California Reader Submits Question Regarding Multiple Injury Claims

by Faye Counts, MBA, SCLA

Would a car accident (5/2010) affect a workers comp case (opened 10/2010) affect each other even they are at different dates? What action if any do i need to take? Also, Does Worker comp and P.I claims affect my health history for insurance rates etc? I been told if i were to be in a car accident in the future, the claim might be denied because of existing P.I and W.Comp claims; is this true? Does the insurance company have access to previous claims paid? L.S., State: California.

Hello. We see that you have many questions, and we will try our best to help you with the information you have provided. Please understand that we cannot give legal advice, but we can let you know how the insurance companies will proceed in this sort of circumstance.

1. First of all, the insurance company has the right (as well as the obligation to its policy holder) to gather all information regarding your injury claim so that it can be properly evaluated and the proper settlement offer made. You will be asked if there are any prior or subsequent injuries. If you conceal any other injuries, it will not seem favorable to you. The insurance company has access to a vast array of data bases, and sooner or later both companies will find out about the other claim, as well as any other claims that you have ever filed.

2. A car accident and a workers compensation case could possibly affect each other if the personal injury sustained in both accidents were to the same part of the body. If you injured your neck in the first incident and your back in the second, there would be no overlap of complaints.

However, if you hurt your neck in the first accident and then re-injured it or aggravated it in the work comp claim, then they may have bearing on each other. If both claims are still open, then both insurance companies can ask for the medical treatment records for both injuries (as well as any other prior injuries they have knowledge of). Therefore it is very important to make sure that the doctors who are treating your injuries are clearly documenting your symptoms and the cause.

3. Having a prior injury does not necessarily make your subsequent injury less valid. Imagine if you had a sore thumb; hitting it against something is likely to cause you much more pain than you would have felt if the thumb were perfectly normal. This is something that you can keep in mind when it comes time to discuss settlement.

4. When you ask about insurance rates, do you mean health insurance or automobile insurance? If you mean health insurance, we will need to suggest that you contact your health insurer. If you are asking if your automobile insurance rates would increase because you have been injured, we can tell you that those rates are affected by whether you are a good or poor driver, not by whether you have been so unlucky as to have been injured either through your own fault or that of another driver.

5. Whether any future claims might be affected by your present claims cannot really be foretold. Please refer back to point 2. Do you believe that someone is trying to intimidate you so that you will not pursue a valid injury claim? If so, depending on who that is, you might wish to consult a lawyer.

We hope that we have answered your questions. Please feel free to check back with us, or keep us updated. We sincerely hope that you feel better soon.

This article was approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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