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How do Pre-Existing Injuries Affect an Aggravated Injury Settlement?

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Preexisting injury impact on a personal injury claim

Accidents are common occurrences in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), a person is hurt every two minutes due to a vehicle crash. Pre-existing injuries are often aggravated in a car accident.

Almost 90,000 people a year are seriously injured in Texas accidents. If you were hurt in an accident, the first thing to do is seek medical treatment.

The negligent driver is responsible for the accident and should pay for the medical expenses that result from the car wreck. But what happens if you had a pre-existing injury or medical condition before the accident? How do pre-existing injuries impact an aggravated injury settlement?

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition or injury is one that you previously experienced. If you have a pre-existing injury, you have already suffered an injury in that particular body area. Although, you may have re-injured or hurt it again due to a car accident.

Just because you have a pre-existing injury, do not assume you will not be compensated for your new injuries. Your condition may have worsened due to the accident. And if the accident reinjured the old injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

Aggravation Injury Settlement of a Pre-existing Injury

A personal injury claim in Texas includes a situation where an existing injury is aggravated or made worse by the auto accident. Just because the accident victim had an old injury does not mean a personal injury attorney near me can’t help.

An aggravated injury settlement can be significant if handled appropriately.

Examples of a Pre-Existing Injury Accident

For example, you may have had a previous neck or back injury that was treated and healed. However, the preexisting medical condition does not prevent future claims.

Later, you were involved in a rear-end collision that caused whiplash. Your injury lawyer may be able to prove that your condition was significantly worsened or aggravated by the accident.

Or you have a history of low back issues but re-injure yourself in a construction accident. In this case, if the accident was the fault of another, and it made your condition worse, you may win compensation.

Fully Disclose Pre-Existing Injuries to Your Injury Lawyer

One of the most important things that any accident victim should do is disclose any previous injuries or conditions to their healthcare provider and your Houston personal injury attorneys. Being upfront about your personal injury is essential to getting a good aggravated injury settlement.

All too often, victims may feel that disclosing a previous injury will not get the money they need to recover. But not telling your lawyer can only hurt your claim. Unfortunately, if your lawyer does not know, matters can worsen.

Most personal injury victims are unaware of the information that insurance companies have access to, such as prior claims, prior accidents, and other injuries to the same area once your medical records are obtained.

When asked, the best thing to do is to tell the treating physician about your prior conditions and injuries. The doctor should note the additional medical damages caused by your accident.

Always tell your Houston personal injury attorney about every prior injury and claim, even if they do not seem to pertain to your current injury.

Be Careful with Over Broad Medical Release Forms

Some adjusters will send you medical release forms to sign so they can obtain medical records. However, the authorization can be overbroad and allow records from the time you were born.

Overbroad medical releases should be rejected as irrelevant. Old injuries from decades ago are too remote, in our opinion. Still, disclose every pre-existing medical condition to your attorney.

We suggest retaining an injury law firm in Houston or a workers’ compensation lawyer to obtain the records from a relevant time frame and send the records to the adjuster.

We suggest not signing a Medical Records Authorization that is overbroad

What is the Eggshell Doctrine in Texas?

The Texas Eggshell Skull Doctrine is also known as the “Thin Skull Rule.” The rule states

that the negligent party must take the injury victim as he or she finds them.

Texas Eggshell Rule for Personal Injury Cases

As the victim, you have the right to be compensated for the injuries due to someone else’s negligence.

As a personal injury victim in Texas, you may be eligible to receive compensation after an auto accident if the pre-existing injury had stabilized before the accident or if there was no indication that the condition would worsen before the accident happened.

In other words, you should be compensated for any additional injuries or the aggravation of existing injuries caused by the negligent party’s actions. A spine injury can have conditions like degenerative discs, and insurance companies like to argue causation.

What to Do if You Had a Prior Injury?

If you were injured in a car or trucking accident, always get needed medical care immediately following the crash. Then, call an experienced personal injury attorney to assist with your claim.

Your case may be more complicated because you have a preexisting injury, but you may still be owed money for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Always document that your old injury had healed or not bothered you before this accident. Sometimes, your doctor can compare tests like MRIs or X-rays and show how this incident enhanced or worsened the old injury.

Note punitive damages are thought of as punishment and not compensation.

Think of it this way: Would you have needed this medical treatment without this accident? Or would the pre-existing medical condition have required this treatment? Personal injury cases can take some time to settle; if you recall something later, always tell your attorney.

What if the Adjuster Claims the Crash Did Not Cause My Injuries?

A common tactic of car accident adjusters is to try to “disallow” legitimate medical expenses. Sometimes, the excuse is that the bills are “unnecessary” or “not related” to injury from the collision.

Not to worry, adjusters use these tactics daily when folks are trying to handle a case without an attorney.

In Texas, the law allows folks to recover compensation from existing conditions that were aggravated or made symptomatic by accident. Often, proof of the aggravation comes from a doctor’s testimony.

If the car wreck caused you to seek medical care that you would not have otherwise needed, you might be able to seek those damages in your personal injury case. Aggravated injury settlements happen all the time when handled by a good injury attorney.

Want to Talk with a Leading Car Wreck Attorney in Houston, TX?

The auto accident attorneys in Houston at Baumgartner Law Firm have been helping Texans injured in auto accidents get maximum compensation for over three decades. Call us at (281) 587-1111 or email a request for consultation on your personal injury claim and any pre-existing medical condition.

Contact our Conroe legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm for a free case consultation by calling (281) 587-1111!

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069

(281) 587-1111

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