A pre-existing injury is one that predates the accident for which a person is filing a claim. Insurance companies often dig through an injury victim’s medical records to try and find a pre-existing injury to deny a claim. Fortunately, there are laws in Indiana to prevent insurance companies from outright denying a claim because the person has an old injury.
Accident victims who were previously injured may recover compensation for an accident if it aggravates the pre-existing injury. However, you must be able to prove your old injury was aggravated by the accident for which you are filing a claim.
Our car crash lawyers in South Bend are prepared to review your claim to see how we may be able to help. Your initial consultation is free and confidential.
Below, we discuss some of the evidence you may be able to use to prove the aggravation of a pre-existing injury.
Prior vs Post-Accident Medical Records
Your medical records prior to an accident and those after the accident will serve an important role. In most cases, accident victims may disclose their old medical records to prove they did not have an old injury.
However, when a person has a pre-existing injury, medical records may also serve to prove how his or her old injuries were aggravated. Medical records prior to the accident may also show the recovery progress the person had made with his or her injury before the new accident worsened it.
For example, say a person suffered a herniated disc years prior to this accident but had reached a point where he or she did not require treatment. Then, after this accident, the old injury was aggravated, causing that person to require extensive treatment. This drastic difference in prior vs post-accident medical records could prove aggravation of an old injury.
Your doctor’s notes from what you tell him or her about your pain and discomfort level could also be useful. For example, if you had required a monthly visit for pain management. You may have been able to keep your pain level at a two or three before the accident, but afterward, you tell your doctor your pain level is closer to a nine or higher.
A significant change that appears on imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans or an MRI could also help prove aggravation of an injury.
If your old injury did not keep you from being able to fully perform at work, but after this accident, you are unable to do so. This could also serve as evidence of an aggravated pre-existing injury. Your attendance and performance at work are most likely documented in your employment records.
Your attorney may be able to use your employment records to prove you had to take time off work or reduce your workload to accommodate an injury that previously did not cause you trouble.
Even if your old injury did cause an issue at work in the past, you may still be able to argue this accident made it worse if you must take additional time off work or have your boss change your job function.
Witnesses to Your Injuries
Testimony from witnesses can serve as strong evidence in an accident claim. Witness statements are usually used to prove one party acted negligently and caused a collision. However, testimony from those who witness your distress may also be useful. These people may be able to testify on how your injuries were before the accident compared to after it happened. Some noticeable observations could include things like your mood and energy levels.
These witnesses to your injuries are generally close family members, so the insurance company may try and attack their credibility.
Your Ability to Partake in Hobbies and Other Activities
Your ability to keep up with hobbies may support a claim that does not involve pre-existing injuries. However, this could also be useful to prove the aggravation of an old injury.
For example, if you have a herniated disc in your neck that was previously stabilized enough, after prior treatment and exercise, to allow you to stop modifying your workouts. Then, after this accident, you are forced to go back to the drawing board and again do less strenuous workouts.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
Proving the aggravation of a pre-existing injury is challenging. It is even harder when you do not have an attorney on your side. That is why it may be in your best interest to contact us as soon as possible.
We offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your claim. With all the facts, we can determine what your legal options may be.
Call (844) 678-1800 to see how we can help.