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Should a Preexisting Condition Be Mentioned After Being Hurt in an Accident?

doctor helping stretch out kneeYou may want to conceal a preexisting injury out of fear it could reduce the value of your claim. However, this is a bad idea. While it is important to disclose the injury, it is also important to be careful how you do it.

An experienced Minneapolis personal injury lawyer from TSR Injury Law can answer your questions about this issue and other aspects of the legal process. If you hire us to represent you, we are prepared to handle communication with the insurance company on your behalf.  Part of this communication deals with current injuries and how they compare or are different from past injuries.

Types of Preexisting Conditions

Preexisting injuries are often aggravated by car accidents and other types of accidents. Common preexisting conditions that may be aggravated in an crash include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lower back strains
  • Fractures
  • Hernias
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Brain injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries

Can You Still Recover Compensation?

Even if you had a preexisting injury at the time of your accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your new injuries. You may need to prove your new injuries are worse, different or unrelated to your old injury.   

If your old injury has been aggravated, you may be eligible to receive compensation for damages related to the aggravation. You would need evidence of how it was aggravated. For example, maybe you began suffering new symptoms or your symptoms got much worse, resulting in more medical expenses than before. 

What to Say About a Preexisting Injury

When you are discussing your injury with your personal injury attorney, it is vital that you provide as much information as you can. The more your lawyer knows, the better chance he or she has of building a strong case for maximum compensation.

You also need to tell your medical provider, if he or she is different from the one who has been treating your preexisting condition, so that you can receive proper medical treatment. Be sure to tell your doctor how your new symptoms are different from what you experienced before so he or she can note it in your medical records.

Be Cautious with What You Tell Insurers

Insurance companies will actively look for ways to pay as little as possible for your claim. They will be looking for any evidence of a preexisting injury to use against you to lower the value of your claim or deny it altogether.

It is important that you are cautious with what you tell insurers about your preexisting condition.

If the insurance adjuster asks you about any preexisting injuries, it is fine to refer this question to your lawyer, who will know how to present this information to defend your best interests and secure the full value of your claim.

You should also avoid signing any medical release forms without your lawyer’s input. Insurance companies often try to get victims to sign a release of all their records, which could be disastrous to the victim’s chances of recovering compensation. Insurers often use these records to pin your medical bills on a preexisting condition from before the accident.  Unlimited medical authorizations may also provide unrelated but damaging information that the insurance company can use to deny the claim.  For example, a client signed a medical authorization before he hired TSR Injury law.  The insurance company found a precursor for diabetes and assumed a shortened life expectancy which arguably shortened the costs for future related medical care.

Eggshell Skull Rule

One important legal principle that may apply to a personal injury claim is the eggshell skull rule. This rule states that a bad driver defendant must take a victim as he finds him. Even if a victim had a preexisting condition that made him or her more susceptible to injury, the defendant is still responsible for his or her negligence and the damages that stem from that negligence.  For example, a victim may have a pre-existing nonsurgical disc herniation.  If the crash makes the disc worse and now there is surgery, the defendant can not fairly argue the disc hernation was already there.

Many people have preexisting conditions, so letting defendants off the hook just because of a preexisting condition could make it harder for a lot of injury victims to obtain fair compensation.

Contact TSR Injury Law for More Information

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and you are concerned about how your pre-existing condition may impact your claim, contact TSR Injury Law for help.

You should inform your lawyer of your pre-existing condition so that he or she can determine how to deal with this issue while pursuing maximum compensation for your damages.

We offer a free consultation to discuss this information with you in person. Call (612) TSR-TIME

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