Many factors can affect the outcome of your personal injury case, including pre-existing injuries. A pre-existing injury is one that existed prior to the accident. How can this type of injury affect your personal injury case? Here’s what you need to know:
Are Victims Entitled to Compensation For Pre-Existing Injuries?
The at-fault party’s insurance company is responsible for compensating you for the injuries you sustained in the accident caused by their policyholder. However, they are not responsible for compensating you for injuries that were sustained before the accident.
There is one exception to this rule. If the accident made your pre-existing injury worse, you are entitled to compensation, but only to the degree that the accident affected the injury.
For example, let’s say you have a pre-existing back injury and are involved in a car accident, which makes your back injury worse. Prior to the accident, you were expected to return to work in one week. Now that the injury has worsened, your doctor has advised you to take two weeks off to recover. In this example, you are entitled to compensation for the additional one week of wages you will lose due to the accident. You could also be entitled to other damages for medical expenses and pain and suffering related to the worsening of your condition.
How Insurance Companies See Pre-Existing Injuries
Insurance adjusters often see pre-existing injuries as an opportunity to reduce or deny your claim. Why? An insurance adjuster may argue that there’s no way to prove that the accident made your injury worse, therefore they are not obligated to pay you anything. If the insurance adjuster agrees that the accident made your injury worse, he could still argue the extent of the damage caused by the accident. If he is successful, this could drastically reduce the value of your claim.
Having a pre-existing injury can complicate your personal injury case. For this reason, it is in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney to handle the negotiations with the insurance company. An attorney can obtain your medical records and work with expert witnesses to provide the insurance company with the proof they need to see to compensate you.
Are you worried that a pre-existing injury will affect your personal injury case? If so, The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC can help. Our personal injury attorneys will not let the insurance company use your pre-existing injury to their advantage. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation today.