What if I’m Injured But I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
A prior injury or other pre-existing condition does not disqualify you from recovering compensation for a new injury. That said, they could substantially complicate your claim.
While a negligent party is on the hook for worsening a pre-existing condition, they are not required to pay for damages that occurred before the accident. These matters are further complicated when insurance companies use a pre-existing condition as an excuse to deny coverage.
If an insurance company treats you unfairly, you are not without recourse. You have the right to hold them accountable with the help of a personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh.
Common examples of pre-existing conditions
Any physical injury or illness could serve as a pre-existing condition. However, chronic and long-lasting conditions are more likely to be designated pre-existing—which may include:
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Congenital disabilities
- Joint damage
How pre-existing injuries could complicate an injury claim
A pre-existing condition should have no impact on recovering compensation for similar injuries in a subsequent accident. The problem arises in identifying whether the recent accident exacerbated an injury or if it occurred beforehand.
Insurance companies will often claim your injuries were pre-existing even when they lack evidence that was the case. The good news is that with proper medical documentation, it is possible to differentiate between a prior injury and a new one.
There are important steps to take that can strengthen your claim. First and foremost, always seek medical care immediately after an accident. The more documentation you have for your injury, the more evidence you will have to show the most recent accident was not pre-existing.
What’s more, it is always in your best interest to be truthful. Lying to your doctor or the insurance company could have a devastating impact on your case.
When an accident aggravates a pre-existing condition
Many injury claims involve the aggravation of a pre-existing injury. In this situation, you still have the right to monetary compensation. However, the total amount of damages available in your claim could be reduced:
For example, if the insurance company finds that 25 percent of your injuries were pre-existing, your benefits could be reduced by the same amount.
The challenge in these cases is differentiating which injuries are new and which are not. Often, an insurance company will push their luck, suggesting that your injuries were entirely pre-existing– and that your recent accident had no impact on your health.
How an attorney could help
Although your insurance company could attempt to use your pre-existing condition as an excuse not to cover you, that does not mean their efforts will be successful. Often, your medical records before and after the accident will make clear that you are suffering from additional trauma.
In addition to your medical team, your attorneys could also help you make the case that you are entitled to compensation. We are experienced with taking on claims involving pre-existing conditions. We understand the challenges that come with this and are prepared to use our experience to help you maximize your recovery.
We take a comprehensive approach to these cases. Not only do we ensure you receive the medical treatment you need, we assist in compiling your medical records before filing your claim.
Contact us today
If your insurance company refuses to provide the benefits you are entitled to, we are ready to pursue legal action on your behalf. To discuss your options, schedule a free consultation with our team as soon as possible.