Michael Myers, my fellow InjuryBoard.com blogger from Seattle, has posted a very clear explanation of pre-existing conditions.
Clients often mention pre-existing conditions. They are concerned that things like degenerative disc disease may affect their recoveries.
Insurance companies dwell on pre-existing conditions. But they can be effectively addressed by common sense and good lawyering.
Many injured persons’ medical records show degenerative disc disease, narrowing of the spinal column and or other issues. These are typical for a person who has lived an active life. The key is the contrast between life before and after the accident. If you didn’t hurt before the accident and you hurt after, that’s the only thing that should matter.
To Michael’s post I would only add that in Florida we have a special jury instruction which tells juries how to deal with the aggravation of pre-existing diseases or conditions. The instruction is favorable to the rights of the injured person and seeks to prevent the wrongdoer or his insurance company from benefiting from any inability of medical science to precisely separate the aggravation from what was pre-existing. Insurance companies know that a skilled personal injury attorney will use the wording of the jury instruction to the fullest extent in an appropriate case.