How a Pre-Existing Injury Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

accident report formClaims adjusters are paid to minimize the amount of compensation insurance companies pay victims. One way they accomplish this may be to use a victim’s pre-existing injury to deny his or her claim or reduce the amount of compensation the insurance company has to offer. This allows them to claim that the victim sustained his or her injury in some other accident and that the insurance company does not have to pay for it.

The Knoxville auto accident attorneys at Greg Coleman Law are familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying victims the compensation they deserve. If you suffer from a pre-existing condition that was worsened in an accident, we will work to secure your claim and minimize interference by an insurance company.

Common Types of Pre-Existing Injuries

There are many pre-existing conditions that can be worsened or aggravated in a severe accident. Some of the most common pre-existing conditions that can be affected in an accident include: 

  • Hernias
  • Back injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Herniated discs
  • Fractures
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Concussions
  • Knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Fibromyalgia

It is important that you are open and honest with your personal injury attorney about any pre-existing conditions you may have. Any information you provide your attorney may help him or her show how your condition was aggravated during the accident and why it entitles you to compensation.

Right to Pursue Compensation

Although you cannot be compensated for an injury that existed before an accident, you may be able to recover compensation if the injury or condition was worsened by the accident.

Tennessee uses the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, which means a victim must be considered as-is. Under the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, an insurance company cannot deny coverage just because a person had a pre-existing injury.

Although a personal injury victim with a pre-existing condition is likely more susceptible to injury or may suffer a more severe injury, the at-fault party can still held liable for the injuries and harm he or she caused to the victim.

Evidence to Support Your Pre-Existing Injury Claim

To obtain fair compensation for the aggravation or worsening of your pre-existing condition, you will need to establish the following:

  • The nature of your pre-existing condition
  • The stability of the condition prior to the accident
  • The connection between the accident and the worsening of your pre-existing condition

Establishing these factors requires your lawyer to gather evidence to support your claim. Most importantly, your medical records may establish the difference between your pre-existing injury before and after the accident. Some medical records that may be helpful include:

  • Diagnostic tests
  • X-rays, CAT scans or MRI results
  • Physician reports
  • Hospital records
  • Chiropractor records
  • Reports from a physical therapist

It is critical that your medical records be detailed and thorough. Jurors, insurance adjusters and judges should be able to recognize the severity of your pre-existing injury and how it has impacted you.

The evidence you present should establish the symptoms you experienced after the accident, how the accident has worsened your pre-existing injury and how it has affected your life.

Protecting Your Legal Claim

Although many personal injury victims may feel compelled to hide information about their pre-existing condition, it is important that you openly discuss your condition with your lawyer. Any information you withhold can be used against you by an insurance company to adversely affect your ability to obtain the compensation you need.

Greg Coleman Law’s dedicated personal injury attorneys know how to handle cases involving pre-existing injuries and are familiar with the standards that must be met to receive compensation for the aggravation of your injury.

We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to review your accident and discuss how a pre-existing injury may affect your claim. We only accept payment if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call (865) 247-0080 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.