Will my L5-S1 spinal fusion 8 years ago be considered as pre-existing condition? 27 Answers as of June 27, 2013

Rear-ended sitting still. Speed of impact 55 mph. Total my 2009 Nissan. Having severe hip pain/whiplash and headaches question is, I had a L5-S1 spinal fusion 8 years ago. Will they say it is a pre existing condition? I am very active and have been running working out 3-4 days per week until accident. Now I can hardly get out of bed the pain is so bad. Need some advice. Hospital bills already $40,000 without the physical therapy I have to do 3 days a week.

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Tomalas Law Firm
Tomalas Law Firm | Ryan Tomalas
It is important that you understand that the law does not "penalize" a person for having a pre-existing condition. In fact the law says that the person who causes an accident "takes the plaintiff/victim [you] as they find them." But, the burden is on that victim to show how/if their pre-existing injury was aggravated and/or made them more susceptible to the injury they sustained in a subsequent collision/incident. I have passed our response to a very similar inquiry below (based on the facts I assume this may be a 2nd submission from you): Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer or "formula" to use in calculating what your claim is "worth." There are numerous different factors to consider; the most important of which is related to whether or not your prior injury was aggravated. We don't always suggest that a person needs an attorney to help them when they have been in an accident; however, in light of the significance of your bills, they way in which this has impacted your life and (again, most importantly) your pre-existing condition in your back, we strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The reality is that the insurance company for the at-fault party will likely try to point to your history of back problems as a way of paying you less for your injuries, where as an experienced personal injury attorney very possibly could make that pre-existing injury one of the strengths of your claim/case. We specialize in representing injury victims like you and would be very interested in discussing your claim; the consultation is free and we do not get paid until/unless we are successful in recovering on your behalf.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2012
Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC
Wild Sky Law Group, PLLC | Roxanne Eberle
If your pre-existing condition was asymptomatic, they can try, but will fail to use it against you. Also, if your pre-existing condition made you "particularly susceptible" to injury, they are on the hook for it as well. You are probably going to need a lawyer to help you effectively battle an insurance company on this one. They aren't typically used to using the law, facts or logic in settling claims. .
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/3/2012
Law Offices of Susan M. Pires | Susan M. Pires
You are an eggshell plaintiff, and your claim is taken as presented. A pre-existing condition is just that, a pre existing condition. It will not be used against you.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 6/27/2013
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
Yes, your prior medical condition may be considered a pre-existing condition especially if dealing with issues in the same area of the body.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 10/3/2012
Lewis B. Kaplan | Lewis B. Kaplan
Damages resulting from aggravation of a pre-existing condition are recoverable in Illinois .But you also may have a completely new injury in addition to that . Those are medical questions a lawyer would explore.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 10/3/2012
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    The fact that you had a spinal fusion can actually be used to your advantage. You are what is called an "eggshell plaintiff." That means you are more susceptible to injury than a normal person. You need an attorney who is an expert at personal injury cases ASAP. Do not talk to the liability insurance company representatives of the opposite party as they may try to trick you into inadvertently saying something that hurts your case (they are good at that). Get a lawyer and let him do the talking. Also, there may be medical payments coverage under your auto policy that will help with the medical bills. The attorney should help you identify that as part of his/her representation of you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/2/2012
    Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C.
    Law Offices of Tanya Gendelman, P.C. | Tanya Gendelman, Esq.
    Even if there is a pre-existing condition, you may still be entitled to money damages. You need to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    It is a pre existing condition, and they will certainly bring that out. This doesn't mean that you cannot show that the pre existing condition was aggravated, or that an entirely other body part (other level of the spine) was injured.If you are trying to do this without an attorney, my advice would be to get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    If some horse's patoot rear ended you while at a light, they take the injured party the way they find them. So, they cannot use your preexisting condition against you. They are responsible for your pain and suffering (serious impairment of body function). You go against your own auto insurance for the medical bills, lost wages, medical mileage and household replacement services.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Sedin Begakis & Bish | Mindy Bish
    You are what is known as an egg shell Plaintiff in that you had a pre-existing condition that made it more likely that you would be injured in a subsequent accident. Under the law you are entitled to recover money for increase in pain and medical bills caused by the accident itself. You could provide witnesses who will talk about your physical activity before the accident and after the accident. Additionally your medical records will reflect that you had not required any medical care for some period of time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Yes it is a pre-existing condition, but the responsible party is liable for any aggravation of any pre-existing condition.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    I suggest that you consult with an attorney to discuss the details of this situation and ensure the best possible outcome. It may be considered a pre-existing condition, or argued that by the insurance company, but that will not necessarily prevent an offer being extended.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    You have a pre-existing condition.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Attorney at Law | Sepehr Omrani
    It depends on your current condition. What is your diagnosis, prognosis, etc. Did the accident make your neck condition worse? It is critical to review your medical records as well as discuss this issue with your treating physician.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
    Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
    The striking driver has to deal with you as you were- not everyone is lucky enough to hit a strong, young man who can withstand a crash without injury. If you were without symptoms and are now in pain you have a claim. You certainly have a claim for all your medical expenses and loss income. You may have a claim for permanent injury. With the expense level you note in your question, you certainly merit legal help as the issue of your condition will be raised by the defense but should only be a consideration in arriving at damages and not a total bar to your recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Yes, it will be a pre-existing but you can show that you were pain free and active and this has caused new injuries.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    All prior related conditions will be considered. You should meet with an attorney who will give a free consultation to prepare your case legally and medically for the best recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Yes, it is a preexisting condition but, under North Carolina law the insurance company is liable for an exacerbation of that condition. You need a top notch personal injury lawyer. do not try to deal with an insurance co yourself. They are trained to save money for the company.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Even if you have pre-existing injuries, you should be able to recover for you new injuries, and any aggravation to your old injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC | Paul Schroeder
    The rule in California is you take your plaintiff as you find them. A defense lawyer will try to prove your symptoms pre-existed the accident. However, assuming you were as active as you say, and pain free, and can prove it, the defense is on the hook for all your injuries, even if they are more severe than they would have been had you never had the fusion.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should get a good personal injury attorney to handle the case. The pre-existing injury will be considered along with any new injuries.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/2/2012
    The S.E. Farris Law Firm
    The S.E. Farris Law Firm | Spencer E. Farris
    You need a lawyer, and soon. It is likely that the new crash aggravated your fusion, causing pain. This is a much more complicated case than if you had no prior back injury.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/3/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Yes, they will say that you spinal fusion is a pre-existing condition, but you are able to be compensated for an aggravation or an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. If you were out running 3-4 days per week until the accident, make sure you can document that through neighbors, running buddies.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/2/2012
    Law Offices of David M. Blain
    Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
    The direct answer to your question is yes, the defense/insurance company will try and lower the amount of money you may be entitled to because of your pre-existing injury. You should hire a personal injury attorney to handle this for you because the attorney will be more likely to maximize your recovery.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/2/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    By definition, a pre-existing condition is a pre-existing condition.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/2/2012
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