Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler July 13, 2015

Like many Americans, you may have aches, pains or other pre-existing medical conditions –conditions that could significantly impact a car accident injury claim. In fact, insurance companies have been known to use your pre-existing condition to resist paying you for your crash injury, which is why you need an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Full Disclosure of Pre-Existing Injuries

In a car crash claim, you can’t be paid for a medical condition or injury that predates the accident. However, you are legally entitled to payments for injuries suffered in a crash, including any worsening of your pre-existing conditions.

That’s why the handling of such prior injuries is vital in a car wreck lawsuit. This begins with full disclosure of pre-existing injuries. You must reveal to your attorney the full extent and nature of all of your pre-existing medical conditions or injuries before a crash.

This includes injuries seemingly unrelated to your crash injury. Even if they are in different parts of the body, all prior injuries must be disclosed. If you do not disclose pre-existing conditions, you could lose credibility in your lawsuit.

Texas’ Thin Skull Rule

Pre existing medical conditions impact accident claim

Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images

Texas law applies a “thin skull rule,” also known as an “eggshell,” “fragile skull” or “soft shell” rule. This means that tort law takes into account when a person is more fragile due to a pre-existing condition or injury, and because of it suffers more in a crash than if they had not had such an injury or condition prior to the accident.

Thus, you are not penalized for having a weakened condition or injury before the wreck – a wreck which caused you to be injured more severely than someone who did not have such a condition or injury. Defendants must accept plaintiffs as they find them at the time of the crash.

Asserting this thin skull rule as an “eggshell plaintiff” is especially important in a low-impact crash where a jury may be skeptical of severe injuries occurring. By asserting the thin skull rule or eggshell rule, plaintiffs can be credited for an injury that became worse than normal in a low-impact crash due to their pre-existing frailty or fragility.

The bottom line is that the at-fault driver and his or her insurer are responsible for your injury in a crash, whether you were 100% healthy before the impact or you had a pre-existing injury or condition which was aggravated by the crash.

It may not be the defendant’s fault that you were more fragile prior to the crash, but it is the defendant’s responsibility or liability if the crash aggravated or worsened your condition and caused you greater injury.

Your lawyer can fight to ensure you are paid for such injuries. Your attorney can also help you resist insurers’ attempts to assert that a car crash injury was entirely or largely a pre-existing condition for which the defendant is not accountable.

Comparing Medical Records

Having a pre-existing injury can help plaintiffs since their lawyer can compare medical records, showing their condition before and after the crash and how it worsened. Such comparisons can provide objective evidence of the nature and extent of injuries resulting from a crash. Thus, it is vital to maintain detailed medical records before and after a car accident.

An MRI test or X-ray made years before a crash can be compared with such tests after a crash to indicate the worsening of pain and injury due to a crash. An expert medical witness also can testify about how much an injury was worsened by a crash. If the crash significantly worsened a condition, plaintiffs should be able to claim more payments from defendants.

compare medical records before an accident

Photo courtesy of iStock by Getty Images

If medical records or medical experts can show that your prior injury was healed or largely healed, you may have an even stronger case for claiming payments for an injury caused in an accident, since the crash itself then would have caused all of your crash injury, and not just part of it due to a pre-existing condition.

Medical Authorization

An insurance company will try to blame as much of your crash injury as possible on a pre-existing condition, so as to avoid responsibility for it. In doing so, insurers may ask plaintiffs (the injured persons in a car wreck lawsuit) to sign a medical authorization providing complete access to their medical history.

You should not sign such a medical authorization, which could simply give insurers evidence to use against you. In fact, such a medical authorization invades your right to privacy.

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Testimonials

Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!
Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
Jim Adler only offer nothing less than a great experience. They are a very well-established organization. They are outstanding on keeping you up to date with cases. There's no beating around the bush with this organization as they are only straight forward with the whole process. They treat their customers like family as well as go above and beyond to fight cases for you only leaving you with nothing but the best experience. Easy 5-star rated organization. I would highly recommend this one organization you not look over.
Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
I was dropped from a previous law firm regarding my case before I called Jim Adler. They immediately took up my case and worked hard on it - I was always up to date with each step they took and the benefits or consequences of each. In the end, I am highly satisfied with the outcome and would not have it any other way. It took some time but I truly appreciate and want to thank everybody who helped me on this journey and worked tirelessly on it.
Bernard Orozco
Bernard Orozco
17:16 23 Feb 17
I am very happy with Jim Adler & Associates. I did not know anyone who has ever used the Law Firm before. The staff is very friendly and treated me as if I were family. At times it got very stressful being without a job. They helped me when I was confused about the process. Mrs. Theresa Rodriguez stayed in contact with me constantly. Checking on me to see how I was doing and to let me know how things were going on there end. The Attorneys that handled my case know exactly what they are doing to take good care of me. Thank You so much Attorney's Mr.Michael Gomez and Mr.Trey Smith.
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