FAQ: Pre-Existing Injuries in Pittsburgh, PA
Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-Existing Conditions and Injuries in Western Pennsylvania
Legally, a “pre-existing condition” is an illness or injury that happened before an injury that is the subject of an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Having a pre-existing injury can affect the amount of money paid out by an insurance company or awarded in a lawsuit. In particular, insurance companies are quick to assert that any injury or damage was due to the pre-existing condition rather than the accident that is the subject of a claim.
If there is any chance at all that your insurance claim could be derailed because of a pre-existing condition, you need a personal injury attorney. At the Pittsburgh law firm of Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our Western Pennsylvania attorneys help clients with pre-existing conditions obtain the greatest compensation possible after an accident. Call today or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers.
When working with personal injury clients, our attorneys strive to answer questions and provide honest assessments of the potential for success. Some of the most frequent questions about pre-existing conditions are listed below.
Q. What are some common pre-existing conditions?
A. Common pre-existing conditions include those stemming from a previous accident, birth injuries, injuries that did not heal properly after the first accident, and medical conditions related to stress. These could be conditions such as asthma, birth defects, neck pain, back pain, joint injuries, and seizures.
Q. What happens when I file a claim after an accident if I have a pre-existing condition?
A. The biggest consequence of filing a claim with a pre-existing condition is that any award or settlement could be reduced.
Q. Why is the reduction of a personal injury award not always right?
A. Reducing the award or benefit is very convenient for the insurance company, so they dig deep to find evidence of pre-existing conditions. To do this, insurers often state that the entirety of the injury was the result of the pre-existing condition and that nothing has changed because of the more recent accident.
Q. How can I argue against the insurer’s contention that my problems are the result of a pre-existing condition?
A. The best way to fight an insurance company that claims your pre-existing condition makes you ineligible for compensation is to have a thorough physical exam by a medical expert or specialist who can testify to whether your pre-existing condition was affected by the more recent accident.
Q. Do I need to have a lawyer for a claim involving a pre-existing condition?
A. Almost all personal injury claims in Pennsylvania can be complicated. Those involving pre-existing conditions are even more challenging. It is easy for the insurance company to claim that the damage was the result of the pre-existing condition – they are hoping that you will just give up when confronted with their assertion. This saves them money.
That is why you need an attorney who understands how to deal with insurance companies and who can advise you about how a pre-existing condition can affect your claim. Even when you have a pre-existing condition, an attorney can often make the case that the accident or injury made your pre-existing condition worse or exacerbated it. Another argument that can potentially help your claim is that the worsening of your condition caused mental health problems. Our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers will advise you about the best way to pursue your claim when it is complicated by a pre-existing condition.