Diagnostic Imaging and Pre-Existing Conditions in Car Accident Claims

Diagnostic imaging is a powerful tool for car accident claims — but that’s true for insurance companies as well as plaintiffs. Personal injury attorneys often seek MRI scans and X-rays to demonstrate undeniable proof of injury. On the other hand, insurance companies will pounce on any hint of a pre-existing condition to avoid hefty payouts.

Don’t let insurers confuse the jury on the subject. In most states, a long-standing legal doctrine upholds the plaintiff’s right to damages in car accident cases. Pre-existing conditions are rarely the lone cause of injury for victims of car wrecks, and aggravating a condition still counts as injury.

Here’s what you need to know about car accident claims involving evidence of a pre-existing condition uncovered during imaging tests.

Degenerative Disc Disease in a Car Accident Case

Suppose you have a client who has been in a car accident, and is now suffering from lower back pain. An MRI scan reveals lumbar strain, but it also shows clear signs of degenerative disc disease. The insurer is likely to argue that the pre-existing condition reduces their liability for the injury.

This is by no means a rare scenario. Degenerative disc disease is extremely common; in fact, disc degeneration is all but inevitable for people older than 60. But many people who technically meet the diagnostic criteria for the condition don’t experience any symptoms at all.

The question under the law is not whether the pre-existing condition caused the injury; it is to what extent the accident produced the damage. The patient’s susceptibility to injury should not affect the value of the settlement; the court must consider the extent of the injury, not the plaintiff’s fragility.

The Eggshell Doctrine in U.S. Personal Injury Law

The Eggshell Doctrine is well established in most states. The maxim holds that defendants remain responsible for at-fault injuries regardless of the plaintiff’s pre-existing health conditions. In the above example, this would mean that, if the car accident led to a lumbar sprain in the victim, the presence of asymptomatic degenerative disc disease should not invalidate the claim.

In short, there’s no need to worry that an MRI scan, X-ray, or other form of diagnostic imaging will harm the plaintiff’s case. Even if advanced imaging techniques reveal pre-existing conditions, if the victim was injured in a car accident and another driver was at fault, the case remains strong.

Precise Imaging works with personal injury attorneys to obtain restitution for plaintiffs in multiple states. We offer the experience, flexibility, and patient-centered care it takes to win car accident cases, and we offer a suite of resources just for attorneys. Browse our online tools for lawyers here.   

To book an appointment for a client, call Precise Imaging at 800-558-2223 today.