Pre-Existing Conditions in Car Accident Claims
Many of us have suffered injuries and perhaps even have chronic health conditions. As a result, it’s fairly common for car accident victims to find themselves dealing with old injuries that are now worse or health conditions that have been aggravated. However, it is important to understand how these pre-existing conditions will impact your claim. To protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation you need, the best thing to do is work with an experienced car accident attorney who knows how to handle these types of claims.
Pre-Existing Conditions Not Related to Your Accident
Of course, you may be entitled to compensation for any new injuries you suffer as a result of your accident. At the same time, you obviously cannot receive compensation for any injuries or health conditions that you had prior to your accident. For example, if you had a torn ACL prior to your car accident, you cannot be compensated for that injury as a result of your car accident. You can, however, receive compensation for the whiplash and back injury you suffered as a result of the accident.
The challenge then becomes to make sure that your medical records and bills clearly reflect which expenses are related to which injuries. If you need to miss work due to your injuries, you also need to make sure that your medical records reflect how each injury limits your abilities. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can work with you to get the records you need to support your claim.
When You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Pre-Existing Conditions
However, it is very common for people to get reinjured, aggravate existing injuries, or otherwise exacerbate a pre-existing condition. In these situations, you may be entitled to compensation for your conditions, even though they existed prior to the accident.
Unfortunately, the fact that you had the injury or condition prior to the accident makes it easy for the insurance company to deny your claim or pay far less than it may be worth. You need a car accident attorney on your side who knows how to fight for a fair outcome.
The challenge in these cases is identifying what your claim may be worth. It may be easier to get compensated for prior injuries that were fully healed, as arguably all of the new injuries and related expenses are related to the accident. On the other hand, injuries or conditions that were aggravated by the accident can be much more difficult. You will need substantial evidence in order to identify precisely how the accident affected your injury, your recovery and resulted in additional losses.
Clear Evidence Will Be Critical to the Success of Your Claim
Evidence is important in every personal injury case, but the necessity for clear evidence in these cases is arguably more intense. Otherwise, you risk having your claim denied or reduced to only a fraction of what it is worth. Furthermore, you want to make the strongest claim possible from the very outset – you do not want to appear as if you are shaping your evidence based on the insurance company’s response. In other words, how you proceed with your claim is also very important.
Of course, your medical records will be the primary focus of your documentation. As mentioned above, your medical records should clearly state how your injury or condition was made worse by the accident, whether it resulted in any additional limitations, and what is your anticipated recovery. From there, you can hopefully identify the additional medical expenses caused by the accident.
However, there is more to your case than your medical records. Some additional evidence that may be helpful in proving your case:
- Testimony from your treating physician or physical therapist
- Photographs of your injury
- Testimony from friends, family, or co-workers explaining how the accident made your injury or condition worse
- Accident reports that explain how you were injured
Many of these cases require expert testimony in the form of a neutral medical professional who can testify as to how your injury was made worse and what consequences you face. Your car accident attorney likely has a network of medical experts they can call upon to help.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney at The Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A. if You Have Been Injured
With over 30 years of experience, car accident attorney Thomas E. Pyles has the knowledge and experience to handle complex cases that involve pre-existing injuries. Contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.