Suffering an injury in an accident can turn your life upside-down in an instant. When the accident was the result of somebody else’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim for compensation with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, you may be aware that insurance companies sometimes deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Yet you may still be eligible for compensation even if you had a pre-existing condition at the time of the accident. A lawyer can help you seek a settlement to help pay your medical expenses, compensate you for lost wages due to missed time at work, and cover your other injury-related losses.
Understanding the relationship between insurance coverage and pre-existing conditions can help you know what steps to take after an accident.
What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?
A pre-existing condition or pre-existing injury is an ailment you already had before the accident occurred. For example, if you have had a herniated disc in your neck for five years before the time of the accident, this condition “pre-existed” any neck injury you received in the collision. However, the car accident might have exacerbated your prior condition or re-injured the disc.
Compensation for Re-Injuring a Pre-Existing Injury
Texas law allows an individual to seek compensation for claims in which an accident aggravates their pre-existing condition. The fact that you had a previous injury does not preclude you from seeking help from a personal injury attorney if a car accident gives you whiplash, for example. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you demonstrate that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused a significant worsening of your condition. If the accident aggravated your prior condition and you have different or markedly worse symptoms, you might still be eligible to win compensation for your injury-related losses.
The Importance of Full Disclosure About Pre-Existing Conditions
Because many people worry that their pre-existing conditions may bar them from seeking compensation in accident claims, they choose not to be upfront about their previous injuries. However, failing to disclose your pre-existing condition will probably hurt your claim. If your lawyer is unaware of an old injury, they will be unable to demonstrate that the recent accident made it worse.
Furthermore, insurance companies may have access to information that you do not know about. They might be able to obtain documents, such as medical records, from any prior injury claims you may have made. If they suspect you are trying to hide elements of your medical history to get a bigger payout, they may deny your claim entirely.
When speaking with your physician and your personal injury lawyer, you should always fully disclose any pre-existing conditions. Even if you do not believe they are relevant to the current injury, your lawyer will be better able to craft a strong case for you if they have as much information as possible.
A Caution on Medical Release Forms
In some cases, an insurance company may ask you to sign a release form allowing them to obtain your medical records. Always speak with your lawyer first if you encounter such a request. These release forms can give the insurance company access to irrelevant information. They may try to use elements of your distant medical history to undervalue your claim.
When the Insurance Company Claims the Accident Didn’t Cause Your Injuries…
Many insurance adjusters attempt to claim that some medical expenses are unnecessary or unrelated to the accident. This tactic is particularly common when an injured individual attempts to negotiate their claim without consulting with a lawyer. If the insurance adjuster knows you are working with an experienced accident lawyer, they will be far more likely to take your claim seriously.
A seasoned Texas personal injury attorney will investigate the cause of the accident to determine who is liable for your injuries. They will also help you gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate that the accident caused or aggravated your injuries, requiring you to seek medical care and incur other injury-related expenses. Your lawyer can then use this evidence to negotiate fair compensation on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney
If you were involved in an accident caused by someone else that aggravated a pre-existing injury, you deserve compensation for your losses. The knowledgeable and skilled Gibson Hill Personal Injury personal injury attorneys in Houston and Austin will help you fight for maximum compensation. Our seasoned attorneys will handle every aspect of your claim so you can focus on healing.