existing medical condition or injuries you may have suffered as claimant’s have a duty to be honest.