Impact Of Pre-Existing Conditions On Personal Injury Claims

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In addition to their impact on your overall wellbeing, pre-existing conditions can complicate and potentially jeopardise personal injury claims. Navigating the complex landscape of personal injury law in Victoria can be difficult, especially when dealing with a pre-existing condition. That’s why we’ve prepared this guide on how pre-existing injuries can impact settlements and claims.

Carbone Lawyers prides itself on our ability to provide comprehensive and compassionate legal assistance. Our expertise in personal injury law is built on a foundation of years of hands-on experience and a deep commitment to fair outcomes for our clients. If you have a pre-existing condition, read on to learn how this could impact your personal injury claim.

What is a Pre-existing Condition?

What actually is a pre-existing condition and why does it matter? In the context of Victoria’s personal injury law, a pre-existing condition is defined as any injury, illness, or medical condition that existed during the employment process, i.e., at the time of applying for a job. This term describes conditions that an individual could reasonably suspect would be exacerbated by the duties of the job. 

For instance, a person with a back injury applying for a role as a furniture removalist would be recognised as having a potentially relevant pre-existing injury. Importantly, this definition is generally consistent across various domains of personal injury law, such as Transport Accident Commission (TAC) claims, public liability, and superannuation insurance in Victoria.

Do You Have To Disclose Pre-existing Conditions?

Whilst generally medical information is private, disclosure of pre-existing conditions to a prospective employer is highly recommended in Victoria as not doing so can invalidate your ability to make a WorkCover claim. Additionally, if your employer asks during the hiring process about your existing conditions in writing, withholding the truth or the full extent of your conditions will almost certainly hurt your chances of getting compensation down the track should you aggravate or exacerbate a pre-existing condition.

Pre-existing Conditions and Liability

Pre-existing conditions can significantly affect liability in personal injury cases, such as car crashes or workplace injuries. Depending on the nature of your pre-existing condition, your employer or another party in an accident may attempt to argue that the symptoms you are experiencing are as a result of a pre-existing condition. 

Can You Seek Compensation with Pre-existing Conditions

Despite being a complicating feature, having a pre-existing condition does not preclude an individual from seeking compensation, whether it’s related to workplace injuries or other types of personal injury claims.

Even if you have a pre-existing condition, you can claim compensation, provided that your employment has contributed to a ‘recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation, or deterioration’ of that condition.

Types of Compensation Available

  • Weekly Payments: These are provided if the injury affects your ability to work, either reducing your capacity or preventing you from working altogether.
  • Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses: This includes costs for medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and necessary medications related to the aggravated condition.
  • Lump Sum Compensation: In some cases, if the injury leads to a permanent impairment, you might be eligible for a lump sum payment.

 

It’s important to note that while you can claim for a pre-existing condition under WorkCover, the presence of such a condition may make the claim more complex and potentially affect the amount of compensation. We recommend talking with one of our lawyers to discuss your options.

For personal injury claims with a pre-existing condition outside the workplace, such as those arising from car accidents and incidents that occur in a public place having a pre-existing condition is also not necessarily a barrier to seeking compensation. These claims are evaluated based on how the incident has affected the pre-existing condition.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Full Disclosure: It’s crucial to fully disclose the nature and extent of your pre-existing condition when making a claim. Inadequate disclosure can limit or even prevent compensation.
  • Documenting the Aggravation: Clear medical evidence showing how the incident has worsened the pre-existing condition is vital. This includes detailed medical records and specialist opinion.
  • Legal Representation: Given the complexities involved in claims with pre-existing conditions, professional legal advice is essential. Our lawyers specialise in personal injury law and can help navigate these complexities and advocate for your rights.
  • Insurance Considerations: Insurers may scrutinise claims involving pre-existing conditions more closely. A well documented and robust claim is essential to counter any challenges from insurance companies.

Why Choose Carbone Lawyers?

We understand the complexities of navigating personal injury claims with pre-existing conditions. If you’re facing the daunting prospect of a personal injury claim and are concerned about how your pre-existing condition might affect the outcome, reach out to us to receive expert and compassionate legal advice with a no-win no-fee policy.

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