What is the difference between an intervening injury and a preexisting injury?

Injured Worker With a Cast on His FootIf you have been hurt in an accident, whether on the road or at work, other injuries you have had may be brought up in the course of your legal case. This includes “preexisting injuries,” which occur before you were injured in the accident, and “intervening injuries,” which are new injuries that happen after the accident but aren’t necessarily related to it. Although these two types of injuries may sound similar, there are some important differences between the two, especially if you are pursuing a legal case against a negligent party who has hurt you.

Examples of preexisting injuries that might affect an injury case

Preexisting injuries or conditions exist before the injury in question in your case. Some examples of preexisting injuries and conditions might include:

  • Chronic pain that existed before the accident
  • An old or unhealed injury from your past
  • Asthma, epilepsy, and other long-term conditions
  • Conditions or defects that have existed since birth

Preexisting conditions or injuries can affect your case because they allow the insurance company to argue that the symptoms or medical issues you’re experiencing are caused by something that happened to you before the accident. However, you should keep in mind that the negligent party is still responsible for compensating you for any new injury directly caused by the accident, including the aggravation or worsening of a previous condition.

Examples of intervening injuries that might affect an injury case

An intervening injury is caused by something that happens to you after the initial injury at question in your case. Some examples of intervening injuries might include:

  • Additional injuries caused by treatment, such as physical therapy or repeated surgeries
  • A second, unrelated accident after the initial accident
  • A heart attack or stroke
  • A new cancer diagnosis
  • Injuries caused by returning to normal activities too soon on an unhealed injury

It’s important to understand that an intervening injury can affect your case because it complicates your treatment and lets the insurance company potentially argue that the continued issues you’re having aren’t related to the injury in your case. While the negligent party is still responsible for compensating you for the injury caused by the accident, a new injury or medical condition can make it difficult to determine, for example, if you needed a later surgery because of the accident or the new injury—or a combination of both.

Reach out for experienced help with complicated injury claims

Preexisting and intervening injuries can complicate injury cases of all kinds, but they can especially be an issue when someone has been hurt at work. Learn more about how preexisting and intervening injuries affect a work injury case . However, the insurance company for a negligent driver or employer can’t deny your entire claim simply because you’ve been hurt in the past or after the accident. Our experienced attorneys can help you get the evidence you need to prove that you were hurt by the accident in your case, and we can help you protect your rights and support your case as it moves through the legal process, even when the going gets tough. Whether your injury made your preexisting condition worse, injured you outright, or was complicated by a new injury, you still deserve fair compensation for your losses and suffering.

Do you need help with a complicated injury case? Call the experienced attorneys at VB Attorneys today at 1-877-724-7800 to get answers to your questions in a free case review, or fill out our contact form to have our staff contact you.


Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Experienced Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.