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February 5, 2024

Average Aggravated Pre Existing Condition Car Accident Settlement in California

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Short answer: The average car accident settlement resulting in aggravated pre-existing conditions can be approximately: $20,000 – $500,000+. This commonly depends on the type of pre-existing condition you have and how it will impact your life moving forward.

The party you sue can also have a large effect on settlement amounts. If you are suing a large company that settlement often is larger than suing someone driving a personal car without insurance. See the table below for approximate settlement estimates.

Average Aggravated Pre Existing Condition Car Accident Settlement Amounts in CA

Severity of Pre-Existing Injury Settlement Amount
Minor Approximately: $5,000 – $20,000
Moderate Approximately: $20,000 – $125,000
Severe Approximately: $125,000 – $500,000+

Factors That Could Decrease a Car Accident Settlement with a Pre-existing Condition

Attribution of Damages to Pre-existing Condition

In some cases, the opposing party or insurance adjusters may argue that the injuries sustained in the car accident were not solely responsible for the worsened condition.

They might contend that the pre-existing condition played a significant role in the severity of the injuries. This argument can potentially lead to a decrease in the personal injury settlement amount, as the responsibility for damages may be attributed partially to the existing health condition.

Challenges in Proving Causation

Establishing a clear link between the car accident and the exacerbation of the pre-existing condition can be challenging. If there is insufficient evidence or ambiguity regarding whether the accident directly caused the worsening of the pre-existing condition, it may result in a decreased settlement.

Insurance companies may be skeptical about compensating for damages without a strong and verifiable connection between the accident and the aggravated condition.

Factors That Could Increase a Car Accident Settlement with a Pre-existing Condition:

Aggravation of Existing Injuries

If the car accident is proven to have significantly aggravated or worsened the pre-existing condition, it can strengthen the injured party’s case.

Medical documentation and expert opinions that clearly attribute the exacerbation of the condition to the accident can contribute to a higher settlement. The increased impact on the individual’s health and well-being may be considered when determining the appropriate compensation.

Loss of Functionality and Quality of Life

A pre-existing condition that becomes more severe due to a car accident can result in a greater loss of functionality and a diminished quality of life for the injured party.

Courts and insurance companies may recognize the added hardship imposed by the worsening condition and may be inclined to offer a higher settlement to address the increased impact on the individual’s daily life and activities.

*It’s important to note that the outcome of a car accident settlement with a pre-existing condition can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case, the strength of evidence presented, and legal arguments made by both parties involved.

Common Types of Pre-Existing Conditions and Their Potential Influence on Settlement Negotiations

Below are common types of pre-existing conditions and how they might influence the car accident settlement negotiation process:

Orthopedic Conditions

  • Examples: Arthritis, previous fractures, joint problems.
  • Influence: Orthopedic conditions can complicate settlement negotiations, especially if the accident exacerbates these issues. Insurance adjusters may scrutinize claims involving pre-existing orthopedic conditions to assess the extent to which the accident contributed to the worsening of these conditions.

Neurological Conditions:

  • Examples: Chronic migraines, epilepsy, previous head injuries.
  • Influence: Neurological conditions can impact settlement negotiations, particularly if the accident results in a worsening of symptoms or triggers new neurological issues. Establishing a clear link between the accident and the aggravation of neurological conditions is crucial for a successful claim.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • Examples: Scoliosis, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy.
  • Influence: Musculoskeletal disorders may affect settlement negotiations, as the accident could potentially worsen the symptoms or lead to additional complications. Providing comprehensive medical documentation and expert opinions becomes essential to demonstrate the impact of the accident on these pre-existing conditions.

Cardiovascular Conditions

  • Examples: Heart conditions, hypertension.
  • Influence: While less common in car accident cases, cardiovascular conditions may still play a role in negotiations. If the accident leads to increased stress or exacerbates pre-existing cardiovascular issues, it could be considered in the settlement process.

Psychological Conditions

  • Examples: Depression, anxiety, PTSD.
  • Influence: Psychological conditions are increasingly recognized in car accident settlements. If the accident contributes to the worsening of mental health conditions or triggers psychological trauma, it can have a significant impact on the negotiation process. Expert opinions from mental health professionals may be crucial in these cases.

