No reason to keep previous injuries a secret.

There is a misconception out there that previous injuries sink your case. Not true. For example, suppose you suffer a badly injured right knee after a fall in 2006. You had surgery, therapy, and, thankfully after several months of treatment, were pretty much back to normal. Now flash forward to 2011. You are involved in an automobile accident and again, your right knee is badly injured. And the 2011 knee injury is more severe because of the earlier surgery. Does the 2006 injury somehow negate the 2011 claim? No, no and no! Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions[specifically 30.21] tell jurors that they cannot limit an injured person’s recovery simply because a pre-existing injury was aggravated, or a pre-exisiting injury made a person more susceptible to subsequent injury.

Don’t keep the previous injury a secret from your lawyer. First, it handicaps his or her ability to fully evaluate your current injury if you don’t tell him about the previous injury. And you can rest assured the insurance company lawyers will find out about that previous knee injury. They will leave no stone unturned – combing through your medical records, going through their evil little databases, trying to find anything to undermine your case. If you aren’t upfront with those facts, or worse yet, deny the earlier injury or treatment, that behavior will have a negative impact upon how the carrier/defense lawyer evaluates both you as a potential witness, and the value of your case. So don’t fear the pre-existing injury. It doesn’t ruin your case. Just be sure to tell your lawyer about it at the outset so he or she can properly integrate the previous injury into the case.