Will My Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
Many personal injury clients are hesitant to disclose to their attorney any prior injuries because they assume it makes them seem “already damaged” and thus decrease the validity of their current injuries. In reality, most people deal with a variety of health conditions at various points in their lives. By being honest about your medical condition before an accident that resulted in a re-injury will increase your credibility during the insurance claims process.
So what impact does a pre-existing condition have on personal injury claims and the compensation you may be entitled to receive?
The Importance of Disclosure to Credibility
When a new personal injury client walks in our door, one of the first things we talk about is medical history. It is important to be honest with your attorney and attending physician and disclose prior injuries and any current ones you have been dealing with. Hiding the existence of prior injuries can not only negatively affect your personal injury case but will also influence your medical care and could put your health and well-being at risk.
The defense side in a lawsuit will conduct a thorough investigation and will uncover these prior injuries anyway. Any surprises during hearings and trial can cause the judge and jury to suspect the legitimacy of your current injuries.
Prior Injuries Give an Opportunity for Comparison
Medical records are crucial pieces of evidence in personal injury claims involving pre-existing injuries. Your medical records provide details of your health at the time the accident occurred and also support how your pre-existing injury was aggravated by the accident. In this way, the existence of prior injuries can actually be helpful since there will have been a prior diagnoses, x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans or other diagnostic tests. A comparative review of the old tests and the new ones can show the extent of injury caused by the accident.
Eggshell Plaintiff Theory
Under the “eggshell plaintiff” theory, a personal injury victim must be considered as-is. Defendants in California personal injury cases are not any less liable for injuries simply because the plaintiff was weakened or vulnerable to being injured or re-injured. This means compensation cannot be denied simply because a pre-existing condition made it more likely that the person would suffer an injury or that the injury is worse than if the pre-existing injury did not exist.
If you or a loved one have been in a personal injury accident in Southern California, we can help you decide on the best course of action to get the compensation you need to recover in peace. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so it’s best for you to contact us immediately after an accident.
Contact our Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.