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  • Writer's pictureKia Hohaia

Pre-existing Injuries in an Accident

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Many people experience injuries from a variety of things, from laborious jobs to recreational activities. So what happens if you get in a car accident while you already have a pre-existing injury? How can you differentiate the old versus the new, and more importantly, how can you get the help and recovery you need if a car accident makes your current injury worse?

Pre-existing injuries cannot be covered in a car accident, unless the accident worsens your symptoms.

In some cases, people have tried to use car accidents as a means to cover their pre-existing conditions. This is considered insurance fraud if the injury the person is claiming was not actually caused by the car accident. Of course, there is an exception to this rule when the accident worsens the injury. Let’s say you have a spinal injury from a fall at work. It is very likely the impact from a car accident would aggravate the injury. Even if you have been seeking treatment for the injury prior to the accident, any worsening of symptoms or resurgence of pain after an accident can be covered in a personal injury claim.

Insurance companies may try to use pre-existing injuries as a means of reducing or avoiding a payout.

Although many insurance companies really do want to help and do what’s best for people, there are some instances where pre-existing injuries could hurt a claim. Insurance companies are still concerned with their bottom line, so they may try to find any evidence they can to support a lower payout. Pre-existing injuries can sometimes make personal injury claims more complicated, but that doesn’t mean they won’t pay out if you do happen to have an injury prior to an accident. If the accident worsened your injury, then you have every right to pursue compensation for this pain and suffering.

It is never a good idea to hide pre-existing injuries during a personal injury claim.

Just like certain accidents and health records can be used against you, failing to disclose information about past injuries can be a recipe for disaster. You never want to do anything that can be deemed unethical as this puts you at risk of losing potential compensation for your injuries. Working with a personal injury lawyer can help you determine what is essential for the insurance company to know about your current and past health and what aspects may be irrelevant to your current claim. The most important thing to remember is that honesty is the best policy, so if health records are requested, it is in your best interest to cooperate and present what is relevant to your claim. A personal injury attorney can help work with you to find the best way to share this information without hurting your claim.

Work closely with your medical provider to determine the effects of the accident on your injury.

If you have an injury, you have likely seen a doctor or specialist and are going through treatment of some kind to heal. After an accident, it is important to still visit with this same doctor or specialist so they can evaluate the before and after effects of the car accident. Since they have been treating your injury and working with you personally, they will have the clearest picture of what changed or worsened after the accident, if anything. This evidence is the best way to provide strong proof of how the accident has impacted your pre-existing injuries and will help prevent the insurance company from skipping over this pain and suffering in a payout.

Talk to a personal injury lawyer to make sure you have the support and guidance you need to get what you deserve.

Pre-existing injuries can complicate a personal injury claim, but this doesn’t mean you are doomed from the start. Personal injury lawyers are well-versed in these situations and can work collaboratively with you to help you recover fairly in a personal injury claim. If you have recently suffered from a car accident, talk to Hohaia Law to learn how you can recover rightly for your injuries, both new and pre-existing.

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