A Personal Injury Attorney in Cape Girardeau, MO can Help Even With a Pre-Existing Condition
In some accident cases, injured parties can face opposition from the defendant’s insurance company based on a pre-existing injury. Plaintiffs cannot collect money for conditions that were present before an injury occurred, but they can collect damages for mental or physical conditions that were worsened by the accident. For these claims, the handling of the pre-existing condition can help or hurt the outcome.
Disclosing Pre-Existing Conditions
At the beginning of a case, an personal Injury lawyer must impress upon the client the importance of full disclosure, even if a past injury has nothing to do with the current issue. Failure to disclose past injuries, especially those affecting the same area of the body, can negatively impact the plaintiff’s believability and their claim’s value.
If a plaintiff minimizes a pre-existing injury, a jury or an insurance adjuster may cast doubt upon the extent of their current condition. The jury or adjuster may not give sufficient consideration to the plaintiff’s lack of treatment history, and may pinpoint the recent accident as the source of the victim’s injuries.
The “Fragile” Plaintiff
Pre-existing injuries may cause a plaintiff to be weaker and more vulnerable to injury, further aggravating the condition. Defendants must take a plaintiff at “face value”–in the physical condition they’re in at the time of the injury. The “fragility” defense is especially useful in low-impact crashes where there’s significant doubt as to whether the accident actually caused the injury.
Comparison of Medical Records
One of the biggest advantages to a pre-existing condition is an injury lawyer’s ability to compare medical and diagnostic records with current documents to verify the accident’s effect on the prior injury. If MRIs or X-rays are taken years apart, an expert can offer testimony as to how the accident made the condition worse. Witnesses can also use records to compare pain degrees, care requirements and disability before or after the accident. This expert testimony affects the portion of medical expenses that can be attributed to the defendant’s actions.
By fully disclosing pre-existing conditions during a personal injury claim, and by arguing that the current injury made the plaintiff more vulnerable to new injury, a personal Injury attorney in Cape Girardeau, MO can use the pre-existing condition to the plaintiff’s advantage. An injury lawyer can help a client recover the damages to which they are entitled.