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What if You Already Had an Injury Before Your Car Accident?

The Law Office of George O. Haskell Aug. 1, 2018

Pursuing an insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident seems as if it should be straightforward. You seek medical care following the incident to prove that the crash caused your bodily injuries. The insurance company then compensates you for medical bills, follow-up care and any long-term changes to your health and lifestyle.

Of course, that is a lot for the insurance provider to pay for every time a client gets into an accident, so insurers will do whatever they can do get out of paying the full amount. One of these ways is to examine your medical records to disprove that the accident resulted in the injury, or at least to the severity you claim.

Whom does this affect?

If you have a pre-existing health condition, it may complicate your case. You will have to prove causation from the accident and separation from other medical problems. If the accident made your condition worse, you will have to show how and to what degree. Even if you are a relatively healthy person, you are not automatically off the hook. A previous injury or accident of any kind, no matter how long ago it occurred, can end up challenging your current claim without the proper legal defense.

What do you do?

Medical records are of the utmost importance in this situation. The insurer uses its own source to get information on your medical past. However, you not only have access to your own records but also your health care providers. If you have seen your doctor regularly, whether you have a serious medical problem or just go in for routine checkups, it will be easier to prove how the accident has harmed you.

Is it worth fighting for?

It may seem impossible to win such a case, but this is not so. In fact, the insurance company cannot hold your prior condition against you. Negligent parties (ie: the other driver) are accountable for the consequences of their actions regardless of their knowledge of your health issues, a rule known as the eggshell skull.