I’ve had a back condition for years before my accident. Do I still have a Claim?
An accident can happen to anyone, regardless of health. There is often confusion about whether a person who already has neck, back or other issues can obtain full compensation for an injury.
Sometimes an insurance adjuster will ask about prior medical history to try to learn about pre-existing conditions. Usually, the motivation is to make a reduced offer based on an assumption that the accident did not cause the claimant’s current symptoms.
In Iowa, a claimant who had a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by an accident is entitled to recover damages caused by the aggravation. He or she is not entitled to recover for conditions not caused by the accident.
If the claimant had a condition making him or her more susceptible to injury than a person in normal health, then he or she is entitled to damages caused by the accident even though the injuries claimed produce a greater injury than those which might have been experienced by a person in normal health under the same circumstances.
A person who has been injured in an accident should be wary about his or her claim being “discounted” simply because of prior medical issues. A well- informed analysis of how past medical history may affect a claim for damages is crucial before accepting any settlement from an insurance company.