In 2019, there were 37,832 car crashes in Missouri that resulted in personal injuries. While some of these crashes involved people who were in excellent physical condition, some accidents involved people who had previously been injured. Even if you have a pre-existing injury, however, you are still entitled to receive damages that you incurred after a car accident, provided someone else was responsible for causing your crash. Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to dramatically undervalue a person’s injuries when that person had a preexisting injury or condition.
We know, of course, that insurance companies tend to be large corporations that often rely on underhanded techniques to pay as little on claims as possible (meaning that they are not paying the legal compensation that a person is entitled to). It is common for insurance carriers to argue that the injuries a victim incurs in a car accident were neither caused nor made worse by a crash. To better guide you through pursuing compensation in such a situation, below are several important details to remember about pre-existing injuries and car accident claims.
Common Pre-Existing Injuries
Car accidents can cause pre-existing injuries to become even more debilitating, and to the extent that an injury is more debilitating, the negligent driver is responsible for those damages. While pre-existing injuries can include virtually any condition, some of the most common types of injuries that are aggravated by car accidents include:
- Brain injuries
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Lower back strains
- Knee injuries
- Previously broken bones
The Eggshell Doctrine
Like many other states in the country, Missouri follows the eggshell skull rule, which was created to protect individuals who suffer from pre-existing injuries. This law states that individuals with pre-existing injuries have the ability to pursue compensation after an accident, even in cases in which a person’s injuries would not have been bad if not for those pre-existing conditions. But, people with pre-existing conditions must be able to demonstrate that the pre-existing condition was made worse by the accident and that no reason existed to believe the victim’s condition would get worse before the accident
Insurance carriers often will offer lower settlement amounts to people with preexisting injuries and try to deny payment altogether to this class of victims. Fortunately, the eggshell doctrine helps to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
Disclosing Details About Your Pre-Existing Injuries
Accident victims have no control over when motor vehicle accidents occur and how serious the accidents may be. Further, pre-existing injuries sometimes overlap with new injuries. When that is the case, it is vital that an injured person explain to their physician the exact nature of the preexisting injury and how this accident made that prior injury worse. That way, a person’s medical records can be used to demonstrate that the injury was made worse.
Insurance carriers often do whatever they can to either reduce or deny your injury claim. Car accident victims should be alert to insurance adjuster tactics. Victims are often asked to provide recorded statements, which they should avoid doing because insurance adjusters can often ask leading questions that lead a victim to say or imply something that may not be accurate.
Insurance adjusters also often ask for medical bills and records. These documents are then reviewed for any details that can be used to weaken your claim. You will need to release medical information to help reinforce your claim, but remember there are limitations on what insurance carriers can access in regards to your overall health. Your attorney will ensure that the insurance company deals with you fairly in light of your pre-existing medical condition.
Obtain the Assistance of an Experienced Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of a seasoned car accident attorney who will fight for the results you deserve. Contact House Law LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.