Importance of Disclosing Prior Injuries as Part of a Current Injury Claim
In many injury accident cases, the injured party will face opposition from the defendant’s insurance company if they have any preexisting injury. The importance of disclosing any prior injury claims and all details related to each and every prior injury claim, as part of a current injury claim cannot be stressed enough. How you handle your preexisting injuries could either negatively or positively affect your claim.
Clients sometimes think the prior injury was very small or affected a completely different area of the body, and therefore would have no influence on a current injury claim. Whether the current injuries are to a similar area of the body or not, failure to disclose preexisting injuries can severely damage your credibility and greatly diminish the value of your claim.
Also, if the injury did affect an area of the body that was previously injured, although you cannot collect damages for the preexisting condition, you may be able to collect damages for physical and/or mental conditions that were re-aggravated and/or made worse by the current accident.
Another advantage to discussing all details of any preexisting condition/injury is the ability for your injury attorney to compare past records and diagnostic testing results with current ones to show how the current accident worsened your preexisting condition.
Based on x-rays or MRIs taken several years apart, a medical professional can give expert testimony as to how the accident affected and/or worsened the condition of the plaintiff. The medical expert can also use the plaintiff’s medical records to compare degree of pain, recommended care and treatments before and after the most recent accident. It the plaintiff previously suffered a permanent disability due to a prior accident, the medical expert offering their testimony can testify that the extent of the disability has been worsened due to the most recent accident. This testimony can substantially affect the amount of medical costs that are directly attributable to the defendant’s conduct.
No matter how small an injury, accident, fall you have had in the past, please know the importance of disclosing this to your injury attorney so that you may receive the proper representation and have the best chance to recover the appropriate amount of damages to which you are entitled.