Pre-Existing Conditions in a Medical Malpractice Claim
A pre-existing condition is a medical condition, or injury, that existed before the current medical issue you are dealing with. This concept often comes up in the context of medical malpractice cases.
Doctors who are faced with medical malpractice claims may blame a plaintiff’s pre-existing condition; having one does not prevent you from this type of lawsuit. There is a concept under the law which dictates that doctors take patients as they are.
So if you have a previous injury, an allergy, a disease, or other medical ailment, it does not change the medical professional’s duty of care to you. Doctors owe the highest standard of care to their patients – in whatever form they present themselves.
True, it is difficult to determine the precise connection between a pre-existing condition and harm done by medical personnel. If a court found that you would have suffered an injury due to an existing health condition, no matter what a doctor did, your recovery could be limited.
Medical malpractice cases become more complex when you have the following pre-existing medical conditions:
Injuries from a trauma (broken bones, brain injuries, psychiatric conditions);
Congenital abnormalities (birth defects);
Injuries that did not heal properly/Injuries that are still healing;
Recurring medical conditions such as, asthma, seizures, or epilepsy;
Causation is the crux to a medical malpractice lawsuit. You may have a good case if a doctor’s mistake caused you to be injured, or if you failed to recover properly. If you have a pre-existing condition it is imperative to demonstrate that the condition is not what caused the doctor to make the error.
In most cases, a patient will be injured or ill and seek medical care. If the doctor makes some preventable error during his or her care of the patient, the doctor can be held liable for the mistake.
A baseless argument is that the doctor would not have made the error, but for the patient’s pre-existing medical condition. Just because a patient seeks medical treatment, causation is not born. The standard of care dictates that a reasonably competent doctor is expected to treat the patient’s pre-existing condition without error.
This is why (when you go a doctor, hospital or clinic) you are asked to fill out a voluminous form with dozens of questions about your present medical status, as well as your past medical history. The doctor needs to know exactly who you are before treating you. You have every right to expect your health to be improved, and certainly not worsened.
For more on pre-existing conditions and medical malpractice, contact the personal injury specialists at , Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh. We are here to help you navigate Florida’s civil court system.
Schedule an appointment now for a free case review at [email protected].