Do you have an injury that was made worse after a car accident in St. Petersburg, FL? Car accident victims can often seek compensation for financial losses and pain and suffering. Having a pre-existing condition doesn’t necessarily prevent you from recovering compensation after an accident. But it can complicate your case.

The lawyers at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys have more than 25 years of combined legal experience. We are well-prepared to handle complex cases involving pre-existing conditions. We’ll stand up to insurance companies who will try to blame all of your injuries on your pre-existing condition and deny you the money you deserve.

We’ve recovered millions of dollars in financial awards for individuals injured in catastrophic accidents in St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg wrongful death, St. Petersburg car accidents, taxi accidents, Uber accidents, and Lyft accidents. We can help you fight for justice. 

Call (727) 353-5451 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers. 

How Can Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys Help Me With a Car Accident Claim in St. Petersburg if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

Experience Lawyer for Car Accident

Any automobile accident is traumatic and can cause much anxiety and financial strain. If you have a pre-existing condition, you are already dealing with medical issues and expenses. You deserve to have a top-rated injury lawyer protecting your rights and fighting on your behalf.

When you hire our St. Petersburg car accident lawyers, we’ll:

Investigate the Cause of the Crash and Identify the Injuries Specifically Caused by the Accident

Our first step is to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. This involves collecting evidence from the scene, such as photographs, video footage, and witness statements. We also review police reports and, if necessary, work with accident reconstruction experts. Understanding the dynamics of the crash helps us identify the injuries you sustained directly because of the accident. This distinction is crucial, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions, as it allows us to accurately attribute your injuries to the accident.

Protect Your Prior Medical Records from Unnecessary Disclosure to the Insurance Company

Insurance companies often request access to your entire medical history, looking for reasons to minimize or deny your claim. Our lawyers protect your privacy. We ensure that only relevant medical records are disclosed and fight to protect your prior medical history from being used against you. This means negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, challenging requests in court to keep unrelated health information private.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim for Damages

Evidence gathering extends beyond the accident scene. We compile medical records, expert opinions, and testimony to build a strong case for your claim. This includes documenting your injuries, treatments, and recovery process, as well as gathering evidence of any additional medical attention your pre-existing condition may require post-accident. This comprehensive approach ensures that we can present a clear and compelling claim for damages on your behalf.

Hire Medical Experts Who Can Help Support Your Case

Medical experts play a pivotal role, especially when pre-existing conditions are involved. We collaborate with medical professionals who can provide authoritative opinions on how the accident exacerbated your pre-existing condition. These experts help establish a direct link between the accident and the aggravation of your condition, strengthening your claim and ensuring that the compensation reflects the full extent of your injuries.

Negotiate for a Settlement That Fairly Compensates You for Your Injuries

Negotiating with insurance companies is a complicated process. Our experienced attorneys are skilled negotiators who understand how to present your case effectively to secure a fair settlement. We take into account all aspects of your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the impact on your quality of life, to ensure the settlement covers both your current and future needs.

Present Your Case in Court, if Necessary

While many cases are settled out of court, some require a trial to achieve fair compensation. If your case goes to court, our seasoned trial lawyers are prepared to present your case compellingly and persuasively before a judge or jury. We handle all aspects of the trial process, from pre-trial motions to presenting evidence and arguing your case, ensuring that your rights are defended every step of the way.

You should know that having a pre-existing condition does not automatically disqualify you from compensation after an accident. But choosing the right attorney can make all the difference. We are dedicated to getting justice for you. 

We’re ready to get started on your case today. Contact our St. Petersburg, FL, law firm for a free case evaluation.

What’s Considered a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical injury, illness, or condition that predates your car accident. It’s a physical or mental condition that was not caused by the accident. 

Some common conditions that are exacerbated by car accidents include:


Arthritis, a condition characterized by joint inflammation, can significantly worsen due to the trauma of a car accident. The sudden, forceful impact can exacerbate joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, particularly in areas already affected by arthritis. This can lead to a decrease in mobility and an increase in pain, requiring more intensive treatment or therapy than before the accident.

Broken Bones

If you’ve previously suffered broken bones, these areas may be more vulnerable or less stable, even if they’ve healed. A car accident can re-fracture these bones or cause complications in their healing process. The impact can also lead to issues like post-traumatic arthritis in the affected joints, causing long-term discomfort and mobility issues.

Herniated Discs and Other Back and Neck Injuries

Pre-existing back and neck injuries, such as herniated discs, can be particularly susceptible to further injury in a car accident. The force of a collision can strain or tear the soft tissue further, exacerbate disc displacement, and increase nerve pressure, leading to heightened pain, numbness, or weakness in the limbs. These conditions often require extensive physical therapy, medication, or even surgery to address the new damage.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Individuals with a history of TBI may experience a worsening of symptoms following a car accident. Even a relatively minor impact can lead to significant setbacks in recovery or the emergence of new symptoms such as headaches, cognitive difficulties, mood changes, or sensory problems. The cumulative effect of multiple TBIs can be particularly severe, requiring a reassessment of treatment and rehabilitation strategies.

