Whenever you make a personal injury claim, you can expect many questions from the legal team or insurance company representing the negligent party. They’ll try to poke holes in your claim by reviewing your medical records, transactions, and any other documents that show your injuries. Unfortunately, if you have a pre-existing condition of any kind, the opposing counsel will find out – and try to use it against you.
That’s why it’s crucial to disclose all your pre-existing injuries and medical conditions to your lawyer first during a lawsuit. You’ll also need to have a personal injury attorney who can actually make the case for fair compensation. Without skilled counsel, you could find yourself receiving a significantly lower payout or no money at all, even if you desperately need it for medical bills.
THE “EGGSHELL PLAINTIFF” DOCTRINE
In New York, the “eggshell plaintiff” doctrine can be used by the opposing side to discredit your claim. Once you’ve disclosed that you see a chiropractor for chronic back pain, for example, the other side can argue that you are inherently predisposed to back injuries. Consequently, their client should be considered less liable for your new spinal cord injury.
While it’s true that you may be more vulnerable with a pre-existing condition, you could still be entitled to major compensation. In the example above, a serious spinal cord injury can confine you to a wheelchair for years, even decades. That kind of life-shattering change simply doesn’t compare to the more manageable pain of a chronic backache, and when your injury was caused by negligence, the other party can still be held accountable for causing that change.
STANDING YOUR GROUND AGAINST NEGLIGENCE
To get a positive outcome for your personal injury case, it’s essential that you find the right lawyer, and then arm them with all the details of your prior medical conditions. Difficult as it may be, you will need to be completely transparent about your medical history so that your counsel can make the best argument on your behalf.
Here are some of the things you should share right off the bat:
- Last time you required treatment for the condition
- The circumstances of your previous accident/illness
- Length of time treating the injury/illness
- Length of time spent away from work
- Names & dates for medical treatment
- Types of medical treatment
- Any MRIs on the record
- Any surgeries on the record
At King Law, our Rochester personal injury lawyer understands how hard this time can be. From dredging up painful memories to scrutinizing your medical records, you may feel discouraged about bringing a lawsuit when you have a pre-existing condition. But when you work with us, our experienced legal team will handle these difficulties on your behalf, and give you the aggressive, powerful advocacy you need, whether in negotiations or at trial.
Contact us at (585) 270-8882 to set up a free consultation with Attorney Robert King. Find out how we can help you today!