Pre-Existing Conditions and How They Can Affect Auto Accident ClaimsBy Gabriel Levin on September 29th, 2017
In order to obtain financial recovery for your medical bills and other losses after a car accident, you must prove that another party was negligent and should be held liable for your losses. Proving negligence involves proving four different elements:
- The party owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident.
- The party breached their duty of care.
- The breach caused your injuries.
- The injuries resulted in damages for you.
All of these elements are essential to prevailing in a car accident injury case. Failure to prove any one of them could result in the court finding in the defendant’s favor. One complication that some car accident victims face arises when they had a pre-existing condition that was aggravated in the accident.
Proving Additional Injury
If an insurance company or a defendant in your case discovers that you had an injury that pre-dated the car crash, you can be certain they will try to avoid liability by claiming that your injuries were not a direct result of the accident. Many insurance denials are based on the allegation that an injury was only pre-existing and was not actually caused by the accident. However, an experienced car accident law firm can help you fight against these allegations and prove that while your condition may have already existed, the accident caused you to incur additional medical expenses that would have otherwise been unnecessary.
There are different ways of proving a case involving a pre-existing injury. The approach in each situation should be determined based on the specific circumstances present. A defendant cannot avoid liability just because you were in a weaker state at the time of the accident, even if the weakened state was caused by a pre-existing injury. Instead, the law looks at a plaintiff as they were at the time of the accident and does not consider what put them in that condition. Therefore, a pre-existing injury can be used to prove that you were more susceptible to injury and that your serious injuries actually did result from the crash. This is a particularly useful approach when a relatively minor accident resulted in seemingly disproportionate serious injuries because of a pre-existing condition.
The Importance of Medical Records
One of the most important types of evidence in any personal injury case is your medical records stemming from all of the diagnostic tests and treatment you received since the accident. Too many people fail to seek medical attention right after a crash and, therefore, lack the records necessary to connect their newest injuries with the accident. The timing of medical records is very important to prove the cause of your injuries—especially if you had a pre-existing condition.
Having accurate and complete medical records is also critical to proving that your injury was aggravated or worsened by the accident. Medical records can demonstrate any of the following:
- Imaging tests can clearly show that your injury became worse following the accident.
- Records from before your accident may indicate improvement from physical therapy or other types of treatment. These, combined with records from directly after the crash, may show a return to the worsened state.
- Medical records can prove that your pre-existing condition is one that would make you more easily susceptible to severe injuries so that your accident-related injuries are plausible.
Because medical records are imperative to an injury claim, it is important that you undergo a full medical evaluation, discuss your records with your doctors to ensure they are complete and accurate, and continue to follow any recommended treatment plans.
Find Out How a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Seeking an insurance payout or filing a personal injury claim after a car accident can be difficult enough without having to deal with allegations regarding a pre-existing injury. In such cases, you should always seek help from a highly skilled and experienced car accident attorney who knows how to present your medical records and other evidence in the best possible manner to prove your case.
At The Levin Firm, we regularly handle car accident cases involving many types of injuries—including helping clients with pre-existing conditions. If you would like to discuss how we may help you, please do not wait to call 215-825-5183 for a free case evaluation today.