Personal injury claims involve collecting damages for losses related to an accident you did not cause, including medical expenses, lost wages, and more. However, the damages you collect must relate to the accident in question. If you have a pre-existing injury, your case may become more complicated – but you can still collect compensation through a lawsuit or insurance claim.
What Is a Pre-Existing Injury?
A pre-existing injury is a condition that you were suffering from before the accident that led to your additional injuries occurred. You may have sustained the pre-existing injury well before the accident, sometimes even under similar circumstances. However, having a pre-existing injury may complicate your future claim.
When you claim compensation through a lawsuit for injuries sustained in an accident, all of the damages you claim must relate to the accident. You cannot claim compensation for an injury you suffered from before the accident occurred – but you could claim damages if the accident made that pre-existing condition worse.
If you are in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness and you have a pre-existing injury, do not hide this fact. Tell your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer about the injury as soon as possible. Withholding this information could discredit you – it is important to be honest up front.
What If the Accident Aggravates Your Pre-Existing Injury?
Many people who suffer additional injuries may experience an aggravation of a pre-existing injury. For example, if you were recovering from a knee injury and suffered a slip and fall on unsafe premises, you could experience additional damage to your knee. Under Nevada state law, you could claim compensation for this aggravation because it occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence – however, making the case for this compensation could be difficult.
The insurance company may claim that the accident had nothing to do with your pre-existing condition and that there is no evidence proving that the aggravation is accident-related. They may attempt to reduce your award amount and state that your claim does not involve the accident at hand. They may also try to use the pre-existing condition to discredit your claim.
Why You Should Hire an Accident Attorney If You Have a Pre-Existing Injury
While you may face some barriers to compensation with a pre-existing injury, you can build a compelling case in your favor with the assistance of an attorney. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can provide you with a number of benefits.
- Proving that an accident aggravated your pre-existing injury requires in-depth medical knowledge and testimony. In addition to collecting and reviewing your medical records, your attorney will have access to medical experts. These experts will be able to review and provide an opinion on your case, giving testimony on your behalf.
- If you enter into negotiations with an insurance company and you have a pre-existing condition, the insurance adjusters could use your condition to justify a lower settlement than you need. The company may make it seem like this settlement is the most you can receive with your condition. However, your attorney can evaluate these offers and help negotiate for a higher settlement on your behalf.
- Recovering from the aftermath of an accident can be financially, physically, and emotionally difficult. If you have to go through complex insurance claims or lawsuit filing processes, you can feel overwhelmed and unsure of your next steps. When you hire an attorney to assist with your claim, he or she can guide you through the process and advise you on how to best prepare for negotiations and court dates.
If you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness and you have a pre-existing condition, you may still be eligible for financial compensation. Your attorney can help you separate the impacts of your pre-existing injury with the accident injuries you suffered. Inform your lawyer of your condition early on in the legal process, so you can begin determining the optimal path to compensation.