The great Southern novelist, William Faulkner famously said,”The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” It is pretty clear Faulkner intended this as some statement of transcendent truth and its impact on one’s personal life. But one could apply it to how past history affects the resolution of current disputes.
In the area of personal injury claims, insurance companies or their attorneys will invariably want to know about any prior accidents or wrecks a personal injury claimant may have in their driving history. Courts will generally permit inquiry in to the past record because it is said to bear on a person’s driving abilities and tendencies. But insurance companies want to learn of these past incidents not only to try to establish that a claimant’s – or plaintiff’s – driving capabilities are suspect, but also to identify if the driver in question already sustained any injuries which may resemble the injuries such a claimant alleges is the result of the automobile accident which is the basis of the present case.
Now insurance companies will seek past medical history even where a driver did not have any prior motor vehicle accidents on their record. But they will seek to show that any alleged current injuries actually existed before the accident being litigated. Hence, it is vital that a claimant or plaintiff in these cases be very candid with their legal counsel and apprise them of any past injuries. By doing so, the personal injury attorney can at least try to establish that the new accident re-aggravated the old injury if not prove that the recent accident in fact caused this injury. (It is possible to injure the same knee twice, for example.) Furthermore, it keeps one’s personal injury attorney from being subsequently blindsided.
In many instances, older people of those with extensive medical histories will have reasonable difficulty recalling their full medical history. For this reason, it is critical that, before discussing any aspect of one’s medical history with an insurance adjuster or other representative of the insurance company, a party injured in an automobile accident consult and retain a personal injury attorney to speak on their behalf.
The New Mexico lawyers at Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. represent individuals in personal injury suits in New Mexico. Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Call the office at (505) 633-6298 to set up an appointment or visit the firm’s website at giddenslaw.com for more information.