Prior Surgeries & Car Accidents

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Do you think your prior surgery will prevent you from making an injury claim following an accident? Think again! The personal injury attorneys at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers recently settled a claim for $100,000 – policy limits – despite our client’s concern that her medical history would influence her financial recovery.
Our client was rear-ended by a driver on I-170 in July. She had had two prior cervical neck surgeries at the time the accident occurred. According to her prior medical records, her most recent fusion did not completely fuse. Naturally, her car accident exacerbated her condition.

How The Insurance Company Handles Medical History

When you file a claim for new injuries that resembles any of your medical history, the insurance company will likely tell you those “new” injuries, if they exist at all, are just an aggravation of your pre-existing injuries.
You don’t have to accept that. You have a right to fair compensation for your injuries, whether they’re an aggravation of previous injuries, or new and separate injuries.

Proof Of New Injuries vs. Prior Injuries

Whether you’ve aggravated previous injuries, or suffered completely new and separate injuries, you need to prove it. The best proof of injuries is in the medical records.
With aggravated injuries, some overlap in treatment is expected. You’ll need your doctor’s help to prove whether your injuries are new, or an aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

Your Doctor’s Narrative

Be sure to tell you doctor about the accident from the start. Let him or her know what kind of pain you felt on impact, any soreness, tingling, or numbness. This Ask Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers video below will help explain what kinds of things your doctor will need to know, and what you can expect from your doctor.
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Whether you like it or not, your doctor’s medical opinion binds you. Her diagnosis and prognosis of your current injuries, as they relate to your prior injuries, is the best evidence you can get. All you can do is hope your doctor concludes your new injuries are separate and distinct from your previous ones.

Full Disclosure

Adjusters are well trained. When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster will want to see your medical records. Although the adjuster doesn’t have a legal right to see those records, if you don’t provide them, she’ll probably just deny your claim.
There’s nothing more destructive to your claim than getting blindsided at your deposition when asked why you conveniently failed to tell the adjuster about your prior injuries. If that happens, your credibility is all but gone, and your claim along with it.
To protect yourself from these insurance games, call an attorney at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers BEFORE calling the insurance company. It’s always free to talk, so we recommend calling us first even if it’s a phone call to your own insurance company.

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