In most accident and injury cases, a victim faces questions from the opposing party’s legal team and insurance company about pre-existing conditions. Although a victim isn’t entitled to compensation for conditions and injuries that existed before an accident, they may be eligible for injuries that were made worse by the event.
Injuries can be physical, mental or a combination of the two, and for a victim, the handling of these pre-existing conditions can have positive or negative effects on a personal injury claim. Below, readers like you can get some valuable information on how an injury attorney can help them gain fair compensation after an accident aggravates a pre-existing condition.
Why It’s Important to Disclose Prior Injuries
Once someone is in an accident, it’s important they’re honest with their injury attorney about the conditions they had at the time of the event. Failure to adequately disclose these conditions can diminish the victim’s chances of a favorable and fair settlement.
Disclosure is essential, particularly when a new injury affects the same areas as an old injury, and an entire claim can be jeopardized by a victim’s non-disclosure. It is best for clients to disclose all pre-existing injuries and work with doctors to prove how the accident has aggravated these conditions.
When an insurance adjuster or opposing attorney encounters a claimant with no prior complaints or injuries, especially if the person is over age 30, that person’s past may come under scrutiny. An insurer may use a person’s pre-existing injuries and claims history to discredit the claims made after a subsequent accident.
The Eggshell Plaintiff Legal Theory
In some instances, a person’s pre-existing condition may make them more susceptible to injury in an accident. However, that doesn’t mean the victim is less entitled to compensation. In the “eggshell plaintiff” legal theory, defendants must take plaintiffs as-is, and they cannot use the plaintiff’s prior conditions during injury attribution. If a victim chooses to go to trial, Nevada’s laws require juries to consider the injured person as the at-fault party found them.
It is vital for you to explain your conditions before and after an accident to their medical and legal teams, to be correctly treated and accurately compensated for the accident’s consequences. Insurers train adjusters to blame everything possible on previous injuries as a way of limiting financial exposure. If you are candid about your pre-accident condition, you’re much more likely to get proper treatment and a fair settlement.
Why Medical Records are Essential
Pre-existing conditions offer a few advantages when handling a personal injury claim, the most notable of which is that it provides a scrutinous look at what was going on with the person at the time of the accident. Prior injuries offer a concrete way for judges, juries, and lawyers to see how someone has suffered because of a subsequent event, but every case is unique. The important thing is for an injury attorney to work with your doctors to provide honest, objective documentation.
The existence of documentation can be beneficial to an injury lawyer because they can discuss these results with medical witnesses during a court trial. If your injuries have left you permanently disabled, the presence of medical records can serve to document the disability. A personal injury lawyer can use these records to prove how an accident has aggravated a client’s prior conditions.
The Dangers of Hiding a Pre-Existing Condition
By being honest about your medical condition before an accident that resulted in a re-injury, you can put yourself in the law’s good graces and increase your credibility during the insurance claims process. Similarly, those who try to deny or hide a previous condition set themselves up to fail, and they can face possible court sanctions because of the omission.
How Clients Can Protect Their Injury Claims
For the greatest chance at success, you should understand how an injury claim works. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you make a stronger case by connecting a recent injury to ongoing and previous medical issues.
Once a relationship has been established, it is harder for an at-fault party’s insurance company to deny a claim, delay a payout or minimize the extent of the client’s injuries. Victims should see a doctor before pursuing an injury claim, as a medical evaluation can help physicians and lawyers tell the difference between new injuries and old ones that have been aggravated.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
Nothing is more vital than your health. Gaining an understanding of the severity of an injury, the appropriate treatment, and the time needed for healing can help a lawyer establish a case’s value. If an injury has left you unable to work, a personal injury attorney can help you recover for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. Schedule your free consultation today and don’t let your pre-existing condition derail your personal injury claim.