Dealing with the insurance companies after an automobile accident is daunting enough. The situation is compounded, however, when the victim had pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are quick to deny claims for conditions that you had prior to the accident. These conditions do not necessarily bar your recovery, but they do require a diligent approach. That’s where an auto wreck attorney in Georgia comes in handy.
The first thing to know about a pre-existing condition is that trying to hide it can backfire. The insurance company does have the right to see certain medical records after an accident. If you attempt to hide the fact that you had a pre-existing condition, that almost always hurts your case. So be sure you are upfront with your accident attorney about these conditions. Your lawyer can then determine how best to disclose this information to the insurer.
Insurance companies attempt to use your pre-existing condition against you in at least two ways. The first way is causation. Causation is a necessary element in an automobile accident claim. Put simply, if the other driver did not actually cause your injuries, there is no claim. The insurance company, upon learning you had a pre-existing condition, will argue that their insured driver didn’t cause it. The insurance company may even admit that the other driver caused the accident – just not the injury. After all, you had back problems before the accident, so how can you blame them on the other driver?
Of course, this defense falls apart if the accident aggravated that pre-existing condition. Let’s say you did have moderate back trouble before the wreck. But the accident was so bad that your back pain is now unbearable. That is considered a new injury, and will support the causation element of your claim.
Insurance companies also use pre-existing conditions to deny the victim’s demand for damages. After a car accident, in most cases, damages include medical bills. These further include expenses for hospitalization, prescription drugs, future treatments, and more. If you have a pre-existing condition, however, the insurance company will argue you would have incurred these bills anyway. In other words, the driver is not responsible for expenses you would have even if you weren’t in an accident.
Again, this argument does not work where the driver made your condition worse. If the at-fault driver caused you to incur expenses over and above what you would normally have, they are responsible.
Proving that the other driver worsened your condition will require careful consideration of medical records. These include documentation of your condition prior to and after the accident. You may also need to undergo further tests and examinations from doctors hired by the defense. Although qualified physicians will examine you, remember, these are not your doctors. You should always be careful what you say to them, and consult an experienced accident attorney for guidance.
Handling the insurance companies and their doctors will be a challenging experience. These doctors, along with other medical experts, may be called as witnesses at trial. They could testify about complicated medical matters related to your condition, the accident, and your treatment and recovery. It’s imperative to not take on the insurance companies by yourself. They have experts and attorneys who will fight to protect their bottom line; shouldn’t you?
If You Have Pre-existing Conditions, You Need Experienced Legal Representation
Don’t put yourself at the mercy of the insurance company. And don’t let your aggravated condition go without the compensation you need. If you’ve been in an automobile accident, let your attorney know about all conditions – past and present. Ted A. Greve & Associates has the experience and dedication to fight for your rights. Call us today to schedule your consultation.