December 17, 2017

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Do Your Pre-existing Injuries Hurt Your Personal Injury Case?

Have you been injured in a car accident? If you had injuries from a previous incident or a pre-existing condition at the time of the accident, you may have heard people say that you won’t be able to get compensation for your injuries.

The defense

Insurance companies are businesses just like any other. They will do what they can to ensure that they don’t take a loss. Paying compensation for injuries suffered in an accident means losing money. Their adjusters and attorneys are paid to prevent this where possible.

If it is discovered that you had a preexisting injury, you can expect the adjuster and the defense attorney to focus on these preexisting injuries. They do this in an effort to avoid taking responsibility for your injuries and having to pay your medical expenses. In many cases, attorneys will argue that because of your preexisting injuries, you should not be entitled to any compensation or at a minimum that your compensation should be reduced.

Many people injured in car accidents hear this and avoid telling their lawyers and doctors about their preexisting injuries and conditions. However, insurance companies are resourceful and will discover your pre-existing condition even if you haven’t advised your lawyer. When this is discovered, it will only makes the situation worse for you as the claimant.

In your defense

It is important to let your lawyer and doctor know about your medical history. A good accident lawyer can defend you against any frivolous defenses raised by the insurance company to get out of paying you your fair compensation.

Many cases have been dismissed because the claimants withheld information about previous injuries or preexisting conditions from their doctors or lawyers. Many of these cases were legitimate claims and would have resulted in substantial settlements even with the preexisting conditions. However, if your failure to disclose this information results in a dismissal, you may end up having to pay your own medical bills without any compensation from the at-fault driver or his insurer.

Letting your lawyer and doctor know about your medical history helps in two ways. First, your doctor can provide appropriate treatment given a full knowledge of your medical history. In addition, your lawyer will have all the facts necessary to build a strong case on your behalf. Your doctor and your lawyer’s medical experts will be able to differentiate between your level of functioning before and after the car accident. They can help the court determine the actual effect of the accident on you.

The bottom line is that you should always provide full and complete information to your lawyer.

Telling the truth about your preexisting injuries and conditions also paints you as an honest person. The court will perceive you as trustworthy. You are more likely to get a favorable verdict simply by choosing to go with the truth.

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