‘I Slipped And Fell, Aggravating My Pre-Existing Injury. Can I Still Sue The Property Owner?’ Yes, You Can!
There is a common misconception that you cannot sue property owners when slip and fall or other accidents on their property aggravated your old or pre-existing injury. Do we really need to explain how wrong and false this misconception is?
Not long ago, our reader named Roberto recently asked one of our Phoenix premises liability attorneys at the Lorona Mead: “I slipped and fell at a grocery store’s property, aggravating my old injury. Is the store immune from liability simply because I had a pre-existing medical condition or is there any chance to file a lawsuit and seek compensation? Thanks. Roberto.”
Are pre-existing injuries aggravated by negligence ‘compensable’?
Thank you for your question, Roberto. Indeed, way too many people in Phoenix and all across Arizona tend to think that they are not entitled to recover damages if they have a pre-existing injury that was aggravated by an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness.
In reality, you do have a right to seek compensation if someone aggravated your prior injury in an accident because of his/her negligent act or omission to act. Your injury does not necessarily have to be new to be “compensable” under Arizona personal injury law.
Another question is this: Will your personal injury settlement be smaller just because you have a pre-existing medical condition? Now, that is a good question.
Does having a pre-existing injury limit your settlement?
In order to answer this question, several factors must be taken into account, including but not limited to the nature of your accident, the degree of negligence on the part of the property owner, and the severity of your injury both prior and after the accident on the property owner’s premises.
Be sure that when the at-fault party (be it the property owner or any other individual or business) and its insurance company finds out that you had a pre-existing injury or that your injury was merely made worse by the accident, they will do whatever it takes to undermine your case and leave you with little to no compensation.
Is lying about your prior injury an option?
This is where an experienced premises liability lawyer in Phoenix enters the picture and does all the work for you to recover damages on your behalf. The mere idea of insurers and lawyers attempting to limit or deny a personal injury claim because the victim had a pre-existing condition prompts many people to lie about their prior injuries or conceal their medical history.
But lying about your past injuries is the worst thing you can do, and so it not being completely open and honest with your lawyer and doctor. Those are the people you can trust, and those are the people who are trying to help you. They are on your team.
What to do to recover damages with a pre-existing condition in a premises liability case?
If your slip and fall accident or any other premises liability incident was severe enough for you to be hospitalized, be warned that you will be asked to complete a new patient form at the doctor’s office. In that form, you will be asked about your past medical history, in which you are supposed to reveal your pre-existing injuries, if any.
The claims adjuster and the insurance company will want to get access to these records at all cost because these records can be used to limit or deny your claim. “But if lying is not an option and telling the truth can leave me with little to no compensation, then what are my options?” you may be wondering.
Glad you have asked. Each case is unique and requires a different approach, which is why it is highly advised that you speak with a Phoenix premises liability attorney to find out the best legal strategy for your particular circumstances. Having a pre-existing injury will not help the negligent property owner escape liability or limit your compensation when you are represented by a professional.