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How Do Pre-existing Conditions Affect My 18-Wheeler Crash Claim?

18 wheeler accident pre-existing conditions

After a truck accident, you just want to get your life back on track. However, a pre-existing condition can complicate your claims and make it hard to get the compensation you deserve. Sometimes, insurance adjusters will even deny valid injury claims because you had pre-existing back pain or arthritis. It seems unfair and unreasonable, and you’re right.

Under Alabama and Mississippi law, an at-fault driver or trucking company is responsible for the harm they cause—even if you have pre-existing injuries that make you more vulnerable during a crash. In this blog, our experienced personal injury lawyers discuss the rules about pre-existing injuries and truck accidents—and suggest ways that you can protect your legal claims.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that you had before a truck wreck. Common pre-existing conditions include:

  • Chronic illnesses, like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease and back pain
  • Arthritis or degenerative joint disease
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues
  • Migraines and chronic headaches
  • Osteoporosis or osteopenia
  • Past surgeries or injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Scoliosis

These conditions can make your back, knees, shoulders, and other body parts much more vulnerable during a truck wreck.

For example, suppose you have a tiny bulging disc in your neck. You’ve never noticed any severe neck or head pain, but the condition is there. While you’re at a stoplight, an 18-wheeler doesn’t stop quickly enough, and it rear-ends your pickup. The forces from the collision push and pull on your bulging disc, and the already-thin fibers rip and tear. Now, you have a herniated disc that presses on your nerves, causing pain that shoots down your arm and into your hand. Instead of having a silent, hidden condition, you now need surgery.


Whether you were aware of a pre-existing condition before an accident or not, you must know your options and rights.


Whether you were aware of a pre-existing condition before an accident or not, you must know your options and rights.

RELATED: Who Will Pay My Bills After an Alabama Car Accident?

I Have a Pre-Existing Condition. Can I File a Personal Injury Claim?

Yes. Even if you have a severe pre-existing condition, you can file an insurance claim and demand compensation for your injuries. Alabama and Mississippi have a special rule, called the “eggshell skull doctrine” that protects people with pre-existing conditions. Under this law, a negligent truck driver or trucking company is responsible for your damages, even if you are more vulnerable than the typical person.

Imagine someone who has a rare condition that makes their bones as delicate as an eggshell. In a parking lot, an 18-wheeler is distracted by their phone and gently taps your vehicle. Most people would feel a little sore after the bump, but your pre-existing condition results in shattered bones and series of surgeries.

In this case, the truck driver’s insurance company can’t argue that it’s not responsible for your injuries because you have a rare medical condition. Instead, the insurer has to “take you as they find you,” and cover your crash-related bills, lost income, and pain and suffering—no matter how rare and unusual your pre-existing condition.

However, that does not mean that the insurance company has to pay for your pre-existing condition. Instead, it must compensate you for any new injuries or conditions that the crash made worse.

For example, if you had a disc herniation before an accident, the negligent driver is not responsible for the treatment you required before the accident. However, the driver is responsible for your worsened condition, the additional treatment you need, your lost income, and other damages.

RELATED: A Truck Accident Victim Gets the Help She Needs After a Head-on Collision: Angie’s Story

3 Ways You Can Protect Your Legal Claims After a Truck Wreck

1. Seek Medical Care

After a truck accident, you should always seek medical treatment right away, even if you feel like nothing is wrong with you. People often experience an adrenaline rush after an accident, which can mask injuries. When you see a doctor, they can help you identify your injuries and get the care you need. Their medical records will also become important evidence in your legal claims since they can help a judge or jury understand your injuries and accident-related limitations.

If you didn’t see a doctor immediately after your 18-wheeler accident, it’s not too late! However, the sooner you see a doctor, the better. If you’re in pain, call the doctor today.

2. Track Your Daily Routine and Pain Levels

Whether your pain is minor or severe, keeping written notes will help your doctors understand your needs. It will also allow your doctor to compare the symptoms of your pre-existing condition with your symptoms and pain after your accident. This documentation can also and help your attorney prepare a stronger case and ensure you are compensated appropriately.

If you’re not sure where to start with your pain journal, we can help! Simply download the free disability worksheets and guidebook from the Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys website.

You should also keep copies of all of your medical bills, doctors’ notes, and the insurance company’s letters. This information will also help your personal injury lawyer assess your claims.

3. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Before you talk to the insurance company, it’s best to consult with a truck accident lawyer. Insurance companies are for-profit companies, and they’d rather not pay you for your losses. Sometimes, insurance company representatives, called adjusters, will ask leading questions about the crash, your pre-existing conditions, and other factors, hoping you’ll make a damaging statement.


When you work with Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, you can focus on your healing instead of the insurance adjuster’s dirty tricks.


When you work with Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, you can focus on your healing instead of the insurance adjuster’s dirty tricks. Our team will investigate your case, negotiate with the insurance companies, and fight for you. Unlike the insurance company, who wants to reduce your recovery, our goal is to get you the compensation and accountability you deserve.

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for You

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ve helped thousands of people with their truck wreck claims. We know how painful and exhausting it can be recovering from a car wreck, and it’s our goal to fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve. You can rest and heal while we work on your behalf and provide you with peace of mind.

If you or a family member has been the victim of an 18-wheeler accident, whether you have a pre-existing condition or not, your well-being and rights are our priority. We will listen to you, answer your questions, and help you understand the best course of action.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for a no-risk, free consultation. To speak with an attorney from our team, fill out our convenient online contact form or call our offices at 251-888-8888.