Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

If you are injured because of someone else’s error, you will likely want to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be concerned that it will hurt your chances of securing financial compensation for your injury. Working with a team of experienced personal injury lawyers in Houston, TX, is the best way to ensure you receive the compensation you are owed.

Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

Even if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you are still eligible to file a personal injury claim. Even if the injury has aggravated your pre-existing condition or caused it to increase in severity, you can receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.

However, your case will need to be handled with finesse beyond what’s required for a standard injury claim. Selecting the right firm of personal injury lawyers to file your claim will determine your level of success. Since your case may require more effort, such as collecting extensive medical records and statements from current and previous healthcare providers, you’ll want to seek legal representation immediately following your injury.

What Qualifies as a Pre-Existing Medical Condition?

When filing a personal injury lawsuit, a pre-existing medical condition is any damage or illness that affected you before the injury that is currently being claimed. If you are filing a lawsuit, you must be honest about the existence of any pre-existing conditions. Failure to be completely forthcoming with your medical history can be seen as you attempting to manipulate the current issue for financial gain.

Although any condition that afflicted you before the new damage constitutes an existing condition, prior medical conditions that are compounded by your recent injury will have the most significant impact on your case. For example, a healing neck injury that the incident has reinjured or an ongoing condition worsened in severity. In addition, a pre-existing condition such as diabetes that was not altered by your injury must also be disclosed.

Insurance Companies Will Shift the Blame

Insurance companies are not concerned about whether or not you receive fair compensation for your injury. Instead, they intend to pay you as little as possible. That means they will try to take the issues you are experiencing from the incident and blame them on your pre-existing conditions. Therefore, you and your legal team must prove that your situation has deteriorated due to the new injury if you wish to have your medical expenses covered.

Skilled personal injury lawyers, such as those at the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, TX, are familiar with the methods insurers use to dodge compensating victims appropriately. A team that is familiar with handling personal injury cases for clients with pre-existing conditions will provide you with the representation you need to receive fair compensation for your injuries.

How Much Will a Pre-Existing Condition Impact Compensation?

The insurance company will consider various factors when determining the compensation they are willing to offer you. However, if they do not offer a fair settlement and your claim goes to court, a jury will also consider those factors in determining how much money to award you. Some of the factors considered will be:

  • The severity and type of your previous medical conditions
  • The severity and type of injury you suffered in the current accident
  • The amount of medical care you have received for your pre-existing conditions
  • The amount of medical care required for your current injury
  • The amount the accident worsened your pre-existing conditions
  • The medical care you expect to need in the future due to the accident
  • The forms in which the new injury has negatively impacted your quality of life

How to Maximize Your Compensation When You Have a Pre-Existing Condition

Be Honest

Despite seeming counterintuitive, disclosing all prior medical conditions honestly is essential to securing maximum compensation. Withholding information about a previous medical issue or injury is negatively viewed, even if you do it accidentally. You’ll also need to ensure you’ve supplied your lawyer with all of your medical records. They cannot provide thorough legal representation if you are not forthcoming with them regarding all aspects of your health.

Preserve Evidence

The more evidence you have regarding the circumstances that caused your current injury, the better you will fare in court. The more clearly you can prove that the defendant behaved recklessly or negligently, the easier it will be to reach a satisfying settlement or payout. Photos of the scene, witness statements, and police reports are vital to proving to the court that the incident was the defendant’s fault and that their insurance provider should pay for your injuries.

Record Your Condition

Keeping a daily journal of the pain and suffering you are experiencing due to the accident will help demonstrate how the injury has changed your life. If there are activities you once enjoyed, even with your pre-existing conditions, that you can no longer participate in due to the recent accident, make a note of those.

However, do not take creative license with your journaling or make your condition appear better or worse than it truly is. Many insurance companies will send private detectives to perform surveillance on a victim to see if they are as injured as they claim. More than a few individuals have lost or significantly reduced compensation for their injuries by stating they were bedridden, only to be witnessed walking and functioning as usual by a detective.

Communicate With Your Doctor

By seeking medical care following the incident, you create a paper trail that supports the claim that you experienced a new injury from the incident. The doctor will also provide you with a professional assessment of your physical damage. Share with your care provider that you will be filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party; this will ensure they take detailed notes. Additionally, you can ask your doctor and any specialists you see to write you a projected treatment plan.

Finally, if your injury will affect you long-term and cause you ongoing expenses for medical care, medication, therapy, or lost wages, you’ll want to seek compensation for this as well. Remember that you will need to prove that the ongoing expense would not have occurred even with your pre-existing conditions or that your projected medical costs would be lower if you were not injured due to the negligent party.

How Can Personal Injury Lawyers in Houston, TX, Help My Case?

By trusting your case to a skilled team of lawyers, you will be confident that you are seeking the appropriate level of compensation and not accepting a lower amount due to pre-existing conditions. In addition, they will negotiate a settlement with the insurance company and handle your claim in court if a settlement cannot be reached. They will also help manage your records and ensure that you display the severity of your injury as accurately as possible.

It is critical to remember that your pre-existing conditions do not disqualify you from seeking fair compensation for your injuries. Although your pre-existing conditions may make your claim more challenging, do not let that deter you from pursuing the compensation you need to cover your expenses and ongoing medical care. Reach out to the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner to schedule your free consultation today.