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How The Insurance Company Uses a Pre-existing Condition to Mislead You into Accepting Less Money and How to Overcome It

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

The insurance companies have no shame. They will use any means necessary to pay you the least amount of money possible for your injury. One of the things I hear them saying over and over is: “your clients condition was pre-existing.” Well, let me tell you, even if your condition is pre-existing, the law allows you to recover damages for the harm the insurance companies insured caused you if the condition become worse as a result of the accident.

The Law

The California Jury Instructions (CACI), which are the instructions that the court reads to a jury in a trial defines aggravation of a preexisting condition or disability as:

Plaintiff is not entitled to damages for any physical or emotional condition that he/she had before defendant’s conduct occurred. However, if plaintiff had a physical or emotional condition that was made worse by defendant’s wrongful conduct, you must award damages that will reasonably and fairly compensate him/her for the effect on that condition.

As you can see, the pre-existing condition defense is just another trick the insurance companies try to use against you to try and not pay you the value of what your damages are worth.

How to Overcome This Argument

Although this can come about in many contexts, most commonly they arise when you have had a prior neck or back problem. One way to overcome this argument is to produce evidence, by way of your prior medical records to show that your condition was stable prior to the injury producing event taking place.

Another way you can overcome this argument is by showing even if the condition was not stable, how the injury causing event made the matter worse. For example, if you were suffering from neck pain because of a disk herniation but the condition was stable and, as a result of the collision now you are required to do surgery, that would show that the injury producing event made the injury worse.

Bottom Line

Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they will go to great lengths of trying to pay you as little money as possible. Don’t let them fool you by making these types of arguments. Remember the law is on your side.

I hope this information helps you. If you would like to speak to me, you can call my office at 619-887-4148; send me a text at 619-485-6313; leave us a message here or email me at

Born to get you justice.

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