If you suffer an injury as the result of a car accident, the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster or defense attorney may eventually request or subpoena your medical records. In addition to recent medical developments, they’ll also be scouring your records for evidence of preexisting injuries or medical conditions. If they can prove that a previous injury/condition contributed to your current injury, or the accident “simply aggravated” a previous injury, they won’t be on the hook for as much compensation.
Most individuals are well aware of a preexisting injury/condition (though possibly not how it’s related to their current in-jury)—but not always. For example, a person may be undergoing imperceptible arthritic changes in their neck that haven’t yet caused discomfort or affected their daily living. However, imaging tests for the most recent injury may reveal the con-dition. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will likely pounce on this development as an opportunity to argue for a preexisting injury/condition.
There is good news for claimants, however. Even if you have a preexisting injury/condition similar to the one caused by your car accident, the defense still has the burden of proof to show that it was the direct cause of your current injury. In addition, your medical records may state that a past injury has completely healed, rendering its contribution to a “new” injury a moot point.
Insurance companies will scrape and claw to avoid or limit the amount of compensation they pay. It is imperative that you contact an experienced auto accident attorney to protect your rights.