Communication is Key
Perhaps most importantly, communicate! With everyone! Your medical providers must know what prior symptoms you’ve had. For example, if you’ve had lower back pain previously but you’ve been symptom-free for years, tell your doctor! Its imperative to make it clear to your doctor, nurse, chiropractor, or medical provider that that the back pain caused by the accident is the first back pain you have had since then, and that it started immediately after the accident. Communicating to your medical providers will only help your case.
History of Treatment
There are situations where clients are actively treating for low back pain and a collision occurs. Or situations where clients have treated with doctors for years and they are injured. Again, you must make clear to your treating medical providers the extent the pain is different or more intense. For example, your low back may have been hurt before, but now it hurts 10 times worse. And you have pain radiating into your legs. You must tell your medical provider specifically where the pain is, and the intensity of it. If you are not specific, it will be very difficult to explain your pain levels to the insurance company.
Honesty is the Best Policy
This should go without saying, but you must be completely honest with your attorney about your medical history! If your attorney knows about pre-existing health issues relevant to your claims, he or she will be in a better position to explain to the insurance company (and ultimately the jury) how your injuries from the accident are different from what you experienced in the past.
Trust your Attorney
Because you told your lawyer about your complete medical history, he or she can ensure that all court documents properly disclose that history. You must also testify truthfully about the same history when you give a deposition. By doing these things, the insurance company may be aware of your history, but it won’t be able to call into question your credibility at trial. Losing credibility at trial is an absolute death blow to an injury case. If a jury thinks a person making the claim for damages is hiding something, or has lied about a prior problem, the jury will punish the person by returning a low verdict. If you are up-front about your medical history with your attorney this is very unlikely to happen.