If you’ve been in an auto accident, you may have learned either through insurance adjusters, through your auto accident lawyer, or through independent research that prior medical conditions can have an impact on your personal injury claim in North Carolina. Some insurance adjusters may use the fact that you had a prior medical condition to limit or reduce the amount of money you are awarded. If you are fighting a negligent driver in court, the driver may claim that your injuries were the result of your pre-existing condition and not due to the accident. The good news is that if you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Gastonia, North Carolina, you have the right to collect damages if a prior injury or medical condition was worsened by the accident.
When prior injuries are involved, it is important to speak to your North Carolina auto accident lawyer about any prior medical conditions or injuries you had. Failing to disclose these injuries could potentially hurt your case. Regardless of whether you have new injuries or whether an accident worsened existing injuries, you’ll need to make a strong case that the injuries for which you are seeking compensation occurred during the accident in question. You can prove this using medical records, or even by having your family doctor provide a medical history. For instance, if prior back pain was worsened by a car accident, you doctor may be able to substantiate this aggravation of your injury by providing documentation of the amount of pain medicine and rehabilitation you required before your accident as opposed to after. If you suffered from a traumatic event before your accident, but after your accident developed an additional avoidance of cars and roads and other symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, your psychologist may be able to provide reports about how your mental health status has changed as a result of your accident. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, risk factors for PTSD include having already survived traumas or other dangerous circumstances. Stress can also exacerbate PTSD symptoms. Trauma itself doesn’t necessarily trigger PTSD. You can have survived trauma, not have PTSD, but then be prone to PTSD—which could be triggered by an auto accident.
The reality is that accidents that result in injuries worsen victims’ health. According to a study published in the journal of Injury Epidemiology, car accident victims had lower quality of life and their health ratings were poorer two months after an auto accident. Even where mild injuries were involved, accident victims experienced more psychological and physical difficulties after a crash. Even if you have suffered from prior injuries or medical conditions, the research suggests that a car accident can aggravate symptoms.
If you’ve been in a car accident in North Carolina, an auto accident attorney like J. Boyce Garland in Gastonia may be able to assist you in gathering the evidence you need to support a claim. It is important that you properly distinguish prior injuries and illnesses from injuries sustained in an accident. A qualified attorney can help.

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