Gresham, OR asked in Personal Injury for Oregon

Q: If an existing health issue gets worse after a car accident can you sue for that?

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4 Lawyer Answers
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Answered
  • Hillsboro, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: You can sue for the aggravation to a preexisting condition. The tough part is proving how much worse it is.

Joanne Reisman and Mr. Gary R. Johnson agree with this answer

Vincent J. Bernabei
Vincent J. Bernabei
Answered
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Yes. Depending on the health issue, it would be considered either an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or a lighting up of a previously infirm condition. The difference depends on whether the person experienced any symptoms and obtained any treatment for the condition before the accident.

Mr. Gary R. Johnson agrees with this answer

Mr.  Gary R. Johnson
Mr. Gary R. Johnson
Answered
  • Bend, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: yes you can. It's called aggravation of a pre-existing condition. There is a uniform civil jury instruction on point. You should consult with an attorney as aggravation claims are difficult to prove.

Joanne Reisman agrees with this answer

Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
Answered
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Generally yes. But any lawsuit has to be brought before the Statute of Limitations runs out. For adults in Oregon that means you must file suit on or before the two year anniversary date of the accident. (The time limit is longer if you were under age 18 when the accident happened.) Also, you must not have already accepted money for your injury and have signed a release as part of the getting paid. So if some insurance adjuster already offered you money to settle your case and you took it and signed off on a release of liability, there is no going back to take a second bite from the apple.

Now assuming you are within the statute of limitations time period and you never signed a release of liability, you have to consider how hard or easy linking the accident to the aggravation of your medical condition is going to be. Insurance companies manage literally billions of dollars and can afford to hire medical experts who are very expensive and who will waive their very high credentials in front of a jury as they tell the jury that your condition was not aggravated by your accident. You really have to plan from day one, after the accident, how you are going to document your treatment and which doctors you are going to see, and know who would be a good medical expert to hire. This is why it is extremely important to hire a good personal injury lawyer and to avoid talking to the other driver's insurance company and to avoid sharing your medical information with them until you are good and ready, along with your attorney, to try to settle or litigate your case.

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