I often meet clients who fear that an old accident or pre-existing condition will prevent them from receiving a fair outcome in their personal injury case. Some people may choose not to tell their attorney about the past accident out of concern that the attorney will drop the case once he/she finds out. Other people mistakenly believe that no one will ever uncover an accident from years ago, so there is no reason to tell their lawyer. Please, never become one of those people. South Carolina law - along with your attorney - can protect your right to justice, but your honesty is crucial to achieving a fair result.
You must tell your lawyer all the details and effects of your past accident if you expect high quality representation. My client intake forms have a section on pre-existing conditions and old injuries. Every consultation I provide also includes a discussion of past accidents. Much like doctors, the more an attorney knows about you, the more he/she can help.
Insurance companies spend huge amounts of money on research programs to find out whether you are a “litigious” person. Put differently, they want to know, as do I, whether you have filed injury claims in the past. So long as I know the facts surrounding old accidents, including: what injuries you sustained, what medical treatment you received, and the last time you experienced any symptoms, I will be able to properly assess its effects on your case.
In South Carolina, other drivers and businesses “take you as they find you.” The idea is that you should be compensated for all medical expenses and other losses you incur because of another party’s wrongdoing. Therefore, even if you may be more vulnerable to injury, and even if the same accident would not have caused significant injury to someone with no pre-existing conditions, the at-fault party must pay for every loss you experience because of their negligence.
In sum, tell your attorney about all previous accidents and injuries. Give me the tools I need to fight the insurance company for you. So long as I know the facts, I can work to maximize the strengths of your personal injury case, minimize the weaknesses, and seek the best possible result. To set up a free consultation with me, call my Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800.