While you might not put much thought into your past injuries, an insurance claims adjuster and defense attorney will hone in on them. Unfortunately, a new accident has the likelihood of aggravating a pre-existing injury — even injuries that are years old. Sometimes these injuries become worse due to an accident, and they are coupled with new injuries too. An accident case with a pre-existing injury is more complicated than a case without one. Therefore, it is best to turn to an accident attorney for assistance with your claim.
Filing a Claim with Pre-Existing Conditions
The accident settlement process starts with the victim filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. However, that then prompts the insurer to pull medical records and review the facts of the accident. Once they notice a pre-existing condition or injury, they might reduce the settlement or deny the claim entirely. Regardless if their insured is at fault, they may attempt to dismiss your claim and state you are claiming compensation for a pre-existing injury; instead of a new one. Therefore, you and your lawyer might be forced into filing a lawsuit. A defendant is not excused from financial liability merely because the victim has a pre-existing condition or injury. However, where there is a pre-existing injury, your doctor will be instrumental in providing your attorney the information he or she needs to clarify how and to what degree your injury was aggravated, so that an insurance company can understand how the aggravation should be compensated.
What are the problems when you have a pre-existing injury?
A pre-existing injury might make a claim worth less– in the insurance company’s eyes– because the insurance company and possibly the jury will think that you are attempting to get compensation for something that was not caused by the defendant. The legitimacy of your injuries will be called into question, and some will argue your accident was an opportunity to treat injuries that already required such treatments. YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS– AND YOUR DOCTOR’S OPINIONS, in a report or testimony, will be used by your attorney to “quantify” an aggravation of these prior injuries. In a situation where you have prior injuries, it is imperative that you let your attorney know what is in your medical history– you will become an open book when you file your claim, so the existence of prior medical problems must be dealt with directly and EARLY in your case and medical treatment after an accident. That is the best way to distinguish between your condition before an accident, and what happened to you and that condition BECAUSE of the accident.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help if an Accident Aggravates a Pre-Existing Injury
Even if you have a pre-existing injury, do not let an insurance claims adjuster convince you that you are ineligible for compensation. Bottom line, that accident aggravated your pre-existing injury, so why should you have to pay to treat it if you were doing well before the accident ? Furthermore, it is very possible that you have new injuries and damages — such as property damage, time off work, pain, and suffering for those additional injuries. To explore your options even after a pre-existing injury is aggravated, contact the injury advocates at Jacobs Law, LLC. Call our offices directly to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation or send us a message online.