The Kansas City personal injury firm of Krause & Kinsman recently published an interesting blog post regarding pre-existing conditions in personal injury matters. The gist of their post is that you must embrace any prior injuries or underlying medical conditions if you're injured in an accident. We all know that the insurance company is going to bring up these issues and try to diminish the value of the claim with this information, but there are many things that can be done to combat the insurance companies tactics.
Pre-existing medical conditions and issues that we have to handle after an Indiana personal injury accident are no different than those in Kansas City. The insurance companies all have the same playbook and bring up the same issues.
Here are a list of considerations that we look at after a Northwest Indiana personal injury:
You take the injured person as you find them
Krause & Kinsman use the term “eggshell plaintiff”, which is a term of art for the concept that if someone causes an injury because of their negligence or carelessness, they take the injured person as they find her on the date of the accident. If the injured person has an underlying medical condition that would make her more susceptible to injury, like humpty dumpty, the careless person or their insurance company cannot use that fact for their benefit.
An insurance adjuster will say that our client should not have sustained such severe injuries because of the minor nature of the accident, but our response is always, TOUGH. Your insured caused the accident and you take our client as she was on the day of the accident.
The law understands that folks had a life before an accident
Indiana law is clear that a careless person who causes an accident cannot escape responsibility because they injured someone with pre-existing issues. The older we get, the higher the chance that we have a past injury or medical problem that makes us more susceptible to future injury. With this understanding, Indiana law allows and injured person to receive money for any aggravation and/or exacerbation of a pre-existing medical condition. To get compensation for an aggravation, you need competent medical testimony, which brings me to the next point.
Be completely honest with your Doctor
When you see your doctor after a Northwest Indiana accident, you have to open and upfront about past injuries, accidents and medical conditions. If the doctor did not treat you before the accident, make sure that you provide her with your past medical records so she understands your baseline and can make a determination of how the accident impacted your condition.
Whatever you do, DO NOT allow the doctor to think that this is the first time that you have had the problem or injury if it isn't true. You and your doctor will lose all credibility, and a jury will ZIP you for trying to hide the issue. This is one of the biggest mistakes made by folks who are making a personal injury claim.
So there you have it, if you are injured in a Northwest Indiana accident and intend to make a personal injury claim, you must embrace any past medical conditions or injuries.
If you have any questions about a Northwest Indiana personal injury matter, Call Guy DiMartino Law at (219) 690.8997.