It is no secret that insurance companies will want to know your health condition before you suffered a car accident injury. If you have a prior injury, the opposing insurance company will use that against you in every way possible, especially when it comes time to settle your car accident injury claim. This is just one of the many defense tactics they will use to low-ball any settlement they offer for your car accident injury claim. They will want to know when you have experienced a prior injury, what part of your body was injured, and whether it affects your every-day-life.
Some of our clients have experienced injuries prior to their most recent car accident injury. Some clients come in who have suffered a car accident injury on multiple occasions. It is a fact that most people have experienced some sort of injury in their life no matter whether the injury was severe or not. Your prior injuries may have nothing to do with your recent car accident injury. You may have even fully recovered from the prior injury. In this instance, you will want to be protective of your medical history. Depending on how you or your attorney handle the opposing insurance company’s request and hostility in regards to your prior injuries will determine how much compensation you will receive in the end.
If you have a preexisting injury, here are a few things to remember when making your car accident injury claim:
You Should Be Treated As An Eggshell Plaintiff
You might be wondering what this means. In legal jargon, an eggshell plaintiff means the defendant must take the victim as he finds him. Defendants do not get to pick whom they harm. A preexisting injury can cause someone to be more susceptible to future injuries, thus causing greater aggravation to the condition. Lets say you hurt your arm by falling down accidently. It was no one’s fault, but your own. Accidents happen. Now a day later you get in a car accident and suffer a car accident injury to your arm. Due to the injury from you falling and down, and the car hitting you the next day, you need surgery to repair the damage caused by the car accident. The car accident can be seen to have actually exacerbated your previous injury. The eggshell rule means the defendant should not place blame on you falling the previous day. Damages should not be mitigated because you are more susceptible to the injury than the average person. However, in reality, the insurance company who you are making your car accident injury claim to will almost certainly try and minimize the opposing party’s actions in the car accident. This is why you will need an experienced attorney to advocate on your behalf and hold the insurance company accountable according to the law.
The Insurance Company Will Want To Compare Past and Present Medical Records
If you disclose to the insurance company that you have had a prior injury before your car accident injury, they will want to assess your past medical records. They will want to fight over whether or not your new car accident injury was actually caused by the most recent accident. However, the insurance company is not entitled to ALL of your past medical records. Our firm will only give past medical records that have to do with the current body parts injured in your most recent car accident. In addition, we only allow the insurance company to evaluate medical records from the past five (5) years. Do not let the insurance company demand more!
It Is Important To Have Your Doctor Explain Your Present Injuries Were Caused By Your Most Recent Car Accident
Your new medical records need to show there is a causal relationship between the car accident and your injury. Medical records, and bills, are so important to your car accident injury claim. They can make or break your claim. You want your medical records to be as detailed as possible. Unfortunately, you do not have much say about what goes in to your medical records. One thing you can do, however, is make sure your doctor distinguishes that your new car accident injury is a result of the most recent car accident, not some prior accident. If you have a medical provider state this in their records, you are on your way to proving a successful car accident injury claim. You have the right to tell the doctor what you are trying to prove. The best medical records show where a preexisting injury ends and your new injuries begin.
Your Lawyer Will Want To Know Everything About Your Prior Injuries
I say this all the time to my clients: lawyers don’t like secrets! In our very first meeting, I will ask you whether or not you have been injured before, or involved in a prior accident. I will ask you the body part injured, when you were injured, how long you treated, and where you sought medical treatment. Lawyers want to know the extent on your medical history before we submit a car accident injury claim to the opposing insurance company. We will want to assess how much your new car accident injury aggravated your prior injuries. We will also want to look at your medical records before the insurance company does in order to know the arguments they will make.
If you have a preexisting injury, you want a lawyer who will fight on your behalf. Call our car accident injury lawyers at (816) 200-2900 for a free consultation.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.