Pre-existing Injuries from Previous Accidents

  • Examples: Injuries from prior car accidents, workplace incidents.
  • Influence: Individuals with pre-existing injuries from previous accidents may face challenges in proving that the current accident independently caused new damages. However, if the current accident exacerbates or worsens these injuries, it can still be considered in settlement negotiations.

Understanding the specific nature of the pre-existing condition and how it relates to the injuries sustained in the car accident is crucial for individuals seeking a fair settlement. Consulting with medical professionals and legal experts can help in presenting a comprehensive case that takes into account the complexities of pre-existing conditions and their influence on the negotiation process.

Tips for Strengthening Your Case

Seek Prompt Medical Attention

  • Why it Matters: Seeking immediate medical attention after the accident is crucial for documenting injuries and linking them to the specific incident. This establishes a clear timeline and strengthens the connection between the accident and any aggravation of pre-existing conditions.
  • Action Steps: Visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible, even if injuries seem minor. Provide a detailed account of your symptoms and the accident during your medical examination.

Maintain Thorough Medical Records

  • Why it Matters: Comprehensive medical records serve as valuable evidence in settlement negotiations. They provide a detailed account of the extent of injuries, treatments received, and any impact on pre-existing conditions.
  • Action Steps: Keep copies of all medical reports, test results, prescriptions, and bills. These records can help establish the connection between the accident and the exacerbation of pre-existing conditions.

Document the Accident Scene

  • Why it Matters: Detailed documentation of the accident scene can strengthen your case by providing visual evidence of the circumstances. This includes photos of vehicle damage, road conditions, and any contributing factors.
  • Action Steps: Take photos of the accident scene, involved vehicles, license plates, and any relevant road signs or signals. Capture images from multiple angles to provide a comprehensive view.

Gather Witness Statements

  • Why it Matters: Independent witnesses can provide crucial support for your version of events. Their statements can corroborate details, such as the severity of the impact and any visible injuries.
  • Action Steps: Collect contact information from witnesses at the scene. If possible, ask them to provide written or recorded statements regarding what they observed.

Consult with Legal Professionals

  • Why it Matters: Experienced personal injury attorneys can provide invaluable guidance. They understand the legal complexities, know how to navigate negotiations, and can even calculate approximate personal injury settlements.
  • Action Steps: Schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case. Choose an attorney with expertise in handling claims involving pre-existing conditions.

Be Honest and Transparent

  • Why it Matters: Honesty is crucial when dealing with legal matters. Be transparent about your pre-existing conditions, previous accidents, and any relevant medical history. Failing to disclose this information can negatively impact your case.
  • Action Steps: Provide accurate and complete information to your healthcare providers, legal team, and insurance representatives. Disclose pre-existing conditions upfront to avoid potential complications later.

Follow Medical Advice and Treatment Plans

  • Why it Matters: Adhering to prescribed treatments and following medical advice demonstrates your commitment to recovery. It also establishes a clear link between the accident, medical interventions, and the impact on pre-existing conditions.
  • Action Steps: Attend all scheduled medical appointments, follow treatment plans, and participate in rehabilitation as recommended by healthcare professionals.

Keep a Personal Injury Journal

  • Why it Matters: Maintaining a personal injury journal can help document the ongoing impact of the accident on your daily life, including any challenges related to pre-existing conditions.
  • Action Steps: Record details about pain levels, limitations in daily activities, and emotional well-being. This journal can serve as additional evidence of the accident’s impact on your life.

By implementing these tips, you could enhance the strength of your case and present a compelling narrative that takes into account the complexities of pre-existing conditions in the context of a car accident settlement. Remember that consulting with a personal injury lawyer is crucial for personalized advice tailored to your specific situation.

Consult with an Attorney

Have questions about your car accident? Contact LawLinq today to connect with some of the best car accident attorneys in the state. All initial consultations are free and we’re here to answer your questions 24/7.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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