What if I had a pre-existing condition?
A pre-existing condition can make a car accident claim more complicated — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t recover for your injuries if you have a pre-existing condition. Under California law, the at-fault driver in a collision is not required to pay for any physical or mental health conditions that existed prior to the accident. However, the other driver is still responsible for any injuries that you suffered as a result of the accident — even if your pre-existing condition made you more susceptible to injury.
Importantly, this means that if your pre-existing condition was made worse by a wreck, you may be able to recover damages to the extent that your condition was made worse. For example, assume that you suffered from anxiety before getting into a car accident. This condition was under control, and did not require any treatment other than taking a daily anti-depressant. However, after being in a traumatic accident, your anxiety has escalated into full-blown panic attacks, and you are terrified to even get into a car. This limits your ability to work or even to complete basic household tasks, like going grocery shopping. While the other driver isn’t responsible for paying for your underlying anxiety condition, they are liable for the losses that you suffered because the condition is now significantly worse. This may include lost wages, medical treatment, and even loss of enjoyment of life.