Having a pre-existing medical condition makes it more difficult to prove what injuries were caused by the accident versus existing beforehand. However, a car accident lawyer in Fort Myers can help you through the legal case.
At Viles & Beckman, our team of car accident lawyers in Fort Myers explains how previous injuries can impact your car accident claim. Read on to learn more about how pre-existing injuries affect your car accident claim and case.
How is Fault Determined in an Accident Involving Pre-existing Injuries?
When a car accident occurs, and you’ve suffered from previous medical issues, determining fault for the collision itself is generally straightforward. Liability will be placed on the party whose actions were the direct cause of the crash based on evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and vehicle damage photographs.
However, separating which injuries were caused or aggravated by the accident versus pre-dating it can complicate assigning financial responsibility. Your Fort Myers car accident attorney will request past medical records and order new examinations to build the case regarding limited vs exacerbated harm. For example, similar disc herniation could prove the previous symptomatic disc was now worsened, requiring surgical repair.
Even with pre-existing conditions, an at-fault driver is still liable under tort law for any new damages or worsening of prior issues from the trauma of the impact. It may require expert medical testimony distinguishing chronic vs fresh injuries. But the fault for the accident itself should not hinge on prior health problems if another motorist clearly violated safety laws.
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What Types of Previous Injuries Could Impact a Claim?
Certain pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to influence the value and scope of your car accident claim. Some common previous injuries include:
- Chronic pain conditions: Complaints of neck, back, knee, or other joint pain that were ongoing prior to the crash may require separating ongoing from new pain levels.
- Previous trauma injuries: Old fractures, herniated discs, or other injuries from past accidents make assessing new trauma more complex.
- Degenerative diseases: Arthritis, spinal stenosis, or similar degenerative issues change how harm from the wreck is analyzed versus natural progression.
- Mental health issues: Past diagnoses of depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems are pertinent for assessing new treatment needs.
- Vascular and nerve disorders: Conditions like fibromyalgia, RSD CRPS, or others with diffuse pain symptoms require a review of what precipitated new symptoms.
- Overweight: Excess weight makes bodies less resilient to trauma and predisposed to certain impacts or injuries.
Thorough medical records about prior diagnoses and their management are essential to isolate compensable injuries from the crash accurately.
Do You Have to Disclose Past Medical Issues?
When pursuing compensation after a car accident, you may wonder how much documentation of prior health problems you are obligated to disclose to the insurance company or courts. In general, it is to your benefit to be fully transparent about any relevant existing medical conditions. Failing to disclose past injuries could potentially jeopardize your claim in several ways:
Insurance companies are allowed to investigate plaintiffs’ medical histories. If they uncover treatment records for similar issues that were not shared with them, it may appear you were trying to conceal information. This could cause them to deny or reduce the value of your claim.
Likewise, opposing attorneys in a trial situation may use any omissions of old complaints that resurfaced as evidence you are embellishing the impact of the wreck. It weakens your credibility as a witness. Your legal team needs full details to properly assess the merits and limitations of your case based on the actual new damages incurred.
To protect the legitimacy of your claim, you should fully disclose your medical background to your Fort Myers car accident attorney at Viles & Beckman early in the process. We can guide the selective release of only pertinent information to insurers or opposing counsel.
How Can an Attorney Help Sort Out Prior vs. New Injuries?
One of our car accident attorneys in Fort Myers can help you determine which injuries you sustained previously and which are new. Here are some ways our team can help you:
Sorting Out Prior and New Injuries
Sorting out which injuries were caused by an accident versus pre-existing injuries can often be a complex process. Our Fort Myers car accident attorney is trained to conduct a comprehensive examination of a client’s full medical history and properly distinguish between old and new issues.
We will request complete records relating to any prior treatment, conditions, or complaints. This gives us the background needed to interpret how the accident impacted previous and new symptoms accurately.
Attorney Evaluation Methods
Your attorney may order additional examinations, scans, or tests to gain clearer insight into the severity and progression of injuries over time. We can identify objective changes that appeared post-accident.
Presenting the Case
During the claims process, a Fort Myers car accident attorney can present findings to insurance providers utilizing detailed medical evidence and expert correspondence. This strengthens the case for compensation pertaining specifically to new damages caused by the other driver’s negligence. Even with pre-existing factors, our experienced lawyer ensures you receive the fullest possible repayment available under the law for only accident-incurred costs and suffering.
A thoughtful evaluation of the entire injury history enhances the chances of maximizing the settlement or award.
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Learn More About How Previous Injuries Can Affect Your Car Accident Claim
At Viles & Beckman, we look out for you after you’ve had previous injuries aggravated by a car accident. Our team of car accident attorneys in Fort Myers is ready to help you understand what you need to do to recover the compensation you need.
Contact us to learn more about how previous injuries can affect your car accident claim.