22.3 Damages – Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition

An issue in this case is whether [plaintiff’s name] had a preexisting condition that caused pain and suffering before the accident and that would have continued to exist after the accident, even if the accident had not occurred.  If you find that [plaintiff’s name] had a preexisting condition, then [plaintiff’s name] is entitled to recover only for the aggravation or worsening of [his/her] preexisting condition.

{CommentSee also Jury Instr. No. 10.4, “Susceptible Plaintiff,” for situations in which the extent of the injuries suffered is unexpectedly high due to the unusual physical or mental condition of the plaintiff before the injury occurred.}


Maier v. Santucci, Del. Supr., 697 A.2d 747, 749 (1997); Coleman v. Garrison, Del. Super., 281 A.2d 616, 619 (1971), conformed to, Del. Super., 327 A.2d 757, 761 (1974), aff’d, Del. Supr., 349 A.2d 8 (1975)(generally tortfeasor must place injured party in same financial position had there been no tort); J.J. White, Inc. v. Metropolitan Merchandise Mart, Del. Super., 107 A.2d 892 (1954)(measure of damages in the absence of any willful, wanton, or intentional wrong doing is the loss or injury resulting from the wrongful act of the defendant).

Credit: Delaware Superior Court