A pre-existing injury won’t necessarily automatically disqualify an injury claim. There are different factors that must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
How the Insurance Company May Use a Pre-Existing Injury against a Claimant
Insurance adjusters will oftentimes attempt to get information that could discredit someone’s claim of injuries. One way is by requesting all medical records to be released. Even though the injured person might have already provided relevant documentation, some insurers make unreasonable requests for medical records unrelated to the injury.
It’s within a claimant’s right to question the insurance company’s demand for additional medical records. If the explanation doesn’t sit well, that request can be denied. Oftentimes the insurer’s goal is to find things from someone’s medical past to use against them such as a pre-existing injury.
At the same time, it’s important to understand that sometimes the prognosis isn’t clear or there is confusion about the impact a pre-existing injury is having in the most recent accident. Then it may necessitate providing these documents. It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of submitting requested medical records to an insurance company.
How a Pre-Existing Injury Could Affect the Outcome of an Injury Claim
Most pre-existing injuries have no relevancy to an accident case. Yet, an insurance company may attempt to use it as a way of minimizing or denying someone’s claim. Let’s say five years ago the claimant sustained back injuries in a car crash. Recently, the individual filed a claim with another driver’s insurance company because of whiplash injuries after a rear-end collision while waiting in traffic on Colfax Avenue in Denver.
If the insurer gets into the person’s past medical records and sees a previous accident involving the back, it may use this as an argument in the case. Since neck and back injuries are closely related, the insurance adjuster may try to make a connection between them.
On the other hand, sometimes a pre-existing injury is made worse because of an accident. This is where matters can sometimes get complicated. Although the current crash may not have necessarily caused a back injury, it could have aggravated a previous one. This could still allow for compensation. However, the claimant must prove that the current symptoms are related to the accident.
One way to do this is by showing evidence that it had been several months or years since receiving treatment for the original back injury. It might be more difficult to blame symptoms on the accident if a week prior medical records show treatment was received.
But if the records clearly indicate that a couple of years have passed since complaining about back pain, the claimant may more easily link current symptoms to the accident.
Why It’s Important to Talk with an Attorney
If pre-existing injuries become an issue, it can end up damaging the claim. It may even prevent the person from receiving any compensation. Because of this, it’s usually a good idea to seek legal counsel in these situations. An attorney can look over the medical records, determine which ones should be submitted to the insurer and help assess the impact a pre-existing injury may have on a claim.
Accident victims in Denver can contact D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation about a claim.