Can an Old Accident on my Record Affect the Value of a New Accident Claim?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Mar 03, 2022 in Car Accidents
Insurance companies often go to great lengths to deny or devalue injury claims to avoid having to pay out compensation. This includes using information about your past, including old accidents.
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and need help filing a claim for compensation, call our experienced car accident lawyers in South Bend. We offer a free consultation to determine your legal options.
Below, we discuss why you should disclose prior accidents to avoid the insurance company diminishing the value of your claim by using an old crash against you.
Should I Disclose Prior Accidents?
It is important to always disclose information that could be relevant to your claim to your attorney. Doing so will help establish the facts your attorney needs to build a strong case for compensation.
While you may be hesitant to discuss something you believe could hurt your case with your attorney, it is important to note that attorney-client privilege helps keep communications between you and your lawyer private. This privilege exists to encourage clients to have open conversations with their attorney about their case to help the attorney fully understand the situation.
Honesty with your attorney will likely work to your advantage because you can discuss things like prior accidents and injuries with your attorney before doing so with the insurance company. This can help you and your attorney work out a strategy for how to disclose the information when it becomes relevant to your new claim.
What Steps Should I Take When Disclosing an Old Accident?
It is important to note that you may not always have to disclose an old accident. If it comes up, you will need to deal with it, but it might not come up. It is important not to disclose the accident at the wrong moment.
The wrong moment to disclose an old accident is when you initially file an injury claim. The insurance company may ask you to provide a recorded statement and they may ask you about things like prior accidents, but you are not under any legal obligation to disclose that information. In fact, you should direct any questions from the insurance company to your attorney so he or she may help you provide a factual and accurate answer that will help protect the value of your claim.
Later in the legal process, you may be required to answer questions about your driving record and prior accidents. This is when preparing your answer with an attorney may be beneficial. In most cases, the legal requirement to disclose this comes during the discovery phase after a lawsuit has been filed.
It is important to note that if you are filing a claim with an insurance company you have dealt with before on a prior accident, or even your own insurance company that handled an old claim, a prior accident is likely already on record. That is why it is imperative that you never lie about or try to cover up an old accident. Doing so could be counterproductive to your legal pursuit of compensation.
Will the Insurance Company Try to Use an Old Accident Against Me?
Yes, the insurance company is going to try a variety of tactics to deny or devalue your injury claim. If you have a prior accident on your record, the insurance company may try to make several excuses to deny or devalue your case for compensation.
One of those excuses could be blaming your current injuries on an old accident. The insurance company may claim they bear no legal responsibility to pay for your damages because you were injured in a crash that was not caused by their insured driver.
In some cases, this could be true. You may have suffered an injury in an old accident and those injuries may have been aggravated in the new accident. However, you may be eligible to recover compensation for aggravation of a preexisting condition.
If a driver’s negligent actions caused an accident that aggravated an old injury, and you required medical treatment, that driver may be held liable for damages you incurred for your aggravated injuries. Therefore, the insurance company should pay your compensation.
Another argument the insurance company may try to use is that you are a negligent driver because of an old accident you caused. However, your role in a past accident has no bearing on whether you may have been at fault for the current accident.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
If you are concerned about how the insurance company may try to use a prior accident to deny your injury claim, you should strongly consider speaking to an experienced attorney.
For decades our lawyers have worked hard to fight for the compensation our clients need to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Let us do the same for you.
We offer a free consultation and there are no fees while we work on your case.
We do not get paid unless you do. Call (844) 678-1800 today.