Can Your Attorney Prove a Car Crash Aggravated a Preexisting Injury?

man with severe neck painCar accidents are often so traumatic to the body they not only cause new injuries, but they also aggravate old ones. While much of the attention is on new injuries, if old ones were aggravated and need additional treatment beyond what the victim was already receiving, you may be able to include this treatment in your claim.

The question is: How do you prove an old injury was aggravated by the crash?

How do you prove there is a difference between your current symptoms and the symptoms you were already experiencing from the injury?

The first thing to know is this is a task best left to an experienced attorney who regularly manages car crash claims. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law help crash victims every day and we know how to validate claims, including complex cases involving preexisting injuries.

Insurance companies regularly underpay claims, and they are more likely to fight a claim involving the aggravation of a preexisting condition. Without an attorney, recovering full compensation is likely to be extremely difficult.

Pre-Accident Medical Records

Your attorney will review medical records documenting treatment you received for your preexisting injury. The more detailed these records the better, as it will help your attorney to differentiate between existing and new symptoms.

If you did not seek treatment for a preexisting injury or did not talk to the doctor about it that much, it may be more difficult to prove your existing injury was aggravated or worsened in the crash. There is just not much information to go on.

In some cases, medical imaging tests taken before and after the accident show a visible change in an injury. In these situations, it may be much easier to validate a claim for worsening of a preexisting condition.

There may be situations where the victim was not receiving much treatment before the accident because the pre-existing injury did not require much treatment. Maybe the victim had done a lot of physical therapy and symptoms had significantly improved. Even though the victim was receiving less treatment, there would be documentation of an improvement in his or her condition. This could be compared to a post-accident assessment of a worsening of the victim’s preexisting condition.

It is important for accident victims to inform their doctors of worsening symptoms. Have a detailed discussion so this information can be included in your medical records and compared to your pre-accident medical records.

Your attorney will also communicate with your doctor and explain the legal standards of what is needed to document an aggravation claim.  Magic legal words like “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty” or “a substantial contributing factor” sometimes scare doctors when making an opinion.  Without your doctor’s opinion, insurance companies will not provide proper compensation for the claim.

Evidence of a Limited Ability to Work

Your ability to work may be limited after a car crash, whether you suffered a new injury or an old one was aggravated. If you can provide evidence of a consistent work history before the crash, but you are unable to work after the crash or must work in a more limited capacity, it may help prove worsening of a preexisting injury.

It is also important to have a doctor’s note detailing your work limitations. Without a licensed doctor’s medical opinion that you need to stick to these limitations, the insurance company could just say you are exaggerating.

Witness Statements

Employers, neighbors or coworkers could provide testimony about how an existing injury got worse after a car crash. These types of witnesses are referred to as “before and after witnesses.”  They can speak to limitations in the workplace or a reduction in physical activity. For example, maybe you used to do a lot of exercising, such as riding a bicycle or going to the gym. Their statements about your physical activity before and after the crash can strengthen a claim for compensation.

Preexisting Injuries That Could Get Worse After a Car Crash

A car crash could make many injuries worse. However, this situation is quite common with the following types of injuries:

  • Bones that were previously broken
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Neck pain
  • Herniated discs
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Car crashes could also worsen preexisting medical conditions like arthritis and degenerative disc disease.

Have Questions About the Legal Process? Call TSR Today

You need a trusted advocate to help you pursue full compensation for the damages you suffered. Even though this is a no-fault state and victims first seek compensation from their own insurance companies, you need to know insurance companies are focused on their profits. Even though you pay your premiums, they are looking for any reason to deny or undervalue your claim.

The experienced Bloomington-based vehicle accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law have recovered millions on behalf of crash victims and there are no upfront fees for our services. Our goal is the same as yours, recovering the most compensation possible to help you through this difficult time.

Give us a call today. We are ready to assist you: (612) TSR-TIME.

How Does Attorney-Client Privilege Benefit Injury Victims?

folder with confidential informationProtecting one’s privacy is a growing concern in our society. It is important to be cautious about any information you reveal because you never know how it may be used against you later. Fortunately, injury victims who hire an attorney are protected by attorney-client privilege.

You may have heard that term before, but do you know what it means in practice? How does attorney-client privilege protect you and your claim?

Below, the experienced attorneys at TSR Injury Law discuss how attorney-client privilege benefits you as you pursue compensation after a personal injury. If you have any questions about your claim, you can contact our firm to schedule a free initial consultation. The things you discuss in a free consultation are kept confidential, which means there is no risk to you.

Defining Attorney-Client Privilege

When you seek legal advice from a Bloomington personal injury attorney, your discussion is protected by attorney-client privilege and cannot be shared with someone else without your written consent. There are some exceptions to this, but this is generally what attorney-client privilege means in practice.

Conversations and other communications (emails, phone calls, letters, etc.) with your attorney are protected if they satisfy four criteria:

  • There is an attorney-client relationship between you and your lawyer
  • Your lawyer was acting in his or her professional capacity when communicating with you
  • The purpose of you talking to your lawyer was to obtain legal advice
  • You had an expectation this conversation would be kept confidential

Benefits of Attorney-Client Privilege

This provides obvious benefits to injury victims. You can discuss any aspect of your claim with your attorney and it will be kept confidential. This frees people up to be open and upfront about the many details involved in an injury claim.

For example, you can discuss a preexisting injury and find out how it may impact your claim. It is understandable to be concerned about a preexisting medical issue (this is the kind of thing insurance companies try to use against injury victims), but this will be kept between you and your attorney.

By letting your attorney know, he or she will be prepared to deal with this issue when it arises, and it likely will. If you wait or try to hide this issue, it will be more difficult for your attorney to deal with it and preserve the value of your claim. You can feel free to discuss this issue with your attorney because it is protected by attorney-client privilege.

Attorney-client privilege also benefits injury victims during the discovery process. Knowing conversations are confidential helps make people more comfortable sharing a lot of information about the case. This may help the attorney build a strong case.

When Might Attorney-Client Privilege Not Apply?

Lawyers are prohibited from discussing things that were covered by attorney-client privilege and courts do not have the authority to force attorneys to discuss those things. Generally, attorney-client privilege cannot be waived unless the client does so. That said, if you tell your lawyer you are planning to commit a crime, he or she is required to report it.

You should also know the things you post to social media are not strictly between you and your lawyer. They are not covered by attorney-client privilege. That is why your lawyer may ask you to limit what you post on social media as it could be used against you. If you send emails to your lawyer, make sure to do it from your own personal account. If you send an email from your work email address it may not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

It is important to remember only private conversations are covered by attorney-client privilege. If you talk to your lawyer with someone else in the room, attorney-client privilege may not apply. If you have any questions about this, it is important to ask your lawyer. At TSR Injury Law, we understand your privacy concerns and are committed to maintaining confidentiality.

Learn How Our Firm Can Help You. Call Today

We have helped many car crash victims in Minnesota obtain compensation for their damages. We are experienced negotiators who are also prepared to go to court if the insurance company does not offer fair compensation.

We are here to help you and answer your questions. The initial consultation is free, and it comes with no requirement to hire our firm. If we validate your claim, and you choose to hire us, there will be no upfront fees. We will not be paid unless you get paid.

Have questions? Call today to schedule your free consultation (612) TSR-TIME