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Will a Pre-Existing Condition Affect My Car Accident Claim?

Posted on December 4, 2022 in

After a car accident or any other injury accident, it seems threatening to disclose your pre-existing medical conditions during an insurance claim, especially since you don’t want your pre-existing condition(s) (“PE Condition”) to harm the outcome of an honest injury claim. However, it’s important to disclose them to the insurance company and your attorney. Trying to hide the pre-existing condition(s) is not likely to be successful and will hurt your credibility and that of your injury claim. Your attorney can help you navigate the potentially complex process (which might involve claiming privilege rights to some of your prior medical records for unrelated conditions if appropriate). Your lawyer’s job is to unsure that your PE Condition isn’t unfairly used against you. 

With over 65 years of combined negligence and injury legal experience, our personal injury attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm have helped thousands of our clients secure fair compensation. Insurance companies often use tactics to unfairly deny or undervalue claims. Unfortunately, too many accident victims without lawyers fall for them. This is one of the reasons to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Another one is that, even after paying the percentage fee of our law firm, your net recovery will almost always be more than you can get without a lawyer, because the insurance company knows you cannot realistically take the claim into court without a lawyer (so the threat of that makes for a larger and often faster settlement). Jensen Phelan Law Firm makes sure that your rights are protected, all your damages are proven and that you’re not taken advantage of by insurance adjusters and their tactics.

Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Car Accident Claims?

In Arizona, a PE condition may relate to your car accident damages claim one of these ways:

  • The trauma of the collision did not affect any PE condition (there is no new PE Condition involvement or aggravation). This can still be disputed, requiring medical opinion(s).
  • The trauma caused a new injury unrelated to the PE condition. Again, this can and often is disputed, as the recovery can be reduced by claiming that some or all of the claimed harm and damages were already there before the trauma of the auto collision.
  • The PE condition was made worse or aggravated by the accident. This is called “aggravation of the pre-existing condition,” and by law you are entitled to claim the difference between the symptoms of the PE condition before the trauma compared to the worse or aggravated symptoms resulting from the auto crash trauma. This requires a medical allocation opinion, discussed below.

The allocation between the two, the before and after the trauma medical symptoms and injury comparison, is an evaluation which needs to be done by a fully qualified medical expert. Many medical providers do not wish to give such an opinion for fear of becoming involved in a dispute that could require testimony in a deposition or even at trial. An experienced and knowledgeable injury attorney can be very helpful, if not vital, in helping you obtain a highly qualified medical expert and get proof of the facts of a medical allocation of this type, which may involve more than one area of injury. 

Car accident insurance compensation is designed to cover the costs of medical treatment and other damages resulting from the accident, including PE conditions that are aggravated.

A pre-existing condition is any type of injury or illness that a person sustained in the past that could have been aggravated by a current situation. Common examples of pre-existing injuries or illnesses include the following:

  • Previous back injuries
  • Previous or ongoing joint conditions
  • Previous or ongoing respiratory illnesses
  • Cardiovascular diseases or illnesses

If your pre-existing condition was worsened or aggravated by the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for the increased medical costs and other damages caused by the accident. 

How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Car Accident Claims?

In theory, if your pre-existing condition was not affected by the accident, it should not be relevant to your claim. However, insurance companies, like most businesses, often look out for their profits and work to make sure that they aren’t paying out major settlements whenever they can avoid them. As a result, insurance adjusters will look for any reason possible to deny a claim or offer less money than the true worth of a claim. One way they do this is to look for any pre-existing conditions of the person making a claim to blame the symptoms. The argument is that the PE condition symptoms were known before the collision or other trauma, and the only change in them is the degree of complaints by the person seeking to make a recovery, who is motivated to exaggerate the symptoms and claims of harm to get more money. Your honesty and credibility may well be disputed in this situation.

Ultimately, the impact of a pre-existing condition on your car accident claim will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It is recommended that you consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who can assess your situation and provide guidance on how to proceed while “building the case” with evidence and law to support your injury claims.

You should always disclose any pre-existing conditions to your attorney and to the insurance company when making a claim. Failure to do so could be considered fraud and could potentially result in the denial of your claim or other legal consequences. At best, failure to honestly disclose the PE condition will likely undermine your credibility and with it reduce your recovery.

Contacted a Skilled and Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

Arizona’s personal injury laws are complex, and claims can sometimes be challenging to navigate. Unfortunately, one misinterpretation or missed detail can result in an insurance company denying your claim. Insurance companies always look for a way to limit their payouts. Fortunately, our experienced specialized injury attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm can handle every aspect of your claim and can help prevent you from making any errors that may negatively impact your claim. 

Jensen Phelan Law Firm is committed to helping our clients secure the best possible results. When you retain an attorney from Jensen Phelan Law Firm, you can be confident that your best interests will be at the forefront of every negotiation. Schedule a consultation at (928) 778-2660 or complete our online contact form for a free assessment of your case and explanation of your rights.