Do Pre-existing Conditions Affect Personal Injury Claims?

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This article explains the pre-existing conditions that affect Personal Injury Claims.


While injuries from accidents can cause a range of health issues to the victims, it’s true that people don’t have a clean bill of health before the injuries. Some people have pre-existing conditions that may be made worse by the fresh injury.

However, insurance companies like to use pre-existing conditions to their advantage to reduce or deny compensation.

Pre-existing conditions may affect how much you receive for your compensation, but this is not the basis for the insurance to deny your claim.

If you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to get compensation. If the fresh injuries aggravate the conditions, you already had, you may be entitled to a higher settlement.

So, it’s true that preexisting conditions can affect your personal injury claims either positively or negatively. Read on to learn how this can happen.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

Pre-existing conditions are injuries or medical conditions the victim had before the accident. Examples of pre-existing conditions can be a back injury, an illness, or a mental disorder.

If you already had anxiety issues prior to the accident, it might be difficult to prove that it affected you psychologically. 

The law requires you to disclose any pre-existing conditions to your lawyer when filing your personal injury claim.

Your medical records can help prove your pre-existing conditions and how the injury may have aggravated them. The insurance will consider this information when calculating your compensation amount.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Positively Affect Your Claim

Pre-existing conditions can work in your favour when filing a personal injury claim. If you had an injury that had not healed completely, it might worsen due to the accident.

For example, if you were recovering from chronic back pain and got injured in an accident, the pain may take longer to recover, and you might spend more on medical costs.

To prove this, your healthcare provider must record a statement indicating your condition before the accident and your state after the injury.

They must prove that you were in your recovery stages, but the fresh injury has worsened the case. With strong proof, you may be entitled to higher compensation to cover all your medical costs.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Negatively Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

A pre-existing condition can also negatively affect your personal injury claim by reducing the amount you were to get or leading to the denial of your compensation.

The insurance company may deny that your injury occurred due to the accident if you already had a health issue. They may also argue that your conditions made you susceptible to injury.

Additionally, it may be difficult to differentiate your fresh injuries from the existing ones. If you can’t pinpoint which injuries were sustained when this might reduce your personal injury settlement.

If you were already receiving treatment for previous injuries and continued with the same after the new injuries, this might reduce your compensation.

Should You Disclose Your Pre-Existing Conditions

Some people get tempted to hide their pre-existing conditions when filing personal injury claims. You might not get away with it, and this may negatively affect your claim and deny you the chance to get a fair settlement.

It’s essential to disclose to your personal injury claim lawyer any injuries or medical conditions you had before the accident.

By disclosing your pre-existing conditions to your attorney, they will help you understand how your fresh injuries may affect your condition.

They will then work with your doctors to determine the extent to which your accident may have affected your existing condition. Failure to disclose your medical history will highly affect your credibility, giving the insurance an advantage.

Remember, the insurance adjusters are trained to discredit the victims by all means so that they reduce the amount of compensation you get.

They will use your pre-existing medical condition to discredit your claim, especially if you’re over 30 years old. An experienced attorney will review your medical history and represent you accordingly.

How To Protect Your Rights in a Personal Injury Claim

A pre-existing condition should not be the basis for getting your compensation denied in a personal injury claim. Working with a qualified personal injury attorney can help you work on your case and protect your rights.

An experienced lawyer will work with your doctor to come up with a connection between your pre-existing injury and the fresh one.

A medical evaluation may help your doctor and the attorney understand the extent of your injuries and how they affect your medical condition. With this proof, the insurance adjusters will have a difficult time discrediting your claim.

So, if you suffer an injury when you already have a preexisting condition, you should remember to do the following:

Disclose Your Condition

Disclosing your pre-existing condition to your personal injury attorney will help them develop a proper defense for you. Your lawyer will be able to anticipate the actions the insurance company might take regarding your medical history.

When your lawyer is up to date with your medical records, they can take appropriate measures to protect you.

Seek Immediate Medical Help

Seeking medical help after your injuries can help you prove that you suffered fresh injuries apart from the ones you already had. Obtain documents of your doctor’s appointments, test results, and prescriptions.

Don’t Give Your Insurance Adjusters Your Medical Records

Don’t disclose any health conditions or give your insurance adjusters access to your medical records before speaking to an attorney. If they find any data about your existing conditions, they’ll use it to refute your claim.

Your lawyer will help you answer all the questions from your adjusters and give them the documents they’re entitled to have.

Final Words

Pre-existing conditions may work in your favor or against you depending on how you handle yourself during your claim process. If you hide your medical conditions, your credibility will be questionable, and a personal injury lawyer may not be able to help you. 

Disclosing earlier will help an attorney create a connection between your fresh injuries and existing ones.

Once you have a strong connection, your insurance company may not refute your claim. So, always work with an experienced personal injury attorney when filing your claim and get appropriate legal advice.  


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