Past Medical Conditions

Q: What effect do my past medical conditions have on my claims from a more recent auto accident?

A: Good Question.  Anyone negligent in an accident is responsible for all damages suffered by the injured party. However, they are not responsible for any past medical conditions that are unrelated to your present complaints.

For example, maybe you had a meniscus tear to your knee 5 years ago, and then in the more recent accident, you reinjured your knee. The opposing party would want to know if you recovered from your prior meniscal tear or were still treating knee problems before the recent article.

The other party might say he will not pay part of your medical bills from the present accident because your knee injury was from the past.

On the other hand, your attorney might argue that you made a complete recovery from your prior injury and that this was a new knee injury. Or, he or she might argue that your knee was more susceptible to re-injury because of the prior accident and that the person negligent in the present accident is entirely responsible for your medical care.

Every case is different, but an experienced attorney will do 2 things:

  1. He will order all past medical records (going back at least 5 years)  that showed injury to the same part of the injured body in the present accident. He will go over these records with his medical experts to find out which were “more probably than not” related to the present accident and which were not.

  2. He will order all of your medical records describing any systemic condition you have had in the past, such as diabetes. The attorney does that because systemic conditions can affect how long.

    Injuries can take to heal. The negligent party is responsible for any complications in healing that resulted from a prior systemic condition you suffered from.

  3. Your attorney will object to any attempt by the insurance attorney to subpoena or otherwise obtain your past medical records that are unrelated to the injuries you suffered from in this accident. He will vigorously protect your right to privacy.
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