Have you been recently hurt in a car accident? If so, then you may want to recover damages by filing a car accident claim. However, you should know that the insurance company will want to pay out as little as possible. To accomplish this, they will look for any reason to deny or reduce the total amount of damages you are seeking. One way of doing this is by pointing out a pre-existing condition, whether or not it was causing you any pain or problems before the accident.
If you have a pre-existing condition, then you should prepare your car accident claim with that condition in mind. Our New Jersey auto accident lawyers discuss how to do this below.
Pre-Existing Injuries: How to Prepare Your Car Accident Claim
Since an at fault driver is only liable for the injuries he or she directly or proximately caused, an insurance company may argue that your current injuries were not a result of the accident in question. This argument is especially likely if you have any pre-existing medical condition and is designed to cast doubts about where and how your injuries originated. Often, people who may be pain free may have pre-existing degenerative disc disease or some form of arthritis due to the normal aging process. Even though they may not be suffering any pain or problems before the accident, insurance companies and the physicians they hire to defend these claims will wish to point out this as the reason they suddenly have an issue or pain after an accident.
Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for and eliminate this doubt. However, it will take careful planning to do so successfully. Therefore, it is always a good idea to work with an experienced New Jersey auto accident lawyer so that you can avoid any potential pitfalls. Here are the steps our attorneys would advise you to take when preparing your car accident claim.
- First, you should undergo a medical examination by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. If you know that you were hurt in an accident, it is recommended that you go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care center as soon as possible to document what happened and treat you for your injuries. It is important to describe your pain as clearly as you can so that the doctor can determine and document what caused your current pain. After doing so, the doctor may find that the car accident aggravated or made worse your pre-existing injury, if you had any. In New Jersey, the Eggshell Doctrine entitles people in this situation to receive compensation under certain conditions. This doctrine applies when the pre-existing condition was not causing any pain or symptoms, and if that were the case, your injury may be fully compensable. If you were having some symptoms just before the accident, then your injury may still be compensable if the injuries in the accident worsened your condition. In this type of case, the defendant may only be responsible legally to the extent your condition worsened.
- After your initial medical examination, you will want to obtain your previous medical records so a comparative analysis can be made by your physician with your before and after accident medical condition. These records should outline the origin of your past injury and when you completed treatment for it.
- Next, you need to be fair and honest about your pre-existing injury to the insurance company, and this is where having competent experienced New Jersey Accident lawyers will assist you. It is never advisable to hide this information. Insurance companies will attempt to get a recorded statement from you shortly after they are notified about a claim. If your accident occurred in New Jersey, you should always speak with an experienced New Jersey auto accident lawyer before giving any insurance company recorded or signed statements. Remember, an insurance adjuster may use your statements against you later especially if you gave the statement before consulting with counsel. Therefore, you should consult with a New Jersey auto accident attorney before making any official statements or signing any documents.
Worried About Your Pre-Existing Condition? Speak with Our New Jersey Auto Accident Lawyers
While a pre-existing condition may complicate your car accident claim, you can carefully prepare your case to avoid a denial or a reduction in your compensation. Yet, doing so is tricky. Thus, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney at all stages of your case. If you would like to learn more, schedule a free consultation with us today by calling (856) 692-6500 or by filling out our confidential contact form.