Do Pre-Existing Injuries Hurt My Claim?

Miley Legal Group

Pre-existing injuries can have an effect on your accident claim, how much of one is determined by the pre-existing condition itself, how well it has been documented, and frankly, by the experience of the attorney you select to assist you with your case.  On one hand a pre-existing condition will make you more susceptible to an injury in general than someone who does not have that condition.  However, the insurance of the driver at fault, takes you as is, with your previous injuries and all.

An accident claim with a pre-existing condition could be treated differently.

Now that doesn’t mean that when you file a claim they will ignore the fact you have a pre-existing condition, quite the contrary.  They will focus most, if not all, of their effort to blame your pre-existing condition for your current pain and issues.  The insurance investigators will be meticulous in researching through your medical records to find a way to tie what you are experiencing now to the previous injury.  Will it work?  If you are handling your case on your own, probably.  But, if you have hired an experienced personal injury attorney, you may have a fighting chance.

In most accidents where the victim has a pre-existing condition, the accident exacerbates the problem.  In other words, the injury is further agitated or improved conditions reversed.  What that means for your claim is that the insurance company is not responsible for the pre-existing condition itself, but if the accident caused aggravation, whether short or long term, it is responsible for that.  Which is why the insurance company will do everything in its power, including hiring medical professionals, to tie your pre-existing condition to your current situation, which could have been “caused” by a natural progression of the condition.

Insurance companies use pre-existing conditions to reduce payments.

To fight this claim by the insurance company, you can take a few steps.

  1. Hire a good, experienced lawyer like us to “go to bat” for you.
  2. Treat with doctors that are familiar with your pre-existing conditions, one who can differentiate between what was caused by the accident and what was something you had before.
  3. Never hide your pre-existing condition.  Be honest with doctors and other medical providers that you see.  They will use the information to help measure what was caused by the accident.
  4. Be specific to your medical providers when describing old vs. new pain.  Tell them how the old pain has been made worse if it has.
  5. As always, make sure everything is documented, whether it be your medical issues or your medical history.  Doctors are general excellent with this, but keep in mind, the insurance company will probably review those records.

An accident lawyer can help overcome pre-existing condition issues.

Pre-existing conditions do have an effect on your accident injury claim.  Whether it be how your treatment progresses, or even how the insurance company looks at your case, your claim will be treated differently from a victim that does not have a pre-existing condition.  With that in mind, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable accident attorney that has experience in dealing with these issues.  The more informed your attorney is, the better the results will be with your claim.