One of the most common tactics used by insurance companies to avoid paying out claims is to assert that the injuries sustained by their policyholders are attributable to pre-existing conditions and not to the accident in question. If you are seeking Houston auto accident compensation from one of these companies, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in negotiations with insurance adjusters and to pursue your case in court if it becomes necessary.
Why Pre-Existing Injuries Matter
Under Texas state law, accident victims must first prove that the defendant is responsible for the injuries and losses sustained during the accident. This generally involves three basic principles:
- The defendant must have had a duty toward the victim to drive in accordance with traffic laws or to exercise a certain degree of care in his or her actions.
- The defendant must have failed in that duty by behaving in a negligent or careless fashion.
- Their lack of care must have been the direct cause of the injuries sustained by the victim.
If the insurance adjusters can avoid paying for your Houston auto accident claim by asserting that you were already injured prior to your traffic accident, they can save large sums of money for their companies. It is in the best interests of these company representatives to pay as little compensation as possible for your injuries and losses. By claiming that you were injured prior to the crash, insurance adjusters may be able to reduce the amount their company owes you in settlement funds or compensation.
The Eggshell Principle
One factor that may weigh in your favor during your Houston auto accident lawsuit is the “thin skull” rule. This oddly named legal principle states essentially that plaintiffs cannot be penalized for being injured or in a weakened state prior to the accident. If the forces at play in the automobile accident aggravated injuries already sustained by the plaintiff or caused complications related to those injuries, the defendant is still responsible for the increase in injuries and the medical expenses incurred because of his or her actions.
Full Disclosure Is Required
If you decide to pursue legal action to recover medical expenses and damages from the other drive, you will be required to disclose your medical records to your own attorney and to the opposing legal team. Old football injuries, previous accidents, broken bones and other medical issues may be used as evidence that your current injuries are the result of pre-existing conditions and not directly caused by the accident. Retaining the services of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can even the playing field for your compensation claim and can prevent insurance adjusters from succeeding in these unfair negotiation tactics.
Evidence Is the Key to Success
By collecting ample evidence that the accident was responsible for your injuries, your legal team can ensure the most positive outcome for your insurance negotiations or courtroom proceedings. Toward that end, you may be asked to consult with medical professionals and to discuss your case with expert witnesses who can testify regarding the likely cause of your injuries and the extent to which the accident caused or exacerbated these medical issues. Your attorneys will work with you to ensure that you receive the largest settlement possible for your accident claims.
By retaining the services of a Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can enjoy greater peace of mind during the aftermath of a serious traffic accident in Houston.