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Can a Prior Injury Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

By John Hipskind on February 1, 2016

Moving forward with a personal injury claim while having a preexisting injury can be challenging. Insurance companies are looking for any excuse to deny or devalue a claim. Adjusters like to claim that “new” injuries are just an aggravation of an old injury. But you have the right to compensation for your injuries after being hurt by another driver, whether those injuries are an aggravation of a previous injury, or completely separate. The key is in obtaining the needed evidence…and talking to a good lawyer.

First, if you can’t prove that the other guy was at fault for the accident, you have no claim, no matter how badly you’re injured. State laws vary, but to establish liability on the part of that driver, you have to show:

  • That the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care.
  • That he (or she) breached that duty by acting negligently.
  • That his (or her) actions caused the accident and your resulting injuries.

We recommend presenting strong evidence like your medical records and bills; photos or video of your damaged car, the scene, and your injuries; police reports; and eyewitness statements. However, proving the defendant’s liability is the trickiest part – you might want a lawyer to guide you on that.

How Do You Prove NEW Injuries?

Medical records are the best proof of your injuries, hands down. You’ll need your “old” medical records highlighting any prior injuries, and records from after the accident with your current injuries. Some might overlap in treatment, which is expected with aggravated injuries. If you have a preexisting condition, the best thing to do is see a new medical provider for your new injuries. Then, have the provider write a letter stating which treatment is related to the preexisting injury and which is related to the new accident.

Make Sure You Apply “Full Disclosure”

There is nothing more destructive to your claim than getting blindsided at your deposition. For this reason, it is best to disclose any preexisting injuries to the adjuster right away. If it is a more recent injury, work with an attorney who can help establish that your injuries from the car accident are not associated with your old injuries. Definitely be honest about your preexisting condition with your attorney!

If you or someone you know was injured due to another person or entity’s negligence, please call an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC, for a FREE CONSULTATION at (618) 641-9189 or email us at

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