It’s a simple but serious mistake that often happens in Pittsburgh personal injury cases: the accident victim neglects to disclose any prior injuries that happened before the accident in question. This can result in a more difficult case, loss of credibility, and a possible decrease in the amount of compensation you’ll be able to claim for your injuries.
Even if your prior injuries are completely healed, if it’s discovered that you had prior injuries and you didn’t disclose them, you could be in serious trouble. Keep reading to understand how to avoid this mistake, and how to successfully claim the full compensation you deserve!
Why Does Hiding a Prior Injury Make You Less Credible?
Remember that no matter how serious your injuries, or what kind of accident you were involved in, insurance companies will always try to give as low a payout as possible. They will try to use any information they find as a reason that you should receive less money. Failing to disclose prior injuries or accidents could be interpreted by the opposing party as an attempt to hold them accountable for a previous injury not caused by the accident in question. Hiding information – whether you do it intentionally or not – is often seen as an indicator that there was something you wished to keep hidden. If not properly disclosed, medical records can definitely be used against you, says AllLaw.
Why Being Honest Helps in the Long Run
When you’re in any kind of accident, a medical evaluation should always be your priority, reminds USAttorneys. When you have this evaluation, you can inform your doctor about any previous injuries and ask if the current accident injuries are in any way aggravated by those previous injuries. An experienced medical professional can help you understand any correlation or non-correlation between injuries and make detailed notes about your condition. If your previous injury has nothing to do with the pain you may be feeling with your most recent injury, your medical team will note this in your medical records, doing no harm to your current case. These notes can later be presented in your personal injury case. If your prior injuries do not connect to your current injuries, you’ll have a respected medical professional’s opinion backing this up.
But what if your doctor says that the current injuries were made worse due to prior injuries? Then the doctor can still explain how the newest injuries have negative consequences on their own, consequences that you wouldn’t be suffering from without the additional recent accident. Just because prior accidents aggravate your current injuries doesn’t mean you won’t be able to still claim full recovery with the help of an attorney.
When and How to Disclose Prior Injury Information
Remember that while you need to be honest about prior injuries, how you disclose the information can make or break or your case. When you file for compensation, the insurance adjuster will ask for a recorded statement. You have the right to talk to a personal injury attorney before you present the statement to the insurance company, and it’s in your best possible interest to utilize this right. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you craft your statement so that you are not withholding information in a way that could jeopardize your credibility, but that you also aren’t hurting your case by wording something in a way that the other party could use against you. Tell your personal injury attorney about any previous injuries or accidents and share the notes and opinions from your doctor.
Be Careful of Insurance Traps
Do not share medical release forms or medical bills with your insurance adjuster without the green light from your personal injury attorney. Often, insurance adjusters will ask for medical release forms and medical bills with the indication that it will help you get paid faster. But don’t fall for this. Often, the insurance company is trying to get information that they can twist and use against you to avoid having to pay the full settlement you’re entitled to.
Avoid Simple Mistakes!
Did you forget to mention or otherwise neglect to disclose prior injuries during your current claim for personal injury compensation? Get a qualified personal injury attorney’s help today before you lose your chance at compensation!
Even with no perceived “dark secrets” of past injuries, winning a personal injury case is still difficult. But thankfully, you don’t have to face this challenge alone! There’s a personal injury law firm dedicated to you and your case in Pittsburgh, PA. Set up a free case evaluation by calling (412) 918-1241 or sending us a message online.
Scanlon & Wajton, Attorneys at Law
The Mitchell Building
304 Ross Street, Suite 510
Pittsburgh, PA, 15219
Phone: (412) 918-1241