After filing a personal injury claim for an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, the insurance company may try to find a way to reduce damages or even outright deny the claim. If the claimant has a pre-existing injury, this could become a factor in the case. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer can address this issue and help prove the accident caused current injuries or worsened a previous one.
What is a pre-existing injury and why does it matter for my personal injury claim?
Any injuries or medical conditions that developed prior to the accident are considered to be pre-existing. Pre-existing injuries could be something that arose out of a previous accident, work injury, aging or other circumstances.
For instance, someone might have hurt his or her back at work. A doctor diagnoses the person with a herniated disc. This is a condition that existed prior to the accident.
Whatever the condition or injury, it can impact a personal injury claim. If the individual attempts to blame the accident on the pain in his or her back, the insurance company may argue that the pain has nothing to do with the crash, which an Atlanta personal injury lawyer will have to address. The claim could also be denied if the claimant failed to disclose that there was a pre-existing condition.
What types of proof are necessary in a case involving a pre-existing injury?
Since it can be very challenging to sort out which injuries are results of the accident and which existed prior to it, it will be necessary to have ample evidence. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer may rely on medical records to demonstrate the impact the accident has on current injuries, as well as previous injuries.
There should be evidence that shows new injuries caused by the accident, along with old injuries. Examples of evidence include X-rays, prescription medications, and paperwork indicating the diagnosis given by a doctor.
Sometimes a medical expert will be called upon to help distinguish between old and new injuries. Or, an expert might be useful in determining to what extent an old injury was made worse by the accident.
How can I protect my personal injury claim when I have a pre-existing injury?
One of the ways that an injury claim can be protected is by not exaggerating injuries. If the person’s head hurts because it hit the dashboard, don’t try to bring a previous back injury into the claim.
Another way to protect a claim is by disclosing from the very start that there is a pre-existing condition. When someone appears to be hiding an injury or medical condition, it doesn’t look good.
However, if it is true that a pre-existing injury has been made worse because of the accident, this should be disclosed. It is possible to recover damages for prior injuries or conditions that are aggravated by an accident.
Since these types of cases can sometimes become very complicated, it may also be a good idea to seek legal counsel.
Should I hire an Atlanta personal injury lawyer to negotiate my personal injury claim?
Although the negotiation process can be difficult and stressful, it can become even more complicated when there are pre-existing conditions. The insurance company will use medical records to make its argument, but it’s important to remain calm and stick to the facts.
It’s important that a claim is never settled too quickly or for less than what may be deserved. Before accepting a settlement, claimants should consult their attorney. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz can help victims handle a claim involving a pre-existing injury and ensure that a claimant’s rights are protected throughout the personal injury claim process. Call 404-474-0804 to discuss your personal injury claim.