An auto accident can have a devastating impact on a victim’s life. Not only are they forced to deal with numerous financial burdens, like lost wages and medical expenses, but they often sustain injuries that are painful and debilitating. When a person is injured by an at-fault driver in a car accident, they are legally entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver to obtain compensation for the injuries and damages they sustained.
One situation that makes obtaining a fair amount of compensation from an at-fault driver is when accident victims have pre-existing injuries. Although insurance companies often try to use pre-existing conditions against victims in an effort to justify their denial of claims, accident victims do have the right to pursue compensation for their injuries even if they had other injuries before the accident.
Car accidents where victims have pre-existing conditions are often more complex. They require extensive knowledge and evidence to support the claim that new injuries occurred or that existing injuries were made worse. If you are in the situation where you have been further injured in a car accident, but you had pre-existing conditions, contact an attorney at Siegfried & Jensen as soon as possible. Scheduling a free consultation will enable us to help guide you through each step of the claims process.
Did The Accident Make Your Injuries Worse?
A lot of individuals harmed in auto accidents have suffered some type of injury in the past. Suffering a work-related injury or a slip-and-fall injury in the past can place you in a situation where your previous injuries are worsened. There are several ways an accident can impact a prior injury. Some ways include:
- Aggravating pre-existing injuries in a manner which requires additional medical treatment or surgery;
- Causing further pain in the location where the injury occurred; or
- Affecting the area in a way that inhibits a victim’s ability to perform a task or continue on their daily routine.
Quite often, victims are hesitant about divulging information regarding pre-existing injuries when filing their claims. It is crucial that you explain that you had an injury, but it was worsened by the accident. To do this effectively, we recommend that victims:
Do Not Hide Pre-Existing Injuries: When you receive medical treatment after the accident, it is crucial to inform the health care provider that you had pre-existing injuries. You need to be open and honest about your medical conditions in order to ensure your health care provider is able to determine how the accident worsened the pre-existing injuries and to what extent.
Provide Specific Details About Your Injury: Be extremely specific when describing new symptoms that you are experiencing after the accident. Detail how the new symptoms differ from previous symptoms, and if/how they have worsened.
Request The Same Health Care Provider: If you had a specific health care provider tend to the injury before, request that you receive treatment from the same doctor. Having a professional familiar with your previous injuries and the pre-existing condition can provide you with a slight advantage in proving the accident caused the condition to worsen. Having the same health care professional can provide a more detailed explanation of how the injury has gotten worse.
You Have A Legal Right To Compensation
Insurance companies often try to use pre-existing conditions against accident victims. They will often deny the claims filed by victims or lessen the amount of compensation they are willing to provide. Having a pre-existing injury does not prevent a victim from recovering compensation for their injuries. Although a victim cannot recover compensation for an injury they sustained before the accident, they are entitled to recover compensation for injuries worsened by the accident.
In circumstances where pre-existing injuries exist, attorneys have to apply the “eggshell plaintiff” theory which prohibits insurance companies from denying claims based on pre-existing conditions. Even if the victim is more susceptible to injuries because of their pre-existing condition, they are still entitled to recover compensation if the at-fault driver aggravated the pre-existing condition.
An experienced attorney from Siegfried & Jensen can be an important advocate for victims with pre-existing conditions. We can help you gather relevant medical records that detail specifically how the accident made the injuries or conditions worse.
Individuals who suffer pre-existing condition aggravations are able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering they experience. In addition, victims are able to recover compensation for medical expenses incurred to treat the condition which was made worse by the accident. These expenses include surgeries, doctor appointments, rehabilitation, and therapy to treat worsened conditions. Furthermore, accident victims are able to recover compensation for lost wages if they are unable to return to work or if they are required to miss work regularly for doctor appointments, surgeries, or therapy.
In addition to recovering compensation for the injuries, accident victims are able to recover compensation for their vehicles and property that was lost or destroyed in the accident by the at-fault driver. Working with an aggressive attorney will ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
A Utah Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you had pre-existing injuries that were worsened or aggravated in a car accident caused by an at-fault driver, you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Working with an experienced Utah car accident attorney will ensure you recover the full and fair amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Quite often, individuals with pre-existing conditions are bullied into accepting minimal settlement offers from insurance companies. Before consulting an attorney, accident victims sign away their legal rights and accept compensation that barely covers the costs for treatment.
It is crucial for you to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you were injured in a car accident. Do not speak to insurance companies on your own. Contact Siegfried & Jensen at (801) 598-1218 to schedule a consultation so we can review your case and see what legal options are best for you.