An accident's aftermath can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. You may need some time to recover fully before you get back to work, and you also need to settle bills for medical treatment and property repairs.
Fortunately, you may be eligible for a personal injury claim to help you get compensation for the pain sustained. But what happens when you have a pre-existing injury? Will that affect your ability to seek compensation for the incident? Read on to learn more.
What Are Pre-Existing Injuries?
Pre-existing injuries (or conditions) are injuries you sustained before the accident. For example, you may have suffered injuries due to a previous accident or due to some medical condition. Such injuries and conditions include the following:
- Bone fractures
- Herniated disc
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cardiovascular disease
These pre-existing injuries can be physical or psychological.
Why Should You Disclose Pre-Existing Injuries?
Generally, it is best to acknowledge, and in most circumstances, disclose pre-existing injuries. This is especially true if the current injuries affect or are in the same area as the previous injuries. For example, if you have a bad back that requires ongoing medical treatment, and then you hurt your back in an auto accident, your pre-existing back condition will have to be addressed. On the other hand, if you strained your back 15 years ago but it healed and you haven't had any ongoing problems and then hurt your back in an auto accident, then your prior injury has much less relevance.
How Do Pre-Existing Injuries Affect Your Injury Claim?
Having pre-existing injuries does not disqualify you from seeking compensation. However, be prepared to prove that the recent accident aggravated your earlier injuries. You may also have to prove that the new injuries are directly related to the recent incident or that the injuries worsened due to the accident.
The insurer will likely try to downplay your current injuries during negotiation. For example, the insurer may claim that if you did not have pre-existing injuries, you would have been able to recover more quickly. In the same way, the insurer may try to minimize your compensation by arguing that you would have had the same level of injury even without the accident.
How Can You Prove Your Claim?
In South Carolina, a Plaintiff is entitled to recover all damages proximately resulting from the negligent acts of the defendant, including the aggravation of a pre-existing injury.
The best way to strengthen your case is to get a medical opinion from an experienced doctor. Your doctor can give an opinion as to how the recent accident has aggravated your pre-existing injuries and what treatment is necessary. This is especially true if your doctor is familiar with your medical condition both before and after the accident. Similarly, you can examine your medical records before and after the accident to see if the diagnosis has changed or whether the recommended treatment is more substantial after the accident. .
What Is the Surest Way of Increasing Your Chances of Winning?
Negotiating the best compensation for pre-existing injuries can be complex, especially if you are not knowledgeable about the law. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and what kind of compensation you can receive.
An injury lawyer has dealt with similar cases and can assist you in obtaining fair compensation for the current injuries and the exacerbated pre-existing condition.
Palmetto Injury Lawyers is your trusted law firm for all personal injury cases. We have a history of negotiating fair compensation for our clients and are committed to helping you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today for a consultation.