Does an Old Personal Injury Claim Affect a Current Claim?


Lightening may not strike the same place twice, but accidents and injuries sometimes do. When an individual resolves a personal injury claim and receives a settlement or court award for their damages, they generally hope to never have to suffer serious injuries and a complex accident claim again, but it isn’t uncommon to have more than one accident. Many injury victims wonder about how making a second personal injury claim appears to insurers and juries, and whether or not the original claim will impact their current claim. Does a previous claim have an effect on a current personal injury claim?

previous injury claims and how the affect your current case

How Common is a Second or Third Personal Injury Claim?

Some injury victims worry that making a second personal injury claim for a new injury may give the appearance of taking advantage of the system or that the success of the first claim made them greedy. It might help to know that second, third, and even further injury claims are not uncommon. Many people suffer from more than one car accident, slip-and-fall injury, or other injuries in a lifetime. It’s more common to take on a personal injury claim the second time around because injury victims learn about how the personal injury claim system works to their benefit.

When someone else’s actions or negligence causes you to suffer a serious injury, you shouldn’t be left responsible for damages like medical expenses, lost income, and out-of-pocket expenses. A personal injury claim is the civil court system’s means of providing compensation and financial accountability. The status of an injury victim’s history of other injuries should not impact their current case, but that said—in some circumstances, it might.

When Does a Previous Personal Injury Claim Affect a Current Case?

When one person suffers a fractured leg in a car accident, and then two years later sustains a head injury in a slip-and-fall accident, it’s unlikely that the prior injury case will impact their current case in any way. But what if they suffered a neck injury in the car accident, their neck completely healed, but then they suffered a second neck injury in the slip-and-fall accident? Although it may very well be a coincidence and the second injury has nothing to do with the first injury, it is likely that the insurance company will use evidence of the previous neck injury as a reason to dispute the current claim; particularly if the medical report shows recent medical appointments for neck pain.

How Is a Previous Personal Injury Claim Sometimes Used Against an Injury Victim?

Depending on how an injury victim resolved their first claim, the results could be a matter of public record. Settlements from the insurance company do not become a matter of public record, but if a case requires a lawsuit and goes to court, the entire case is on the record and accessible to insurers. An insurance company may attempt to use previous injury against an injury victim if their previous injury if they can reasonably claim that it’s a pre-existing condition that is the true cause of the injury victim’s current symptoms. When cases go to court, the insurance company isn’t allowed to mention previous injuries but their possession of this knowledge could impact negotiations for a settlement.

In other circumstances, insurance adjusters obtain blanket medical authorization from an injury victim, ostensibly to review the medical record of their current injury, but the blanket authorization allows them to scour the victim’s medical history for previous injuries or pre-existing conditions they can claim as the true cause of the victim’s pain.

A skilled St. Louis personal injury attorney with experience handling second or third personal injury claims for clients helps protect an injury victim’s rights against these and other common insurance company tactics used to lower or deny personal injury claims.