How Pre-Existing Conditions And Injuries Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
In 2016 the National Safety Council (NSC), estimated that the cost of deaths, injuries, and deaths resulting from car accidents was $432.5 billion.
Have you recently been the victim of a car accident injury?
Chances are, you weren’t in perfect health prior to your accident. If you have a pre-existing condition or injury, this may affect your personal injury claims. In fact, should you file a personal injury suit or claim, one of the first things you’ll be asked to provide is your medical records and history. Adjustors need to ensure your injury wasn’t as a result of a previous accident or injury. Certain factors can impact how and if you’ll be awarded a claim payout.
Not sure how pre -existing conditions affect your personal injury claim? We’re here to help. Read on to learn how your pre-existing condition can affect your claims.
What is Considered a Pre-Existing Condition?
When you think of a pre-existing condition, you may think of your health insurance. Years ago, health insurance company could deny you coverage because of pre –existing conditions, such as diabetes or cancer. This is somewhat the same with personal injury claims.
If you as the plaintiff have had an injury in the past, this would be considered a pre-existing condition. Not sure what would constitute a condition? The following are some examples:
- Injuries as a result of a previous, unrelated car accident
- Birth defects, also known as congenital abnormalities
- Joint, spine, or neck injuries that are still currently healing
- Medical conditions such as asthma or epilepsy
Additional injuries can often further damage the existing conditions. This is why it’s key to disclose this information as you’re filing a personal injury claim.
The Egg-Shell Concept
In the legal world, there’s a concept often referred to as the “eggshell skull rule.” Keep this theory in mind, as it can affect how your pre-existing conditions can determine your claim payout. In short, this rule refers to a hypothetical case in which a person with a skull as fragile as an eggshell is injured. This person would be extremely vulnerable to any trauma or injury.
The defendant is held liable for any damages sustained during the accident. This is the case even if they were unaware that the plaintiff was in such a fragile state of health. Therefore, a person’s prior poor health is not a defense for neglect.
Immediately Disclose All Prior Health Conditions
Before filing the personal injury claim, you should always consult with your lawyer first. One of the first things your personal injury attorney will want to find out is your prior medical history.
Do you have a current medical issue that was dramatically affected by the car accident? Do you have current medical files that will showcase this?
These are the types of questions you may be asked. You should always disclose all the information you can. This keeps your credibility high. Plus, it can also help when you file the personal injury claim. It also makes it much easier to determine if you had any pre-existing conditions prior to your injury. This is because your medical files will be updated.
On the other hand, an adjuster may also find that you have had no prior conditions. This means that the injury was a direct result of the car accident. Addressing all possible health concerns, no matter how minor, is important.
Even if you think a prior condition will only harm your claim, allow your attorney to decide how to handle that information.
Compare Your Medical History with Your Current Injury
There’s another reason your medical history will be important to your current claim: an adjustor will be able to compare the two.
This comparison will give definitive proof that the car accident caused sustainable injuries. It will show your pre-existing conditions weren’t the sole reason behind your claim.
Some things that may be used to compare your current conditions with your medical history:
- X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans from your prior injury or condition
- Clinical records that show the pain and treatment used
- Disability claims showing the degree of an injury
With this comparative information, trained medical professionals can attest to the worsening of the injury or condition.
How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Payout?
One of the biggest questions plaintiffs have when filing a personal injury claim is how much they will be paid. And how is the payout affected by the pre-existing conditions that the plaintiff has?
The exact amount of payout, of course, will depend wholly on the insurance company and the specifics of the injury or injuries sustained by the accident. However, pre-existing conditions will affect how much a plaintiff receives as a result of the claim.
Your medical records and the worsening of your current condition after the injury has a lot to do with how much you will be awarded once you’ve filed the claim. For example, if the adjuster finds after reviewing your medical history that your bad back (and the pain) has worsened as a result of the car accident? Then you will be awarded more in your payout.
The adjustors will also take into consideration a number of medical bills you’ve accumulated after your accident.
Experiencing a car accident can be traumatizing for many people. Being injured after an accident makes matters even worse. The first thing many personal injury victims do after the fact is file a personal injury claim.
Adjustors look heavily through all of the information before a payout is made. This includes all medical history and records that may indicate a pre-existing condition that was not a result of the accident. However, these existing injuries can worsen after an injury sustained in an accident.
There are several things that can be considered a pre-existing injury, such as prior back pain. While you may think these will rule your claim out, a trained attorney will be able to identify how this can positively impact your insurance claim.
Are you currently going through a financial crisis as a result of an injury sustained in an accident? Contact us today to see if you qualify for financial assistance for your recent injury.