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Pre-Existing Condition Can Be Used Against You in Court

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A 35-year-old truck driver in Virginia (VA) allegedly suffered a traumatic head injury and soft-tissue spinal injuries after being hit by another truck and propelled into trees. The at-fault driver admitted liability, but the defense attorneys used the victim’s previous head injuries as a child to try and reduce potential damages, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

The victim suffered head injuries as a small child and teenager. The defense argued that the physical and mental difficulties the victim has been dealing with stem from those earlier injuries, not the most recent head injury.

The existence of a pre-existing condition is a common tactic used by defense attorneys to try and reduce damages owed to the victim. They scour through years of medical history to try and find anything that could help get out of responsibility.

The best way to combat this type of defense is to be as up front and detailed as possible with your attorney about your medical history. Provide all medical information as well so your attorney can construct the best argument on your behalf.

The attorneys for the 35-year-old trucker used medical expert testimony to contend the injuries sustained from the truck wreck exacerbated the previous head trauma their client was struggling with. The law in Virginia (VA) generally is that the person hurt in an accident cannot recover for the pre-existing condition, but can recover for any worsening of that condition by the accident in question.

Their argument was compelling enough to produce a $1,250,000 settlement.

Just imagine if the truck driver failed to mention their previous head injuries to the attorneys. It would have severely hindered their chances at successfully litigating the case. Also, if they can, the insurance defense lawyers for the wrong doer will try to insinuate that the plaintiff and his lawyers were hiding past medical history.

Fortunately, the attorneys had time to prepare medical expert testimony to refute the arguments from the insurance defense attorneys, and now the victim has the financial compensation to cover medical expenses and rehabilitation.

So again, if you decide to file a claim for a personal injury, be as forthright as possible with your attorney regarding your medical history. It’s essential for a successful resolution to your potential case.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.

1 Comment

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very good advice about how important it is to be upfront and help with the full evaluation of a persons case.