If you have been injured in an accident, you may be wondering how your pre-existing conditions will impact the value of your claim. In general, pre-existing conditions will not prevent you from recovering compensation for your injuries, but they may reduce the amount of compensation you receive.
How Pre-Existing Conditions Are Considered
When evaluating a personal injury claim, insurance companies will consider several factors, including:
- The severity of the injuries
- The extent of medical expenses
- The impact of the injuries on the victim’s ability to work and enjoy life
- The victim’s pre-existing conditions
Insurance companies often over-emphasize pre-existing conditions in an attempt to minimize their financial responsibility for your injuries and losses. Juries will consider the impact of pre-existing conditions when awarding damages. Legally, the defendant is only responsible for the harm they caused, not for problems that already existed before the accident. It’s important to remember the corollary to that rule: defendants are responsible for all of the increased injuries they have caused. Everyone has some health problems and these problems are frequently exacerbated by accidents.
How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Reduce Claim Value
Pre-existing conditions can impact personal injury claims in several ways:
- Contesting accident causation: Insurance companies may argue that the accident didn’t worsen existing injuries.
- Diminishing pain and suffering compensation: If pre-existing conditions caused pain, the impact of accident-related pain might be contested.
- Limiting lost wage compensation: If pre-existing conditions affected work capacity, the accident’s effect on earning ability may be questioned.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Claim Value?
If you have pre-existing conditions, get medical attention right away, keep detailed records of your treatment, get copies of your medical records, and be honest with your lawyer about your conditions. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to build your case in a way that you are compensated fully for your injuries and losses. Your attorney will be able to respond appropriately with unfair attempts to blame your losses on preexisting conditions.
Contact Our Kansas City Area Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured in an accident and have pre-existing conditions, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss how your claim may be affected. Morefield Speicher Bachman can help you understand your legal rights and options and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today.