If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another individual, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. If a personal injury claim is successful, you will typically be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, any lost wages, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering damages. However, having a pre-existing condition could cause problems when it comes to securing compensation. Here, we want to discuss whether or not a pre-existing condition can hinder your personal injury lawsuit in West Virginia.
How do Pre-Existing Injuries Affect a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The most important thing you need to remember when you file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit is that the other party will do anything they can to limit how much money they payout in a settlement. Insurance carriers and at-fault parties will look to form various defenses, and one of these defenses will be to prove that the injured party had a pre-existing injury or condition that may explain the current pain and suffering.
When an insurance carrier begins investigating a claim, they will do more than try to determine what happened in the incident. They will look into the claimant’s past to see if there are any pre-existing injuries or conditions.
How would the insurance carrier know about pre-existing injuries?
Individuals who sustain injuries as a result of the actions of someone else often make the mistake of signing over all of their medical records to other parties involved in the case. This is a mistake. The at-fault party’s insurance carrier does not need your complete medical history in order to properly evaluate a claim. However, if they find information about pre-existing injuries that could explain the current pain and suffering, they will most certainly use this information to try and limit their liability.
There are a variety of pre-existing injuries that insurance carriers can bring up to explain away current symptoms. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Previous back or neck injuries
- Fibromyalgia diagnosis
- Ongoing or previous joint pain
- Previous head or spinal cord injuries
Insurance carriers will look at various scenarios in which individuals may have sustained these injuries, including workplace injuries, previous vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, and more.
Yes, it is true that a new accident can aggravate pre-existing injury symptoms and even make them worse. However, this should not affect an individual’s ability to recover compensation.
Recovering Compensation Even With a Pre-Existing Injury
Most people sustain injuries at some point. However, just because a person sustains an injury does not mean that they should never be able to recover compensation if they are harmed due to the negligence of someone else. If the existence of a pre-existing condition was enough to keep a person from securing compensation for an insurance settlement, then nobody would ever be able to recover compensation if they had been injured in the past.
Individuals should absolutely be able to recover compensation from an at-fault party or their insurance carrier, regardless of whether or not their current pain and suffering is an aggravation of a pre-existing injury or a new injury altogether. Any person who sustains an injury in West Virginia needs to speak to a skilled personal injury lawyer who can help them with every aspect of their claim. This will include conducting a complete investigation into the incident, proving the liability of the other party, and vigorously negotiating to recover fair compensation.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.