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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

How Will My Preexisting Condition Affect My Personal Injury Case?

March 26, 2020 in

We are frequently asked how preexisting conditions will impact our clients’ personal injury cases. Unfortunately, many injury victims with preexisting conditions do not make personal injury claims because they think that having prior health issues invalidates their claim. 

If you have a preexisting condition, do not let that discourage you from speaking with a personal injury attorney. Under New York law, you are not entitled to recover compensation for health issues that you experienced before an accident. Still, you may recover compensation for new or exacerbated injuries caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct. 

What Is A Preexisting Condition?

A preexisting condition is any type of injury, disease, or illness that you suffered prior to the accident. Preexisting conditions include earlier health issues from which you recovered and those that you were suffering from at the time of the accident. Common preexisting conditions include neck pain, back pain, depression, heart conditions, high blood pressure, and degenerative disc disease. 

Preexisting Conditions And Insurance Companies

Insurance companies do everything possible to lower the value of the claims they have to pay. A common defense tactic is to exploit plaintiffs’ prior health problems. Insurance companies will argue that your injuries were not a result of the accident because you suffered health issues before you were involved in the accident. A good personal injury attorney will be familiar with this tactic and will help you set forth evidence to refute the insurance company’s preexisting condition argument.

Disclosing Your Preexisting Condition

When you meet with your New York City personal injury attorney, it is imperative that you are forthcoming about any and all preexisting conditions and how those conditions previously impacted your life. Most people do not have a perfect health history, and it is not a requirement that you were free from all health problems before the accident to collect compensation. If the insurance company discovers a preexisting health condition that you failed to disclose, the defense will argue that not only were you already injured before the accident but also that you were dishonest about it. 

Personal Injury Compensation And Your Health History

Defendants always review the plaintiffs’ health histories in personal injury cases to look for evidence of prior health problems that may help their defense on causation and damages. As previously mentioned, if you have suffered injuries due to someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for prior injuries that were exacerbated by the accident as well as for new injuries. Depending on the facts of your case and the injuries sustained, you might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. 

Establishing The Extent Of Your Preexisting Condition Before The Accident

It will be important to establish the extent and severity of your preexisting condition before you sustained injuries in the subject accident. Your attorney will gather the necessary evidence, such as medical records and doctor’s reports, to show that the accident caused additional injuries or exacerbated your prior health problems.

Preexisting conditions are nothing new, and New York courts have addressed this issue many times. Insurance companies always make the same argument that preexisting conditions eliminate or diminish the defendant’s liability for the plaintiff’s injuries, but that argument is contrary to well established New York law. A preexisting condition should not stop you from making a personal injury claim for your new or exacerbated injuries. 

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