There is on occasion a misconception that if you suffer from a pre-existing condition, which is aggravated in an accident, that you are unable to pursue a claim for damages. Irrespective of what type of injury you sustain, and in what circumstances, you are required to disclose whether you have sustained any previous injuries and conditions. This requirement to disclose your medical history can cause anxiety and uncertainty. There can be embarrassment surrounding a past medical history and anxiety that disclosing an old injury will preclude or adversely affect a claim. Whilst the previous condition will affect the claim, it does not preclude the bringing of such claim.
In any claim for damages for personal injuries, the only way a pre-existing condition can become truly problematic is if it is concealed. Discovery later will affect the injured party’s credibility. Therefore, it is critical to be honest and candid with your treatment providers and your solicitor as a pre-existing injury on its own will not be an impediment to recovering damages.
Damages are calculated by considering your history and the impact the new injury will have on your future earning capacity. If you were able to work before the accident, notwithstanding a prior back injury, and after the accident you are no longer able to work for as long or as much, you will be entitled to compensation for the difference between your pre- and post-accident income.
Very few of us are lucky enough to start with or remain in perfect health. It follows that our previous conditions and/or injuries should not preclude making a claim for damages for personal injuries arising out of an accident.
Honesty and full disclosure are always the best policies.