Can a Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

If you or a loved one sustain an injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual or entity, then you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, there are various factors that can affect these claims, including the existence of prior injuries. Insurance carriers and at-fault parties will do what they can to dig up pre-existing injuries and use these against plaintiffs to limit how much money is paid in a settlement. Here, we want to discuss what you should do if you sustain an injury caused by another party but also have pre-existing injuries that could affect your claim.

How Does a Pre-Existing Injury Change the Personal Injury Landscape?

In theory, the existence of a pre-existing injury should have no effect whatsoever on a new personal injury claim that arises. However, the reality is that pre-existing conditions do affect the outcome of these cases.

When we examine the nature of insurance carriers, we typically see that they are focused on making money. These are for-profit companies, and the more they have to pay out for any claim, the less they are able to pad their bottom lines. Insurance carriers will use any type of defense in order to limit how much money they payout. This includes examining a claimant’s prior medical history to determine whether or not they have pre-existing injuries that could affect the current claim. 

When insurance carriers begin investigating an injury claim, they are going to do more than just look at the current incident. These insurance claims adjusters will try to dig into the claimant’s prior medical history. That is why they often ask for an individual to sign a medical release authorization. If an insurance claims adjuster is able to get ahold of a person’s prior medical history, they will begin closely examining the records for any previous injuries or illnesses.

There are a variety of pre-existing injuries or illnesses a person can sustain that could be used to explain a person’s current symptoms. This list includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Current arthritis or fibromyalgia diagnosis
  • Previous history of bone fractures or dislocations
  • Previous neck or back injuries
  • Prior spinal cord or head trauma
  • Ongoing or prior joint pain

When the insurance carrier discovers the pre-existing injury, they could use this to lessen how much money they payout for a settlement or even deny the claim altogether.

Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer

The reality is that most individuals have sustained an injury or illness at some point in their lives. This should not keep them from being able to recover compensation if they are injured or become ill due to the negligent or careless actions of another individual or entity. If you sustain an injury, you need to work with a skilled Irvine personal injury lawyer who can push back against any insurance carrier that brings up pre-existing injuries. 

When an attorney gets involved right away, they will limit how much information the insurance carriers receive about a client’s prior medical history. An attorney will fully investigate the current injury situation, gather the evidence needed to prove liability, and negotiate with insurance carriers based only on the current situation.