Reality check: Insurance companies will anything they can to limit the amount of damages that they have to pay out in personal injury claims.
When you suffer a personal injury and the insurance company for the at-fault party does an initial evaluation of your claim, they’re 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.
If I Have a Medical Past, Does That Mean I Don’t Have a Case?
If you sustained similar injuries 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?
Always disclose any previous injuries and your medical history if it is related; failure to do so will damage your credibility and potentially devalue your personal injury claim. But if it is unrelated and may be used against you unfairly, an experienced personal injury attorney will protect you from attacks based upon unrelated (or marginally-related) medical issues.
You can reach Maureen May, partner at the Fick & May Law Firm, by clicking here.