Aggravating a pre-existing condition

Sometimes people injured in an accident think they don’t have a claim if their injuries consist of an aggravation of a medical condition or an injury that they already had before the accident.

However, that’s not the case. In UK, the law takes a very practical view of this type of injury; you are entitled to recover for the extent of the aggravation, but you cannot recover for the pre-existing condition or injury itself.

For example, suppose you were involved in an automobile accident and had muscular injuries to your low back. X-rays and MRIs may reveal that you had a hidden degenerative condition that existed before the accident. You may have been completely unaware of this condition because it did not cause you any problems before.

In fact, this may never cause you any discomfort whatsoever. However such degenerative changes can, however, make your spine less resilient and less able to withstand traumatic injury, such as in a collision, and therefore these degenerative changes may cause you to suffer more injury, for your injury to be longer lasting, or for your injury to be less likely to heal at all.

If you are injured in an accident and make a claim, the insurance companies always make a big deal out of your prior medical history and any pre-existing medical conditions and rightfully so, being in their position anyone would. If they can get you to give a recorded statement, the insurance companies will definitely ask about your prior medical history and any prior injuries or health problems.

Since neck and back injuries are the most common injuries from motor vehicle collisions, they will certainly ask you about any neck or back pain you ever had before the accident, and if you have ever been told that you have any arthritis, degenerative changes or diseases. If your attorney cannot get the insurance company to make a reasonable offer and a lawsuit has to be filed, the insurance defense attorney is allowed to discover your prior medical providers and any prior medical history or treatment.

The questions the adjuster or attorney asks are designed to intimidate you and to lay the groundwork for making a low offer to settle your case. They want you to think this way. If you have a prior medical history, and when answering these questions you are not completely forthcoming about your medical history, then when the other side finds this out, the insurance company or defense attorney will use this to claim to the fullest of their advantage that you are being untruthful, and so you are probably being untruthful and exaggerating your injuries also.

In legal terms, you will now have a “credibility issue” as well as a “causation issue”.

The injury professional help that we provide at Accident Lawyers will assist you by presenting conclusive evidence through medical records, friends, and family to show your activity level prior to the accident and the extent of any treatment before the accident; and then after the accident occurs, how it has caused you to receive new or additional treatment because it aggravated your pre-existing condition.

You are entitled to recover for that pain and suffering, and the effect on your health. This is something that insurance companies won’t tell you.