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Pre-Existing Injuries and How They Impact Your Claim


Many aspects of a personal injury claim are confusing and complex, especially when you have been seriously injured and are waiting for the compensation you deserve. One issue that can play a role in personal injury cases is whether or not you have a pre-existing condition or injury before you are involved in an accident. The insurance company in your case might be less inclined to pay out if they think that you already had the injuries before the accident took place. This is why you need to be able to show that the accident did, indeed, cause your injuries or worsen the ones you already had.

West Virginia is close to the top of the list for states with the most injuries and fatalities caused by accidents each year. A wide variety of accidents take place due to drunk driving, distractions, speeding, and more. Because of this, many claims are made in a year’s time and many insurance companies will work on these claims to attempt to ensure that plaintiffs get the money owed to them. If you have a pre-existing injury and you are finding that it is difficult to prove that another party worsened your condition, where do you turn?

Liability in Your Personal Injury Claim

The insurance adjuster might try to argue that you had the injury before the accident took place, putting you in a difficult position if you believe that your condition was worsened by the party who caused your accident. You do not have to accept an argument from the adjuster, who tells you that they will not be paying your claim. You have options if you can show that the other party is liable for your injuries.

To prove that the other party’s negligent actions caused a new condition or led to the aggravation of your previous injury, you will have to provide good evidence. This means showing that the other party owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty of care, and that this breach led to your injuries. Some of the most common ways that parties show liability are photographs, witness statements, accident reports, medical records, and more. If the insurance adjuster is arguing that you already had a condition before the accident, you should always make it clear that you did not have your current symptoms before the accident that caused your current symptoms.

An example of this would be a case where an older person was involved in an accident and had an injury like degenerative spine disease, which puts wear and tear on the joints. If evidence of these injuries is found by your doctor, you should speak up to them and ask them when this started, because you will likely find that the car accident made your injuries even worse. You can, then, support your new injury claim to receive the results you deserve.

Should I Disclose a Pre-Existing Injury? 

Yes, it is in your best interests to disclose prior injuries because if there is documentation that you had treatment for an injury in the past before your accident, the insurance adjuster will find a way to dig it up. It is best that you come clean about your injury and disclose everything you know. Then, if you have medical records proving that your condition worsened due to the accident, you will be able to recover compensation.

Getting Help from an Experienced West Virginia Accident Attorney

Many people feel lost as they contemplate bringing a personal injury claim after a serious accident. They might not know where to turn or if they stand a chance when it comes to filing a claim. Luckily, our West Virginia car accident attorneys are here to assist you every step of the way. At Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner, we have the skill and experience to handle your case and help you obtain maximum compensation for your losses. Please reach out to us at (304) 713-2014 for more information.