Some accident victims have pre-existing medical conditions or injuries when an accident happens. A pre-existing injury may affect the way an insurer handles claims. If you are an injured accident victim, you should learn how to handle your claim and contact an attorney today for assistance.
What are Pre-Existing Injuries?
Pre-existing injuries in personal injury law are bodily injuries or medical conditions suffered by a person before an accident. They can include injuries that have healed like old broken bones or injuries that a person had when the accident took place. They include bone fractures, knee injuries, muscle strains and sprains, back and spine injuries, organ damage, ligament damage, as well as neck pain.
In addition, a pre-existing injury covers medical conditions that are aggravated by the accident or have become more serious due to the accident. For instance, degenerative disc disease can weaken the spinal column of a victim and lead to more severe back and spine injuries. They include high blood pressure, lupus, diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, and sleep apnea.
Can Your Claim be Denied if It Involves a Pre-Existing Injury?
Insurance providers can’t deny claims based on pre-existing injuries alone. But if you want to be compensated only for a pre-existing injury that has not to do with the accident, an insurer may deny your claim. You and your attorney should demonstrate a link between the injuries involved in the claim and the accident.
If you have a pre-existing injury, you want to establish how the accident has exacerbated your condition. The insurer may blame your current injury on your pre-existing injury that your medical records may show. The company will use this tactic to save money on insurance payouts.
How to Handle Your Case
If you had a pre-existing injury at the time of the accident, ensure you disclose this to the insurer when you bring your claim. Never hide such information because this can provide the insurer with a reason to deny your claim. When you notify the insurance company about your existing injury, make sure to give related medical records and documents.
But make sure you don’t sign a medical authorization release form that the insurer may send to you. This form can contain blanket authorizations that give the insurer full access to your medical records, including those not related to your claim. When you grant this access, the insurance company will find old injuries not related to your claim and use them to deny coverage.