There are many people who have a pre-existing condition when they are involved in a car accident. A pre-existing condition in this context is defined as an injury or chronic illness that someone sustained prior to their accident. But how does a pre-existing injury affect my car accident claim? One scenario is if you are recovering from a herniated disk and your car is struck by a vehicle of a negligent driver, and your back is further aggravated. Can you still file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering for your continued and now aggravated back issue? The answer is yes, and the case is different from a personal injury case involving a new injury. If your pre-existing condition is worsened by the accident, you will need medical documentation and evidence to argue this point. Sometimes, the insurance company will make the argument that the accident did not cause a specific injury if you have had a record of a similar ailment. However, injuries in an accident can significantly disrupt your life even if they are aggravated by an accident.
Should I tell the insurance company about my pre-existing condition?
The most important step after a car accident is to receive medical care and treatment if you are injured or suspect that you might be injured. By receiving care and treatment from a trusted medical provider, you will be able to undergo the necessary tests and compare them with past results to obtain the evidence needed to evaluate to what extent the accident has affected your pre-existing injury or condition. It is also critical to disclose any past injuries or illnesses to the medical provider so that the medical team can document them and determine the most appropriate treatment for your injuries.
The insurance company will need to know if you had any medical conditions and/treatments prior to the accident and you must be accurate when reporting these details. However, the best way to disclose any diagnosed medical conditions to the insurance company is to hire an experienced attorney and have your legal team represent you. Your attorney will then report the documentation and evidence of your past injuries to the insurance company.
What will an insurance company not pay for if I have a pre-existing injury that is worsened by a car accident?
An insurance company will likely not pay for medical treatment that you routinely received prior to the accident. For example, if you underwent physical therapy to improve a stiff back and continued going to physical therapy for the same reason after the accident, the insurance company will not reimburse you for those treatments. However, if you need physical therapy for a spinal cord injury that has aggravated your back then you may be able to recover compensation for the medical bills and pain and suffering associated with this additional back injury and necessary physical therapy treatment.
What if you suffer from multiple injuries from a car accident and have a pre-existing condition?
Car accidents can often cause more than one injury to their victims. For example, if you are diagnosed with whiplash and a concussion after a car accident, but you previously had arthritis, you will be entitled to compensation for the damages associated with the whiplash and concussion. Since injuries associated with car accidents can result in post-traumatic arthritic conditions due to blunt force to the joints, you may also receive compensation for such ailments even though it bears a connection to your previous condition. To protect your rights and entitlement to a fair settlement, the most critical step is to receive medical care and undergo a thorough evaluation to determine how the accident worsened a pre-existing condition while causing new injuries.
Could my past condition negatively impact my car accident injury claim?
Generally, whether your claim is approved or denied depends on proving that the at-fault driver was negligent and how this negligence caused your injury or injuries. While an auto insurance company may look for reasons to deny your claim or reduce the amount of compensation for your claim, the best method to ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve is to receive medical care immediately and hire an experienced attorney.
A past condition may make it more likely that you suffer a more severe injury due to a car accident. However, an insurance company cannot deny your claim because of a pre-existing condition that might have worsened the outcome of an injury caused by a car accident. The insurance company will need to compensate the claimant regardless of whether a pre-existing condition might have contributed to a more severe injury. This compensation will be based on the severity of the aggravated injury and associated damages, including medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitative care, and pain and suffering. Though an insurance company will typically do what it can to limit its financial responsibility to pay the claimant, the success of the claimant’s case will depend on the facts of the case, appropriate medical treatment and documentation, and attorney representation.
Why choose Clayton Trial Lawyers for your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Clayton Trial Lawyers can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident; therefore, it is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available.