If you were injured in a car accident, you may have had pre-existing injuries at the time of the crash. Few of us are able to walk through life without physical ailments or injuries. The reality is that many of us may have some pre-existing conditions that play a role in the severity of our injuries resulting from a car accident. Your first inclination may be to attempt to hide these pre-existing injuries, thinking that revealing them may somehow harm your accident claim. The reality, however, is quite the opposite.
4 Things to Know About Pre-Existing Injuries in a Car Accident Claim
Attempting to hide pre-existing injuries after a car accident is almost always a bad idea. Here are four important guiding principles relating to pre-existing injuries and accident claims:
- The insurance company may discover pre-existing injuries if they hire investigators to follow you or conduct other research after the accident. This happens more often than most people realize.
- Pre-existing injuries are likely to be discovered and discussed during the discovery process of a legal claim. Insurance companies and attorneys representing the defendant will usually ask you about any prior accidents and injuries. They may also request to see your medical records.
- Concealing pre-existing injuries usually does more harm than good. If pre-existing injuries are discovered by other parties, this could harm your claim. Insurance companies or attorneys may think that you deliberately concealed this information and can use that information against you to imply that you are exaggerating or fabricating your symptoms. If a judge is involved, you may be subjected to discovery sanctions or precluded from presenting certain evidence if it is later discovered that you tried to hide the pre-existing injuries.
- Don’t forget the eggshell plaintiff rule. Hiding pre-existing injuries may not be beneficial to your claim because the party at fault for your accident must “take you as you are.” This means that even if your injuries are worse than they otherwise would have been because of your pre-existing injuries, the party at fault is still responsible. The only exception is if your injuries would have occurred regardless of whether or not the accident took place.
Injury victims must act quickly when deciding to pursue a legal claim. Waiting too long could mean that you lose the ability to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries and property damage. We encourage you to contact us today at (816) 471-5111 for a consultation.