Bicycle Accidents and Pre-Existing Conditions
Liability insurance companies are always looking for ways to save money to increase their bottom lines. One of the ways that they do that is to try and devalue personal injury claims that are made against their policyholders. With some bicycle accident claims, that attempt at devaluation is done when a pre-existing injury to the same part of the claimant’s body is found. A personal injury claim can still be made, even with a pre-existing injury. That’s because a bicycle accident can aggravate a pre-existing condition or even cause fresh damage.
What is a Pre-Existing Injury or Condition?
A pre-existing injury is an old injury that a person suffered before a recent accident that he or she is presently making a personal injury claim on. In many cases, the pre-existing injury healed long ago, and it isn’t causing the claimant any pain or discomfort. What comes to issue is that some old injuries can be reinjured or even be made worse. Here are a few examples of some common pre-existing injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries and concussions.
- Disc bulging and damage to the structure of the spine, especially the neck and lower back.
- Shoulder and knee damage.
The Insurer’s Medical Authorization
The insurer of the person or entity that caused your bicycle accident is likely to forward you a medical authorization for signature and return. You’re not required to sign it or return it. The authorization is probably overly broad and will allow the insurer to get all of your medical records over your lifetime. Sure, it wants to obtain records of your care and treatment in connection with your most recent injuries, but it also wants to learn whether you suffered any other injuries involving the same part of your body. If you’re without the benefit of one of our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers and the opposing insurer learns of a prior injury to the same part of your body that you injured in your recent accident, the value of your case can decrease significantly.
The Eggshell Head Doctrine
This doctrine controls cases involving pre-existing injuries or conditions. It states that a victim with a pre-existing injury should be eligible for compensation for injuries suffered in a new accident so long as the following are true:
- The claimant was unaffected by the previous injury or condition.
- He or she had no reason to believe that their old injury or condition would be aggravated, but for the new accident.
Our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers offer free confidential consultations and case reviews. It’s extremely important that you advise us of any pre-existing injury or condition that you were affected by in the past so that if we’re retained to represent you, we can work at overcoming any arguments from the opposing insurer from the onset. Our objective is to maximize any settlement or award that we might obtain for you.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.