Insurance companies often go to extreme lengths to avoid paying out on a claim, even if the claim is entirely legitimate. They are particularly diligent in coming up with reasons for denial when one of their policyholders is to blame for a car accident.
If you were injured in a car crash and you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer, you might find yourself being accused of seeking damages for an injury you sustained before the accident.
Proving this is not the case will require help from an experienced Albuquerque car accident attorney.
How New Mexico Insurers Justify These Accusations
An insurance adjuster might accuse you of filing for a pre-existing condition if you sustain neck strains or back injuries. That is because these injuries are commonplace and can be caused by a range of incidents, from falls to playing a sport. The adjuster might just be on a fishing expedition, hoping to uncover a history of this kind of injury, or they might have already found evidence of an injury in your medical history.
Either way, our personal injury lawyer says, you will have to present evidence that the injury for which you are currently seeking compensation was, in fact, caused by the car accident in question.
There are some important steps you should take immediately after the accident to protect any future claim you might be making from the kind of scrutiny we are describing.
How to Prove an Injury Is Accident-Related
- See a doctor as soon as possible. If an ambulance was called and you were treated at the scene of the crash, there will be a record of the most obvious injuries. However, it is also important that you go for a follow-up visit as soon after the accident as you are able. If you were not treated at the scene, it is especially important for you to get a complete medical workup to identify any possible injuries. Soft tissue injuries are not easily detected immediately after a crash, so you will need to see a doctor whenever you start to experience neck or back pain.
- Preserve all medical records. Keep notes on your medical visits and all of the tests and imaging that were done at each visit. This will help you locate the medical evidence you may need later on if you are accused of claiming that an old injury was caused by a recent crash.
- Don’t talk to the insurance adjuster. If you are contacted by the insurance company for the at-fault driver, say as little as possible over the phone and never consent to being recorded. Many adjusters try to trick injured claimants into talking about past accidents and revealing old injuries. The less you say, the less they have to manipulate.
- Don’t sign any releases. If an insurance adjuster has full access to your past medical records, they might turn up evidence of a pre-existing injury that they can use against you. The only medical records they need access to are those pertaining to the current accident.
- Call an attorney. If you are getting pushback from an insurance adjuster—or have been offered compensation that is much less than you need to recover—it’s time to call an Albuquerque car wreck attorney for help. As soon as you hire an attorney, they will handle all of these potential problems, freeing you up to focus on recovery.
Even if you did not do all of these things after your crash, it’s not too late to get help from a lawyer. In New Mexico, Keller & Keller is standing by to help.
What If You Really Do Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
While you are generally not entitled to compensation for injuries you had before the crash, there are cases where collisions can make a pre-existing condition worse. For example, if you suffer from chronic back pain and your back is further injured in a crash, you should be compensated for losses caused by the additional harm. A lawyer can advise you and help you get the full compensation to which you are entitled.