After a car crash, it is easy to assume that every ache, pain, and medical problem is a result of the collision. But sometimes you were hurt before accident. Find out what these “pre-existing conditions” could mean for your no-fault benefits claim.
Hurt Before Accident? It Matters
If you suffered from any pre-existing conditions before your car crash, it could significantly affect your claim for no-fault benefits, and how quickly you get paid. Pre-existing conditions could mean anything from chronic illnesses like diabetes or raised blood pressure, to acute injuries like a broken arm. It could also include ongoing psychological conditions like anxiety or depression. If you were hurt before the accident, make sure to tell your auto accident lawyer, so he or she can prepare for the fight ahead.
Auto Insurers Use Pre-Existing Conditions as a Defense
If you were hurt before accident, you can expect your auto insurance provider to deny at least part of your initial claim for no-fault benefits. Insurers use these pre-existing conditions as a defense to any claim for no-fault benefits. Here’s how it works.
Say you have a bad shoulder because of 15 years of lifting heavy boxes at work. Your doctor has prescribed a pain medication and physical therapy twice a month to make sure you are able to do your job.
Then you are in an auto accident. The seatbelt and the force of the impact wrench your shoulder, causing you severe pain and leaving you unable to work for months while you undergo treatment, including surgery.
You file your auto insurance claim, including a request for compensation for medical expenses and lost wages as a result of your shoulder injury. The auto insurance company reviews your medical history, discovers your pre-existing condition, and issues an insurance claim denial for any benefits relating to your shoulder. You were hurt before accident, so they say they aren’t responsible for that treatment.
Aggravated Injuries Can Receive Benefits Too
Just because you were hurt before the accident doesn’t mean you should be cut off from all benefits. Michigan law allows you to receive no-fault benefits if your pre-existing condition was aggravated as a result of your car crash. Using the above example, here’s how it works.
After you receive your denial letter, your car accident attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Your doctor will be asked to testify about your condition before the accident, your diagnosis and prognosis at that time, and what more was needed to be done after the collision. Your legal team will put together evidence to show that you would not have needed the surgery (at least in the near future) if it hadn’t been for the auto accident.
You are entitled to no-fault benefits for any medical expenses, work loss, and related expenses connected to the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. Don’t take the initial “no” as an answer. Contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.