Were you injured in an accident near Boise, Idaho? Naturally, you want to claim compensation for your injuries! You have every right to pursue a personal injury claim under Idaho state law. However, don’t make a mistake that many accident victims make. Don’t neglect to disclose your medical history.
Why? Because hiding prior injuries (whether you do it intentionally or unintentionally) can severely hurt your case.
In summary, hiding prior injuries can damage your case by:
- Hurting your credibility
- Creating new challenges and roadblocks in the legal process
- And possibility reducing the compensation you will receive
Why Does Hiding Medical History Damage Your Credibility?
To put it bluntly, it could make it seem like you are trying to get money you don’t deserve. If you want to successfully claim compensation, you must be seen by the courts and the insurance adjusters as an innocent victim who is entitled to compensation.
Even if you initially fail to disclose your prior injuries but then later disclose them, this could be used as a “mark” against you. Insurance companies will be trying to protect their bottom line. They will use any excuse possible to try to argue that you deserve a lower settlement. Disclosing prior injuries too late in the game could be just the reason they’re looking for.
When it comes to your medical history, honesty will help your case. When you are honest with both your doctor and your attorney, they can help you argue your case more effectively and with more positive results.
What If You Do Have Prior Injuries?
Even if you really were seriously injured in the accident you’re claiming compensation for, you might be nervous that your previous injuries will be used against you. And yes, the other party might try to do just that. For example, let’s say you had pre-existing back problems before the accident, but the accident made these back problems worse. The other party (such as the insurance company or the opposing attorney) could try to argue that your back problems weren’t aggravated by the accident. But this is exactly why you need to be honest about your medical history. If you disclose your pre-existing conditions, your attorney can work with your doctor to prove that while some of your conditions did exist before the accident, the accident made them worse. A doctor can provide documented evidence that the accident aggravated a pre-existing condition and that you deserve compensation for these additional damages.
If you have prior injuries, don’t panic. An experienced personal injury attorney can argue that these conditions would not have worsened without the accident in question.
A Warning On Medical Release Forms
While it’s true that you should disclose prior injuries, the way that you do that should be carefully considered. Often, early on in the claim process, an insurance adjuster will ask you to sign a release for your medical records or ask you to send them your medical records. They might even say that it’s a way for you to get paid faster. But don’t take the bait! Insurance companies use tactics like this to find something they can use against you. You are not obligated to use the form that the insurance company sends you. Depending on your case, you might only need to release certain records. Talk to your attorney about how to disclose your medical history in a way that won’t negatively impact your case. Sometimes you can limit the insurance company’s access to your records.
Never release a medical record or sign a release statement without discussing it first with your attorney. Some release forms will give the insurance company access to information that you are not required to disclose in your case but which the insurance company could use against you to decrease your settlement.
How We Can Help
Whether it was a slip and fall at work or a car crash, serious accidents can turn your life upside down! Don’t let a simple mistake make things even more complicated. Talk to an experienced Boise personal injury attorney about the role your medical history will play in your claim.
Personal injury lawsuits are complicated in general. And things only get more challenging if you throw prior injuries into the mix. The other party will most likely put up a fight, but that’s exactly why we’re here. The legal team at Johnson and Lundgreen is here to help you navigate all the challenges of your Boise, ID personal injury case. We believe in helping each of our clients receive the maximum compensation possible. When life feels chaotic, we are the solid support you can count on! Get started today by calling (208) 376-5256 or sending us a message online.
Law Firm of Johnson and Lundgreen
2541 E. Gala St., Ste. 210
Meridian, ID 83642
Fax: (208) 376-5907