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Car Accident Aggravated Pre-Existing Condition

In Wisconsin, aggravated pre-existing conditions in automobile accidents are covered by insurance.  Wisconsin personal injury law follows the traditional eggshell-skull or take your victim as you find him rule of the common law. Anderson v. Milwaukee Ins., 161 Wis. 2d 766 (Ct. App. 1991)  The negligent driver is responsible for damages he caused by aggravating a pre-existing condition.

If an injured person has a preexisting condition or injury or a predisposition to injury or disease, the defendant may be responsible for the damages if his negligence "excited" or set in motion the preexisting problem. Vosberg v. Putney, 86 Wis. 278 , 56 N.W. 480 (1893). A defendant may be liable only to the extent that his wrongful act "proximately and naturally aggravated" or activated the plaintiff's condition. Stewart v. City of Ripon, 38 Wis. 584 (1875).

An aggravation of a preexisting condition occurs when the negligent driver either aggravates beyond normal progression a pre-existing condition or activates a dormant or condition to which the injured person is predisposed. 22 Am. Jur. 2d Damages § 253 (2013); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 461 (1965).  An aggravation becomes a factor in determining damages when the driver causes a second injury that makes a prior disease, condition, or injury worse; or the injured person's first disease, condition, or injury increases the likelihood that a second injury will occur or that a second injury will be more severe than it would otherwise have been.  Wieting v. Town of Millston, 77 Wis. 523 (1890).

The burden of proof is on the injured person to show to a reasonable degree of probability, in other words 'more probable than not' that the accident changed or aggravated the condition to a degree sufficient to be considered a cause of the disease process. Peters v. Zimmerman, 275 Wis. 164 (1957).

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin work to collect pre-existing medical records, trustworthy medical literature and expert doctor opinions to establish a basis for settlement money due to aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition.  We must show that his or her preexisting condition or injury became worse as a result of the accident caused by the car accident. Kablitz v. Hoeft, 25 Wis. 2d 518 (1964).  Just because a person had a preexisting condition and a later accident, does not mean there is a recovery.  There must be a causal connection between his or her present condition and the accident-related injuries. Lautenschlager v. Hamburg, 41 Wis. 2d 623 (1969).  Also, we have to rebut the defendant's argument that the pre-existing condition would have naturally advanced to the current state even without the accident.  Make the right call.  Believe in better.

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