In the current discourse over health care reform, one issue involves whether someone with a “pre-existing condition” should be prevented from obtaining health insurance. President Obama says the answer should be “no.” In the personal injury context, many states, including Illinois, treat “aggravations” of a pre-existing condition the same as a new injury. Therefore, it is critical to contact a top-rated injury and accident attorney to discuss your case.
When people with a pre-existing condition are severely injured in an accident, such as a car accident, they may wonder if the pre-existing condition that is a hurdle for health care coverage will also be a hurdle in a personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help severely injured people with pre-existing conditions receive just and proper compensation. To speak with a top personal injury attorney at Passen & Powell, call (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) defines a “pre-existing” condition as “any medical condition that a person has before being enrolled in an insurance plan.” There are an infinite number of pre-existing conditions which may be aggravated as a result of a severe or traumatic injury, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia (or chronic pain), pregnancy, diabetes, obesity and depression.
Under Illinois law, a person who has pre-existing condition aggravated by severe personal injury is still entitled to full compensation under what is called the “thin skull rule” or the “eggshell skull” rule. Simply put, the eggshell plaintiff rule says that a person who causes injury to another “takes the victim in the condition he/she finds him.” In other words, a negligent person is responsible for all injuries inflicted, whether an injury already existed or not.
Indeed, Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction, 30.21, that the jury “may not deny or limit the plaintiff’s right to damages resulting from this occurrence because any injury resulted from an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or a pre-existing condition which rendered the plaintiff more susceptible to injury.” For example, if a victim has minor arthritis, and the arthritis is made more severe as a result of being in a car accident, the jury will be instructed that a person causing the accident is still responsible for damages, notwithstanding the existence of a pre-existing condition.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, contact a top personal injury lawyer in Chicago at Passen & Powell for a free consultation at (312) 527-4500.