What Are Pre-Existing Conditions in Personal Injury Cases in Florida?
So Alex, can you let them know what is a preexisting condition in the context of a car accident or some injury related to another person’s negligence?
A: Yes. It’s an injury that was preexisting prior to the crash. Meaning that you had it before you got into the car accident.
A lot of people are concerned that if they have some preexisting condition or a preexisting injury that it may affect their claim so they feel they should hide that information from the doctors that are treating them for their injuries from that accident.
Why is it important to report all your injuries to the doctor that is treating you?
A: For several reasons. First, full disclosure is always the best. When we have all the facts and we know everything that’s going on, we can help you better. But more importantly, that is something in the law called “Aggravation of Injury.” This means that just because you had something preexisting doesn’t mean that the accident didn’t aggravate that injury so it’s important for us as attorneys and for your doctors to know about your prior injuries so they can properly document them.
So that’s two really important things: One being that you let your lawyers know about those prior injuries so that we can prepare for them and then two, is letting your doctors know about your preexisting condition as well. This is imperative because what insurance companies and defendants will do when you bring a claim against the other driver or the other person who caused your injuries, if you don’t report prior injuries to your doctors, they’re going to make it out like you were lying or hiding something. So, it’s really important to let the doctors know all your preexisting issues and let your lawyers know about them so that we can prepare for it and your doctors can provide the right type of treatment for you.
What else do you think is important as far as preexisting conditions and that full disclosure?
A: So it’s important to know your own body. For example, just because you had something preexisting doesn’t mean it was causing you pain before. That is why it is important to document how the accident aggravated that pain, how it made it worse, and what you could do before, even with that injury that maybe you aren’t able to do now. You need to talk to your doctor about all of this and the best thing to do is to pay attention to your own body, and every time you go to the doctor, let them know what’s going on with you.
That was a really important point. If you’re in an accident and you’re going to bring a claim against someone else and you’re seeing the doctor, let’s just say your neck got hurt in that accident and five years before you injured your neck due to something completely unrelated. You should still let the doctor know about how your neck was feeling leading up to the accident. Because although you may have injured your neck five years ago, got treatment, and felt better up to the date of the accident. It’s imperative that you let the doctor know that you had improved, really give them all the information so that they can document that yes, you had a prior neck injury, but you were doing great leading up to the accident and that this accident has completely changed how you feel and has injured you worse.