When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it's only natural to want to think about your case from all different angles, including those factors that could potentially affect the claim's outcome. Certain considerations, like a claimant's preexisting health conditions or their personal history of drug abuse, may figure into the trajectory of a personal injury case. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions on this topic.
I Have a Preexisting Medical Condition. How Could That Influence My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
It depends. If your preexisting condition was not affecting you when you sustained your injury, then it may not be a major factor in your case or in how a judge or jury decides to award damages. If your condition almost certainly played a role in how you suffered your injury, then it will be a major factor in how your case is handled and resolved.
What Are Some Examples of These Scenarios?
The above possibilities may be better illustrated through some examples. Say you have chronic depression that you manage effectively with medication, and you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, which results in a personal injury; in this case, there is no obvious link between a preexisting condition and the injury. On the other end of the spectrum, say you suffer from epilepsy, have a seizure while you're driving, and during the seizure, another car hits you and injures you; in this instance, there is a much clearer, stronger link between a preexisting medical condition and your personal injury.
I Have a History of Drug Abuse. How Could That Influence My Personal Injury Claim?
If a drug abuse issue is still something with which you are struggling and a drug test finds illicit substances in your system, you stand the risk of having your entire case thrown out. If your drug abuse history is well in the past, it may not be as much of a factor, but it's still important to understand that a judge or jury may view you less sympathetically even with a long-resolved addiction problem.
Could My Medical History Be Used Against Me in Court?
Possibly. Medical records are often summoned as part of a personal injury lawsuit, and any documented history of preexisting medical conditions and/or drug abuse could play into your case. Opposing counsel could potentially highlight these matters as a way of discrediting you or minimizing the responsibility of their client.
Your best course of action is to enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer. Attorney Alex Evans of Glacier Law Firm has been representing the Kalispell, Montana, area since 2009. Call (406) 552-4343 or visit the firm's website to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer; also be sure to follow them on Facebook to keep updated on relevant news and information.