Do Pre-Existing Injuries Have an Impact on Personal Injury Claims? [infographic]

1 Feb, 2016
By: Donald W Fohrman

(Article continues below Infographic)



Avoiding Surprises

It is important for the client’s personal injury attorney to be made aware of any pre-existing injuries that may have. Not sharing this information could hurt the client’s case because insurance companies can often find out this information on their own. The injured party should provide their attorney with the following evidence:

  • How long ago did the prior injury occur?
  • What doctors treated the injuries?
  • Were there surgeries involved?
  • Was time lost from work because of the injury?
  • When was the last time the client felt pain from the pre-existing injury prior to the current accident?

It is important to never sign a medical authorization form if asked to by the defendant’s insurance company. By doing so, the injured party is giving that insurer legal permission to access their complete medical history, which is in essence, an invasion of their privacy. The insurer will use that information against the injured party and attempt to say the claim for the new injury may be an attempt to collect for an existing injury.

Claims for Aggravated Pre-Existing Injuries

If the at-fault party’s negligence led to aggravating a previous injury, the injured party may still have a valid case. The injured may have not shown any previous symptoms of pain until the time that they were recently injured. Often, a pre-existing condition may be reactivated from a slip and fall, car crash or other type of accident. Even if the injured party was not aware that they had a previous injury that would have made them more susceptible to receiving the current, the onus is on the negligent party’s side to prove otherwise through discovery.

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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