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Can Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Your Ability to Sue After a Car Accident?

Saadia Zambrano, a soldier who was stationed at Fort Stewart died from injuries she sustained during a car accident last week. While there is no reason to assume that she had pre-existing conditions as a result of her military career, this does bring up an interesting question – can pre-existing conditions affect your ability to sue after a car accident?

Not Necessarily

As a general rule, pre-existing conditions do not mean that you are prevented from suing for damages after a car accident. However, you should be aware that if you have a pre-existing condition, your insurance company (or the insurance company of the person you are suing) will try to argue that this is the exclusive cause of your injuries and that you are not entitled to any compensation.

You Must Be Careful about Documentation

In order to ensure that your rights are protected in such a case, you need to be careful about gathering documentation both of your pre-existing conditions and of any symptoms that arise after your accident. If Ms. Zambarano did in fact have pre-existing conditions from her military service, for example, her family would need to be able to prove that those were not the cause of her death if they wanted to sue.

Get a Lawyer

In all cases, it is important to get an attorney to protect your rights so that you know someone is fighting for you and not for the insurance company. This is especially true in these kinds of cases because the insurance company will have a legitimate reason to make the claim that the pre-existing condition caused your pain or injury.

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Attorneys Dan Jason and Claire Bradley Jason are Military Veterans with a combined 16 years on active duty as Captains and Judge Advocates in the United States Army. Dan served at several military installations, including as Trial Defense Counsel with the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, South Korea; and Group Judge Advocate with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, Ft. Gillem, GA. Claire is an Operation Desert Storm Combat Veteran and served in a host of other installations. After moving into the Reserves, both attained the ranks of Major before their honorable discharges in 2002. Dan and Claire received several awards for their military service.