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Can a Pre-Existing Injury Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Posted on July 4, 2022

A common tactic used by insurance carriers to limit how much they pay in compensation for a claim is to try and find any pre-existing injuries a person may have had. The insurance carrier’s goal is to try and say that a person’s current pain and suffering has to do with something other than the incident the claim was made for. Here, we want to discuss whether or not pre-existing injuries can actually affect a personal injury claim.

Why a Pre-Existing Injury May Come Up in Your Case

Not many people can say they have never sustained an injury before. However, pre-existing injuries can certainly come back to haunt individuals, especially if they are harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else later down the line.

Insurance carriers want to limit how much money they payout for a settlement, and one way they do this is to try and dig up any pre-existing injury a claimant has had. This can include injuries a person sustained in previous vehicle accidents, workplace injuries, or slip and fall incidents. Insurance carriers may even bring up prior surgeries, repetitive stress injuries, or even degenerative spinal cord diseases that you have no control over.

It may not seem like a big deal to you that you have sustained an injury in the past, and it shouldn’t be a big deal. However, insurance carriers often find a way to get a hold of your complete medical history to look for these injuries. Their goal will be to point to the injury and say that “This is what is causing the claimant’s pain and suffering, not the actions of the alleged at-fault party.”

It is absolutely crucial that you be careful about signing any paperwork put in front of you by an insurance claims adjuster. Often, insurance claims adjusters will give you a medical record release authorization form without any dates on it, which gives them the ability to obtain your medical records going back as far as they can find. When you sign over your medical records to the insurance claims adjuster, you should only sign over the records pertinent to the time frame after the accident occurred.

A Pre-Existing Injury Should Not Matter

Pre-existing injuries should not matter when it comes to current personal injury claims. It does not matter whether or not you sustained an injury previously. Additionally, even if the current injury caused an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, you should still be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. The reality is that your current pain and suffering would not have happened if not for the negligent or careless actions of the other party involved.

It is crucial for you to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can examine every aspect of your case. You can tell your lawyer about pre-existing injuries so they know ahead of time what the insurance carriers may try to dig up and find. Your lawyer will make sure that only the relevant medical records are handed over to the insurance carriers for the purpose of recovering compensation for your current claim. If the insurance carrier does find out about any pre-existing injuries you have, your lawyer will make sure that this does not affect your overall compensation.