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Previous Injuries, Pre-existing Conditions, and Your Personal Injury Claim

Woman with broken arm on the phone making a personal injury claim
By Michael LoGiudice
Founding Attorney

Most of us have some kind of history of medical treatment. You may have been in an accident before and been injured. You may have a medical condition or illness which merited a physician’s visit, treatment, and follow-up care. Few among us are exempt from this sort of thing. So, what role will your medical history play in your personal injury claim? The truth is your medical past should not play a role in your personal injury claim. In fact, the only medical information pertinent to your claim should be those relating to the injuries you sustained in the accident. The complications arise when an insurance company points to your medical history and says that what you claim was caused by the accident is really a pre-existing condition, even if this is not actually the case.

Previous Injuries, Pre-existing Conditions, and Your Personal Injury Claim

The use of pre-existing conditions and previous injuries to undermine a personal injury claim is a common tactic employed by insurance companies. The reason is that previous injuries and medical conditions are not to be included in a damage award on a personal injury claim. Only harm suffered due to the accident is included in a damage award. The harm may be in the form of new injuries or it may be an exacerbation of a previous injury, both are valid to include in your personal injury claim. Thus, if an insurance company claims that the accident injuries you are claiming are actually pre-existing conditions, they are simply trying to get out of paying out on your claim.

In order to prevent the insurance company from using this tactic to undermine or even deny your claim, medical records will be critical. It will also be important that your medical records mark and decisive difference in your health before and after the accident. Talk to your doctor about any new symptoms and pain you are feeling after the accident that you did not previously experience. It may even be a good idea to go to the doctor who treated you for previous injuries and be clear with them about what you have been experiencing since the accident.

The point should be clear, however, that your personal injury claim can include harm you incurred due to an accident caused by the negligence of another. This includes new injuries and any pre-existing conditions that were made worse by the accident. Of course, you can only include the portion of your treatment meant to address the exacerbation of the pre-existing condition. All of this remains true even if your pre-existing condition made you more susceptible than others to a particular injury in an accident. The eggshell plaintiff doctrine makes it clear that you take the plaintiff as you find them. This means that even someone who was more susceptible to an injury still has a right to claim that injury in pursuit of a personal injury claim.

New York Personal Injury Attorney

Attorney Michael LoGiudice fights for the full and fair compensation his injured clients deserve. Contact us today.

About the Author
Michael LoGiudice handles all personal injury and medical malpractice claims. He is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School (1997) and has many verdicts and settlements totaling in the tens of millions of dollars.
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