Cardiovascular Disease

For those with cardiovascular disease, the stress and physical trauma of a car accident can lead to serious complications, including the potential for heart attacks, strokes, or exacerbations of heart failure. The accident’s stress can increase blood pressure and heart rate, posing significant risks to individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.


Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread pain and fatigue, can be significantly impacted by the trauma of a car accident. The physical and emotional stress of the accident can trigger flare-ups, leading to increased pain, fatigue, and other symptoms such as sleep disturbances and cognitive difficulties. This can complicate the treatment and management of fibromyalgia, requiring adjustments to existing treatment plans.

Strains and Sprains

Previous strains and sprains may be re-injured or exacerbated by a car accident. These injuries, even when healed, can leave the affected muscles and ligaments more susceptible to injury. The sudden force of a collision can stretch or tear these tissues again, leading to increased pain, swelling, and a prolonged recovery period. Rehabilitation may include physical therapy, bracing, or other interventions to promote healing and restore function.

Identifying damage caused by your accident can be challenging when you have a pre-existing condition. However, we’ve developed a trusted relationship with a network of respected experts in the Tampa Bay area who will analyze the circumstances of the accident and your medical records. Their opinions carry great weight and will help support your case. 

How Does a Pre-Existing Condition Affect the Compensation I Could Receive After a Car Accident in St. Petersburg?

It really shouldn’t affect the money you can get for damages caused by your accident. It wouldn’t be fair to withhold compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident simply because you suffer from a previous injury or illness. Some studies indicate that about 27% of non-elderly adults have a pre-existing condition. 

The reality is that a pre-existing condition can make your claim more complicated – but our experience, knowledge, and resources can benefit you and put you in the best position to get the maximum amount of compensation available. 

You may have pre-existing conditions that weren’t affected by the accident. You can’t receive compensation for those.

But you can seek compensation if the crash aggravated your medical condition or injury. To win your case, you’ll have to separate the injuries caused or made worse by the accident from your medical condition before the accident.


To limit their liability, insurance companies will try to link all of your current injuries to your prior condition. They may ask for more medical records than they’re entitled to. A skilled personal injury attorney will know how to handle the insurance company’s tactics.


The law is on your side. A doctrine called the “Eggshell Skull” (or “Eggshell Plaintiff”) rule preserves your right to recover the full amount of compensation for injuries caused by someone’s negligence – regardless of your health condition(s) before the accident. The defendant must take you as you are, no matter your physical condition before the crash or if you’re more susceptible to injury than other people.

Under the Eggshell Plaintiff rule in Florida, you (or your survivors) can recover compensation even if you had a pre-existing condition if the crash:

Aggravated a Prior Injury

When a car accident aggravates a prior injury, the Eggshell Plaintiff rule ensures that you can recover compensation for the full extent of the aggravation. For example, if you had a previously healed fracture that is re-injured in an accident, causing more significant pain, requiring additional medical treatment, or leading to complications that were not present before, the law recognizes these as new damages. The key is demonstrating that the accident exacerbated the condition beyond its pre-accident status. Medical documentation and expert testimony are crucial in these cases to clearly establish the link between the accident and the aggravated injury.

Accelerated Your Death or Disability

In cases where an accident accelerates death or disability, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable, the Eggshell Plaintiff rule is vital. This principle acknowledges that if an individual’s pre-existing condition would have eventually led to death or disability, but the accident hastened this outcome, the responsible party can be held liable for the accelerated timeline. This aspect of the rule underscores the importance of understanding the full impact of an accident on someone’s health trajectory, particularly in calculating compensation for lost years of life or hastened onset of a disability.

Re-activated a Prior Illness or Condition

Similarly, if a car accident re-activates a prior illness or condition, the Eggshell Plaintiff rule ensures that the defendant is liable for this reactivation. 

For instance, if someone with a dormant condition like fibromyalgia experiences a flare-up triggered by the stress and physical trauma of an accident, the defendant is responsible for the consequences of this reactivation. Proving reactivation requires a careful documentation of the condition’s status before the accident, demonstrating that the accident was the proximate cause of the flare-up or reactivation.

The Eggshell Plaintiff rule applies to physical and emotional or mental conditions as well. If you had anxiety, PTSD, or depression prior to the crash but now suffer to a greater degree, you could receive compensation to the extent the accident worsened those conditions.

SeanCarlo Lopez, Esq. Florida Car Accident Lawyer
SeanCarlo Lopez, Esq, Car Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg

Get Help From Our St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyers if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

If you suffer from a pre-existing condition and were injured in a car accident, don’t let the insurance company convince you that you don’t deserve compensation. The St. Petersburg car accident attorneys at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys will stand up for you.

Initial consultations are always free, and we’re standing by 24/7 to take your call.