How Will a Preexisting Condition Affect my Accident Claim with ICBC?

preexisting condition

Getting in an auto accident is the last thing you want to happen to you. Yet accidents do happen all the time throughout British Columbia. Yes, ICBC is established to protect you and support you financially when you are an accident victim. However, when preexisting conditions are involved, it’s often in ICBC’s best interests to try to make the case that your injury expenses should be drastically minimized, even though that’s rarely fair for the rights of injury victims.

Shouldn’t you receive the support you need if you have a preexisting illness that an auto accident makes worse? It’s important to understand as much as possible the rules that often apply when the courts face issues of preexisting conditions so you can best be prepared to have your rights protected.

What If I Get Injured or Disabled in a Car Accident?

ICBC protects you against injury, distress or hardship when you are involved in an accident to cover expenses incurred. However, grey area arise when talking about what happens if an accident victim is already injured or disabled, potentially making their condition worse.

This is when injury victims have to determine whether their injury or condition qualifies for the thin-skull rule or the crumbling-skull rule. This determination will indicate what types of benefits you should expect to receive through ICBC.

What is the Thin-Skull Rule?

The thin-skull rule ensures that a victim isn’t left without financial support due to a car accident because of a preexisting medical condition. If you have a preexisting injury, illness or condition that a car accident exacerbates, then the thin-skull rule might apply to you. The thin-skull rule protects people according to the principle of “you take your victim as you find them.”

How Does the Thin-Skull Rule Apply to Me as an Accident Victim?

The thin-skull protects individuals who have existing injuries or conditions. For example, if you have PTSD under control through therapy and medication, but then it is triggered following a serious car accident, this would likely be categorized under the thin-skull rule.

What is the Crumbling-Skull Rule?

The crumbling-skull rules contrasts the thin-skull rule because it denotes injuries that would have exacerbated on their own or by other means despite a car accident. Basically, when judges apply the crumbling-skull rule, they determine that you are already likely to experience a more irritated, painful or adverse condition—even if you had never been involved in an accident.

This applies to people who have chronic conditions or life-long illnesses and who have a slim chance of recovery or improvement. The crumbling-skull rule often mitigates accident victim’s injury compensations greatly.

Treating Pre-existing Conditions in Vancouver, BC

Unfortunately, often ICBC will try to make sure that the crumbling-skull rule applies as much as possible. Medical records, a doctor’s testimony and the consistency of the medical history of the accident victim become vital when making these determinations.

You’ll want experienced lawyers on your side to help you through every step of this stressful and complicated process. Call Becker Lavin & Wessler today at 604-689-3883 or send us an email at to protect your rights.

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