Is the insurance company attempting to deny your claims after a car accident? Did they blame your pre-existing condition or because of some injury that you had years and years ago? When the insurer denies liability after a car wreck, it can have drastic consequences for you and your family if you are struggling to work, perform household tasks, or if you are in constant pain. Car accident insurance adjusters handling North Carolina claims often use two primary ways to avoid or minimize their company’s liability: (1) contributory negligence, and (2) pre-existing conditions. Here’s an example of the pre-existing condition defense:
Imagine you are rear-ended at high speed by a pickup truck and your body is whipped around inside the vehicle. A few days after the crash, your lower back begins throbbing. A few days later, you get shooting pains down the front of your leg. You are struggling to work and help your family around the house. You are having trouble sleeping because the pain keeps you awake. You go to a doctor, they treat you with physical therapy and medications. Neither of those is stopping the awful pain, so they take an MRI. The doctor tells you that you have a herniated disc between two of the vertebrae in your lower back. He recommends continued conservative therapy involving epidural steroid injections. The injections wear off after a few days. The doctor now recommends surgery and you reluctantly agree. The doctor surgically repairs the damaged disc level and you return home, at this point out of work for several weeks and with an intense pain recovering from the surgery. You’re also out-of-pocket thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
Now, imagine that two years prior to the crash, you had gone to your primary care doctor complaining of lower back pain from sitting with poor posture or straining your back lifting something a little too heavy. The doctor had given you one prescription for pain medication, and you never had any further appointments. That pain was minor and nagging. Your pain after the crash was searing and disabling, like knives cutting down your leg. You know the difference. Night and day.
Too bad. When you send your medical bills, lost wages, and request for compensation for pain and suffering to the rude insurance adjuster, she tells you that the herniated disc on the MRI after the crash was already there, pre-existing condition are the words she uses. Does she have any medical evidence your herniated disc was pre-existing? Of course not. There is no evidence it was “pre-existing.” But, she doesn’t have to have evidence in the pre-litigation stage of a claim. Her insurance company, whether it’s Allstate, Geico, Progressive, Nationwide, North Carolina Farm Bureau, State Farm, or any other major automobile insurance company, holds the purse strings at this point. They can choose to pay or not pay. If the insurance company uses a baseless pre-existing condition defense, you typically only have one real option for seeking fair compensation – hire an experienced, thorough, trustworthy personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit and move your case toward a jury. Those 12 folks have the ultimate word – not John or Sally the insurance adjuster.
As an example of how these cases frequently develop, we recently achieved a settlement right before trial on behalf of an injured North Carolinian who had years before his automobile wreck complained of minimal right shoulder pain. He worked in construction and, like any blue collar worker, got shoulder pains here and there when he worked too hard. His medical records in the year before the crash did not show any ongoing significant shoulder pain. Any pain he did have was minor. He was subsequently T-Boned in a motor vehicle crash and gripped hard onto the steering wheel. His shoulder was yanked around as a result of the force of the crash. Within a few days, he was completely unable to lift his arm and had lost nearly all strength. He had badly torn his rotator cuff. The insurer claimed his torn rotator cuff was a pre-existing condition. For over three years their only settlement offer was $1,000. After our attorneys took his doctor’s “for trial” video deposition, where the doctor strongly testified the rotator cuff tear was a result of the crash, the case settled for nearly $40,000. This was all of his medical expenses plus $20,000 for his pain and suffering.
The pre-existing condition auto accident attorneys of Maginnis Law in Raleigh regularly assist injured North Carolinians against major automobile insurance companies claiming a pre-existing injury defense, and, unfortunately, we receive calls on an almost weekly basis with folks telling us stories very similar to the one above. The reality is that insurance companies care about one thing – keeping the money they bring in through premiums for their own profit. They do not want to pay claims, whether the claim is valid or not. They force you to give up or fight back, because they know many folks will simply give up.
We will work with your doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals to fight back and expose the insurance company’s lies. When the insurance company hires a doctor who has never examined you but who has testified for that insurance company 100 times, and said the claimant’s injury was pre-existing 100 times, we will work to expose the manipulation of the Court system when he inevitably says your injury was not related to being hit by a car or truck at high speed but was, instead, pre-existing
If an automobile insurer is wrongfully denying your car accident injury claim, schedule a free consultation with Maginnis Law’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard, by calling our Raleigh office at 919.526.0450. You can also visit our contact page or send us an email directly. All consultations and evaluations are offered free of charge and cases can be handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe no attorneys’ fees unless and until we make a recovery on your behalf.