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Nathaniel Fick
Nathaniel Fick
Attorney • (410) 321-6000

Prior Medical History: How it Can Derail a Personal Injury Case

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It’s a fact of life: Insurance companies will do their best to limit the amount of damages that they have to pay out in personal injury claims, any way they can.

When you suffer a personal injury and the insurance company for the at-fault party does an initial evaluation of your claim, they’re really looking for weaknesses in your case. If they suspect that the nature or severity of your injury was due to a pre-existing medical condition, they will scour your medical history to identify any previous injuries similar to the one you just suffered, and if they can prove that your pre-existing condition contributed to your current injury, your recoverable damages may be lowered.

So If I Have a Medical Past, I Don’t Have a Case?

If you do have similar injuries that were sustained in the past, it doesn’t mean that the at-fault party can totally escape liability solely by pointing to your pre-existing medical condition. But you’ll likely have to defend your medical history through a thorough review of your medical records and the assistance of expert medical testimony.

The burden of proof will be on the defense to prove that your pre-existing medical condition has a causal relationship to your current injuries. This means that it isn’t enough for a personal injury plaintiff to show that someone else is liable for their injuries; all the injuries must be related to the negligent conduct of the defendant. Your damages will not be paid by an insurer or awarded by a court unless a causal connection is established between the at-fault party’s negligent conduct and the harm you suffered.

Do I Have to Disclose my Prior Medical Records?

You should always disclose any previous injuries, no matter how irrelevant they may seem to your current injuries. The failure to do so will damage your credibility and potentially devalue your claim.