While personal injury accident victims cannot pursue compensation for pre-existing injuries, they can seek damages if their injury worsens because of an accident. Pursuing legal action for the aggravation of an injury can be exceptionally complex, especially because the at-fault party’s attorney will adamantly try to argue that the worsening of your previous condition is unrelated to the accident.
However, hiring a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your case receives the attention it deserves to help you recover from your economic and emotional losses. It’s critical that your injury isn’t diminished or swept under the rug because the insurance company refuses to pay fair compensation. With a solid personal injury attorney fighting for your claim, you should be able to receive financial reimbursement for the medical bills you paid as a result of your accident.
What else should you know about pursuing a claim after a personal injury accident worsens a previous condition? Read on to find out.
How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
South Carolina laws intend to help personal injury accident victims restore their quality of life to how it was before their accident occurred. This means that if a personal injury accident worsens the quality of your health, causes you new financial turmoil, or forces you to miss work, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
The defendant is responsible for any condition that may worsen due to the accident. So, if you had a pre-existing condition before your accident and it became more complex afterward, the defendant is responsible for any damages incurred.
This principle applies to various situations, including senior citizens who suffer from the effects of nursing home abuse, workers whose pre-existing condition worsens after a work injury accident, patients whose medical condition worsens after medical malpractice, and more.
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When to Disclose Your Pre-Existing Condition
Any prior injuries and chronic or pre-existing conditions should be disclosed to a lawyer immediately. Once the insurance company finds any evidence from your medical records of past conditions, they will likely try to use it as grounds for denying your claim. Denying or trying to hide previous injuries from the insurance company will almost certainly backfire, so whatever you do, be completely honest with them about the nature of the injuries you sustained from the accident.
For instance, if you had a previous lower back injury before your accident and after the accident, you had to begin taking prescription medication for it due to increased pain, you should disclose this detail as soon as possible. It’s entirely likely that your claim will cover the cost of this, but more importantly, it’s crucial for the strength of your overall case to be upfront and honest about the extent of your injuries as they appear.
Workers’ Compensation Laws In South Carolina and Pre-Existing Injuries
Similarly, South Carolina workers’ compensation laws protect workers with pre-existing health conditions from being punished for such injuries. The laws state that workers can recover their benefits if an already present injury is aggravated by a work-related accident.
Even though many workers fear disclosing pre-existing health conditions during the application process, it’s critical to note that the failure to disclose such conditions can result in the inability to receive benefits for an on-the-job incident that exacerbates the injury.
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While it can feel disheartening to navigate the legal process with a prior injury, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is the best step you can take to improve your odds of a full financial recovery. Negotiating with scrupulous insurance companies can feel isolating and frustrating, but an experienced legal professional will ensure you aren’t mistreated and that the aggravation of a prior injury is handled with the utmost care and respect.