One of the most important meetings between a personal injury attorney and a client is the initial interview. At this meeting, it is imperative that you disclose any previous injuries to your attorney, no matter how irrelevant they may seem to your current injuries.
The failure to do so will damage your credibility and potentially devalue your claim. Whether you want to tell your lawyer or not, word is going to get out, because any competent insurance defense attorney or claims adjuster with computer access will uncover your prior medical history with minimal effort, giving them an advantage over you and your attorney. This is never a good position to be in.
You need to safeguard your integrity by truthfully answering all your attorney’s questions, including those about your past medical history. If you have a previous injury that may have been reinjured, let your attorney know about your prior problems. Your truthfulness and credibility are the most valuable assets you have in a personal injury lawsuit.
Don’t Let Your Lawyer Be the Last to Know
To increase company profits, insurance companies do their best to limit the amount of damages that they have to pay out in personal injury claims, any way they can. When they do their initial evaluation of your claim, what they’re really looking for is weaknesses in your case.
If they suspect that the nature or severity of your injury was due to a pre-existing medical condition, they will scour your medical history to identify any previous injuries similar to the one you just suffered, and if they can prove that your pre-existing condition contributed to your current injury, the amount of damages you can recover may be decreased.
Past Injuries Demand More Review
If your injuries are similar injuries to those that were sustained in the past, it doesn’t mean that the other party can totally avoid responsibility simply by pointing to your pre-existing medical condition. But you’ll likely have to defend your medical history through a thorough review of your medical records and the assistance of expert medical testimony.
It can be difficult to sort out which injuries are related to the most recent accident and which are due to prior medical conditions, but the burden of proof will be on the defense to prove that your pre-existing medical condition has a causal relationship to your current injuries.
What this means is that it isn’t enough for a personal injury plaintiff to show that someone else is liable for their injuries. All their injuries must be related to the negligent conduct of the defendant, and a court will not award damages to a personal injury claimant unless a causal connection is established between the defendant’s negligent conduct and the harm that you suffered.
Your Colorado personal injury lawyer will find it nearly impossible to value your claim without medical evidence, including records related to a previous injury, so full disclosure is in order. Trying to hide a previous injury from your attorney is a big mistake, and can singlehandedly destroy your case. Although a prior injury will not prevent you from receiving compensation for this injury, withholding information just might.