Surprisingly, many people who experience an injury already struggle with some type of health problem. If this is your situation, the “pre-existing condition” could have an impact on a new personal injury claim. Remember, insurance companies will do whatever it takes to win cases, so once they learn that you already deal with a health issue, they will try to use that to their advantage.
The Value of Medical Records
Because of the challenges involved in winning a new personal injury claim while having a pre-existing condition, the most important decision you can make consists of hiring an attorney who brings years of experience to the table. Once an attorney gets involved with your case, he or she will begin extensive research.
For example, at some point, the defense attorney is going to ask for medical records for both the new injury and old injury/illness. In addition, experts for the insurance company will review all documentation, trying to determine whether anything from your pre-existing condition can be used to refute or deny your right to damages pertaining to the new personal injury claim. Your attorney’s job is to keep the two incidents separate, or show how the new injury complicated the pre-existing condition.
Using Expert Testimony
Depending on the specifics of your case, your attorney will call on one or more medical experts to testify before a judge or jury. In order for a connection to be made between a pre-existing condition and a new injury, these experts will evaluate documentation, as well as X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, and other testing. From there, an opinion is provided as to whether there is or is not a connection between the two.
Even if a connection is made, a reputable attorney has the expertise to show the judge or jury that you still deserve damages. For example, you may have a previous back injury from a fall that was exaggerated by a car accident in which you were not the at-fault driver. Using expert witnesses, your attorney can show that the existing condition was dramatically worsened by the new event.
When evaluating a new personal injury case, both the insurance adjuster and defense attorney will try to discredit you, especially if they feel that you tried to hide a prior injury/illness. Therefore, it is imperative that you provide your attorney with a full disclosure. That way, your personal injury attorney has all the facts, making it easier to fight your case and achieve a successful outcome.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often look to discredit the victim of an accident. However, when you work with a qualified attorney, everything about your pre-existing condition and new injury can be used to benefit your case. In this type of situation, be prepared for a hard fight. Obviously, trying to jump through all the hoops demanded by the insurance company would be impossible without having a strong attorney on your side.