After an auto accident, you may be wondering how a pre-existing injury might affect your claim. You are not alone. Most personal injury clients at Taylor King and Associates have some history of other injuries. If you don’t disclose the injury initially, a pre-existing injury can negatively affect your personal injury claim in Arkansas, but it doesn’t have to. While you can’t receive compensation for injuries that occurred before the auto accident, you can still be compensated if the accident made those injuries worse.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident and sustained injuries in Arkansas, the personal injury lawyers at Taylor King and Associates recommend asking for a free consultation. A personal injury lawyer will give you solid advice on how to proceed, especially in a more complex situation with pre-existing injuries. Be sure to disclose your pre-existing injuries during your initial meetings. This helps your attorney prepare your case based on ALL the information, ensuring you will be fairly compensated for the injuries you sustained in the car accident.
Step One: Tell the Truth
If you were already injured before the accident, it’s important to tell to your lawyer and the insurance company, even though you didn’t sustain that particular injury in the accident. If you conceal this information from your insurance company and they find out later – which is very likely – it will mar your credibility and negatively affect your claim. The company could claim that since you lied about your pre-existing injury, you may be lying about your other injuries as well.
If you have to go to court with your personal injury claim, the jury or adjuster may doubt the accuracy of your current injury claims when they learn that you downplayed your earlier injuries. This brings us to the golden rule of legal claims: Never try to cover up the details, whether or not you you think they’re important to your case.
Step Two: Make the Connection
Your pre-existing injuries actually do matter to your current case. Those prior injuries could have weakened your body, making you more vulnerable to injuries in the accident. For example, in a low-impact auto accident, a person without pre-existing injuries might walk away from the accident with no injuries, while a person whose shoulder had already been dislocated might experience another shoulder injury. If you don’t disclose that pre-existing shoulder injury, the court may doubt your claim that a low-impact accident could have caused the injury. Without all the information, the court cannot fairly award you compensation. In the worst-case scenario, you might lose the case and receive no compensation.
In Arkansas and other states in the US, there is an existing law to award damages when an auto accidents aggravates pre-existing injuries. This statute can only apply if you disclose those prior injuries!
Step Three: Supply Medical Evidence
Medical evidence, including records and tests like x-rays and MRI scans, is a vital part of proving your case when a pre-existing injury is involved. When you seek treatment after the car accident, tell your doctor about your personal injury claim. Ask your doctor to keep notes, creating a written narrative that can be used for evidence if your claim goes to court. The Arkansas personal injury lawyers at Taylor King and Associates will use your past medical records and tests and compare them with existing ones to prove that the accident aggravated your conditions.