It is understandable for an accident victim to be concerned about not being able to pursue compensation because of a preexisting injury. However, it is important to disclose the injury because not doing so could do more harm than good.
You may still be able to receive compensation for your injuries with the help of an experienced Appleton personal injury lawyer. You can discuss your preexisting injury and the damage from the accident with the dedicated lawyers at Sigman Janssen in a free consultation.
Why it is Important to Disclose Your Existing Injury
You should inform any doctors you see of your preexisting illness so they can determine if your new injury could affect your old injury and provide the appropriate treatment. The old injury will be documented on your medical records, along with the doctor’s assessment of how the existing health issue may have been aggravated by your accident injury.
You should also tell your attorney about your existing illness so he or she can determine how to present this information in a way that is favorable to your claim.
It will be very difficult to hide a preexisting injury because the insurance company will go to great lengths to find out about it. Insurers are looking for any way to deny or devalue an accident claim, and one of the most common ways they do this is by insisting an injury is the result of a preexisting medical problem and not the accident.
If the insurance company hears about it from your attorney and finds you disclosed the injury when you received treatment after the accident, they will have a hard time disputing the validity of your claim.
If you conceal the injury and the insurance company finds out, it could severely damage your credibility. If you also keep it from your attorney, he or she may have a hard time pursuing compensation because he or she was unprepared.
Are There Advantages to Having a Preexisting Condition?
Surprisingly, there are some advantages to having a preexisting condition. If you have received ongoing treatment for your condition, your medical records can be very useful in helping you secure the compensation you deserve. Your records may indicate when your preexisting condition arose and the symptoms you had. This can be helpful in comparing your current condition to the symptoms you had before.
Sometimes, your medical records may show that your condition was made worse or you developed new symptoms because of the new injury. Having concrete medical proof of these changes can be useful in establishing your case.
Eggshell Skull Rule
The eggshell skull rule is a legal theory that says the at-fault party in an accident must take the victim as he or she finds him. Even if an accident victim had a preexisting condition that made him more susceptible to injury, the defendant is still liable for the harm he or she caused. The defendant cannot escape liability simply because the victim was more vulnerable.
How Insurers React to Preexisting Conditions
Despite knowing about the eggshell skull rule, many insurance companies will try to deny a claim simply because you had a preexisting condition. For example, they may claim your back injury was due to a previous work accident or a chronic condition and argue they are not responsible for paying for damages.
When they cannot outright deny a claim, the insurance company may try to minimize the value of the claim.
Contact a Lawyer for Help with Your Claim
If you were injured in an accident and have a preexisting condition, whether it was aggravated by the new injury or not, the dedicated legal team at Sigman Janssen may be able to help.
Our lawyers have represented many Wisconsin injury victims and understand how preexisting conditions may affect the outcome of a claim. We also consult medical experts when necessary to show how a victim’s injuries are the result of an accident and not the existing illness or health issue.
Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation. (877) 888-5201