What is a pre-existing condition and why can it hurt my case.
A pre-existing condition is a pain or other type of complaint in the same area as the complaint a person is having from their lawsuit injury. Usually this pain or complaint is found in the medical records on a date before the lawsuit injury.
For example, a person may have whiplash from a rear end collision. However, their prior medical history from their family doctor shows previous complaints of neck pain and stiffness with limited range of motion.
An insurance company will take the position that the complaints a person like this might have are really the continued symptoms from the pre-existing condition and that the car wreck may have caused a temporary flare up of the symptoms but that it did not result in any new or permanent injury.
In most cases, it is not the presence of a pre-existing condition that can ruin or reduce the value of a claim. It is the failure to disclose the pre-existing condition when asked about it by treating doctors after the lawsuit injury. Everything in a Court room comes down to credibility. Anything that creates suspicion or doubt about the truthfulness of an injured person can have a devastating effect on the overall value of a claim.
In order to protect yourself if you have a lawsuit injury and a pre-existing conditions you must do the following:
1) Do not hide prior conditions from doctors when they ask about whether you have had the same or similar conditions in the area of your lawsuit injury.
2) Do your best to explain in detail how the symptoms and pain have changed from what you experienced before the lawsuit injury and after the lawsuit injury.
3) Do not hide the information about your prior conditions from your lawyer and always answer questions about your prior condition truthfully when asked about it in the lawsuit process.
4) Use a diary, at your lawyer’s instruction, to document the change in the symptoms after the lawsuit injury. It will be critical to show whether your symptoms return to a similar level as they did before the lawsuit injury or if they have become permanently worse.
5) When asked by health care providers to rate your symptoms (such as pain) on a scale of one to ten make sure you try to use the same standard for your symptom after the lawsuit injury as you did before the lawsuit injury. For example, some people may rate a pain as the worst they ever had before the lawsuit injury because they have never experienced a really, bad injury. After the lawsuit injury they realize that the pain they had before the lawsuit injury that they rated as a ten was really only a five in comparison to the pain they felt from the lawsuit injury. If this has happened to you, it is important to explain that to your doctor’s and make sure this is correctly documented in your medical records.
At Ray Hodge & Associates we have been helping injured people including those with pre-existing conditions for over twenty five years. If you have questions, we have answers. Call now for a free consultation at 316-269-1414.
Ray Hodge & Associates proudly represents victims and their families across the state of Kansas, including Wichita, Andover, Derby, Goddard, Haysville, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Newton, El Dorado and Hutchinson. Call today for a free consultation all over the state of Kansas. We have proudly served clients in Sedgwick, Butler, Sumner, Harvey, Kingman and Reno Counties.