Pre-existing injuries or preexisting conditions are a vital part of any personal injury claim. However, not everyone understands that their occurrence is crucial in determining the full extent of their injuries.
Suppose you have been hurt in a vehicle accident, for example. In that case, you are required to inform your lawyer of all of your injuries and medical issues. You must also describe the ones you had before the incident occurred.
Here’s why your prior injuries are so crucial in your case if you’re injured as a result of carelessness and are suing for compensation.
What are Preexisting Conditions?
A preexisting condition is an injury or illness that you had before the accident. If you didn’t let your lawyer know about it when filing your claim, chances are you’re not allowed to file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injuries.
For instance, if you decide to sue for damages because of a car crash and discover after the fact that you did not disclose that you had a back problem before the incident, your case is likely to be dismissed.
How Preexisting Conditions Relate to Accidents
There are a few reasons why preexisting conditions may impact your injury claim.
- Negligence cases can aggravate your preexisting conditions: For example, suppose you were involved in an accident that resulted in symptoms worsening. In that case, it may be harder to prove that the defendant was not at fault. It’s therefore very important that you disclose all symptoms and medical conditions before suing to ensure your case has the greatest chance of success.
- Compensation: If your symptoms are severe enough, it’s to be expected that you receive compensation for damages. However, your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit against the defendant to win your case. When this is the case, the extent of your injuries will determine whether or not it’s advisable to do so.
- Cost of Treatment: To create a recovery plan, it is necessary to determine exactly how much your treatment will cost. Your lawyer can estimate this based on past cases, but having accurate information before anything else is better for everyone involved.
Watch Out For This In Your Case…
Suppose your preexisting condition does not affect how the defendant caused your injuries. In that case, it probably will not make any difference in your lawsuit. However, you should know that you could not sue for damages if the defendant’s behavior was not directly causing your preexisting injury or illness.
A defendant cannot be held responsible for a pre-existing issue unless they acted unpredictably and caused their acts to lead to injuries from which you were already suffering. For example, if the defendant rear-ended you and caused injury to your neck or back, which was already weakened because of an old football injury, you can sue.
It’s important to note that this defense will not be successful in cases where the preexisting condition is irrelevant to the accident. For instance, if you are hospitalized for a broken leg and find out that you have a back condition.
The same applies if you didn’t know about a preexisting injury at the time of the accident. In other words, ignorance is not an excuse in this case.
When Should I Report Prior Injuries?
To ensure that your case is as solid as possible, you should tell your lawyer about all medical conditions and injuries when filing a claim.
If you don’t mention a preexisting injury the first time around, it’s best to contact them immediately so they can examine your case and take measures to protect your interests as you go through the litigation process.
Unsure with your case? Overwhelmed? Call a personal injury lawyer immediately for guidance and support.
Hashem Law Firm can help make sure that you present your case in the best light possible