Missouri law states that an accident only needs to contribute to the cause of pain and the need for medical care. The burden of proof falls on the defense.
Thousands of Americans are treated for medical conditions every day. Chronic knee pain from a high school football injury could still plague a 35-year-old mailman. The force of a car crash may aggravate an old condition. It is only fair that you be compensated for that, even though the defense may think otherwise. It would be helpful to have a car accident lawyer on your side to prove them wrong.
Missouri law states that an accident only needs to contribute to the cause of pain and the need for medical care. The burden of proof falls on the defense. They would need to show that your pain and suffering is exactly the same as it was prior to the accident and that you will only need to undergo the same treatment regimen as before. Such was the case with a 62-year-old man in Missouri. For over a decade prior to his car accident he had been treated for back pain. Pain management was intensive and included multiple types of injections and procedures. In response to defendants’ claims that the injuries were pre-existing, the plaintiffs’ lawyers focused on how their client was active prior to the collision. Before going to trial a settlement of $69,000 was agreed upon.
Some Missouri car accident lawyers may view the presence of a pre-existing condition as a weakness to your claim, but that is not true. In some instances, proof of a prior injury may actually go to show how it has been made worse as a result of the accident. If the mailman with the football injury has been receiving regular medical care that included imaging the knee, then a scan of the knee taken after the accident will show how the condition has deteriorated as a result.
Since car accidents can cause injury to virtually any part of the human body, it only stands to reason that any type of pre-existing medical condition or injury may be aggravated by it. Be aware that prior to filing your claim, insurance adjusters may attempt to scare you with their knowledge of your condition and offer you a small settlement. Do not be intimidated. Instead, defer them and their questions to your car accident attorney.
The most common pre-existing conditions that defense lawyers look for are neck and back injuries, disc disease and arthritis. Be upfront with your attorney about your past medical history. If your claim goes to trial the defense must be allowed access to your previous medical history. By not divulging that information to your attorney, you would be depriving him of the opportunity to review the records and prepare his counter-arguments. Your attorney may even be able to show how your prior injury made you more susceptible to the new one.
Should you disclose your Pre-Existing Condition?
Your pre-existing injuries may have a role in the severity of the injuries you suffer in a car accident. In this situation, you may think whether or not to talk about your pre-existing injuries with someone, because revealing them may in some way harm your car accident claim. However, you should never attempt to hide your pre-existing injuries as it could do more harm than good. In this article, we will discuss this issue in detail.
Pre-Existing Injuries and Car Accident Claims
As we stated above, trying to hide your pre-existing injuries after a car accident is not a good idea. There are four key principles related to pre-existing injuries and car accident claims. These include:
- The insurance company may eventually discover your pre-existing injuries if they decide to investigate your case and conduct research after the accident. If you think this cannot happen to you, think again.
- Pre-existing injuries are almost always discovered and discussed during the discovery process of the clam. Attorneys representing the defendant and the insurance company will likely ask you about any prior injuries and accidents. You may even have to share your medical records with them.
- Attempting to conceal pre-existing injuries can do more harm than good. In a case where pre-existing injuries are discovered by the other party, this could jeopardize your claim. The attorney and insurance company may think that you deliberately concealed information about the pre-existing injury, and they can use this information against you to imply that you are fabricating or exaggerating your symptoms. If there is a judge involved, you may have to face discovery sanctions, or you may be prohibited from presenting certain evidence if it is discovered that you tried to conceal your pre-existing injuries.
- Finally, hiding your pre-existing injuries may not help your claim in any way, because the at-fault party must take you as you are, which means, even if your injuries are worse than what they would have been due to the pre-existing injuries, the at-fault party is still liable. However, there is an exception to the rule. You may not be able to seek compensation if your injuries would have occurred regardless of whether or not the car accident took place. In this case, your injury would be attributable to the pre-existing condition and not to the accident. Hence, the other party cannot be held liable.
St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Never allow an insurance adjuster bully you into a low settlement just because of a pre-existing condition. Consult with a Missouri car accident attorney before accepting any deal.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Missouri and, as a result, your pre-existing condition has been aggravated, contact a car accident lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.