When you've been injured in an accident due to someone else's negligence, it's essential to consider all factors that can affect the value of your personal injury claim.
One often overlooked element is your medical history prior to the accident.
Understanding the importance of your pre-accident medical history can help you strengthen your case and secure the compensation you deserve. In this blog, I'll explain why your medical history matters and provide specific examples to illustrate its significance.
Pre-existing Conditions and Causation
Before the accident, you may have had pre-existing medical conditions or injuries. These prior medical issues can significantly influence your claim. If the accident aggravated or worsened these pre-existing conditions, you are entitled to compensation for that worsening. For example, if you had a pre-existing back injury and a car accident exacerbated it (i.e. made it worse), you should receive compensation for the additional pain and suffering.
But your pre-existing conditions also prove significant because of a legal concept called “causation".
"Causation" refers to the connection between the defendant's negligent actions and your injuries. It is a fundamental element of a personal injury case and serves to establish that the defendant's actions directly led to your harm.
Your medical history will play a vital role in demonstrating that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries. Specifically, medical records can help establish the connection between your pre-accident health and the injuries sustained in the accident.
Alternatively, your pre-existing condition may also work to limit your recoverable damages. For example, if you had a history of multiple back surgeries before an accident, you can claim an exacerbation of your injuries/pain, but you can’t argue that the accident is responsible for all your back pain. Legally, a defendant is only responsible for the damages caused by the accident. Since you already had a bad back before the accident, the Defendant is not responsible for all your back pain. Therefore, the condition of your back must be considered both before the accident and after the accident to better understand how much of the pain/injury was caused by the accident.
Your pre-accident medical history can also affect the calculation of your medical expenses. By analyzing your medical records before the accident, it becomes easier to separate the costs incurred for the treatment of new injuries resulting from the accident from those related to pre-existing conditions. This differentiation is essential when pursuing reimbursement for medical expenses. Your pre-accident medical history can also influence the estimation of your future medical needs. If you had ongoing medical treatment for a condition before the accident, the accident may necessitate additional or different treatments. Recognizing this potential impact can help you claim compensation for future medical expenses.
Pain and Suffering
When it comes to calculating non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, understanding your pre-accident medical history is equally important. A detailed medical history helps establish the extent to which the accident has diminished your overall quality of life. For example, if you previously suffered from chronic migraines, the accident's impact on your ability to function and enjoy life should be properly documented.
Contact Our New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Your medical history prior to an accident is an important factor in understanding the value of your personal injury claim. It affects various aspects of your claim, including pre-existing conditions, medical costs, pain and suffering, proving causation, and future medical care needs. Therefore, it's crucial to provide a comprehensive medical history to your attorney, ensuring they can build a strong case on your behalf. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to secure the compensation you deserve for the injuries and suffering caused by the accident.
Our dedicated personal injury team here at The Injury and Disability Law Center is here to help you. Schedule your free initial consultation today by calling our office at 575- 300-4000, starting a chat, or filling out our online form. If you want even more information, feel free to download my free book, Car Accident Cases Made Simple(r), where I discuss this topic and more.