Injuries obtained from prior accidents
If you have had a prior accident, be it a prior construction accident in which you had a New York City lawyer, and subsequently a trip and fall in the Bronx or from an automobile accident in Brooklyn – if this is of the same region of your present injury (meaning body part), then this information is discoverable and all this documentation will be exchanged in your new accident case.
For example, let’s say you had previously had a NYC worker’s compensation case from a slip and fall at work or a trip and fall on the job for which you got a lawyer. In this case you injured your hip and in fact suffered a fracture. If you reinjure your hip in an auto accident or even a medical malpractice surgery, then all this prior treatment, information, and even award or settlement is discoverable in your new case.
If you previously suffered a traumatic brain injury in your first accident and a severe concussion in a second unfortunate accident then all the prior records will likely come in as it is related to the present accident injury.
All your prior communications with your attorney are not discoverable
This is considered privileged attorney client communications, so unless you are the one to talk about it, no one will know what you and your attorney discussed. Neither will they be able to get those confidential portions of his file.
However, all the prior medicals, all the prior depositions that were conducted, all the prior IME (stands for independent medical examinations), will come into evidence. If you regularly read my blog you will understand that an IME is conducted by doctors who are hired by the insurance company who covers the person you sued.
There is nothing actually independent about this IME
There is no treatment relationship, and they are paid by the insurance company. This is why it is always good to get a treating doctor to represent you as your expert. The problem with this is often doctors who treat do not want to appear as witnesses in Court; and if they do, the price they charge is often very expensive.
But sometimes they will appear, so it never hurts to ask your treating doctor if they would be willing to appear at trial for your case. You may find that it was a good doctor patient communication, as they know you best, or know the surgery they may have performed on you to repair your body from the accident you had.
So what is the point of all this?
If you reinjure yourself from an accident that is no fault of your own, or even one where you may have a degree of comparative negligence, there is a pattern jury instruction for an exacerbation of a prior injury. And if you suffered a new fracture, and never suffered this type of injury before, then exacerbation of a prior injury (particularly one you have completely healed from before your accident), then this PJI (pattern jury instruction may not apply), it is up to a judge to decide and then for a jury to hear, and make an ultimate decision.
If you are a victim of a prior injury, contact the office of Personal Injury Attorney Manuel Moses, Esq. 236 West 26th Street Suite 303, New York, New York 10001 (212) 736-2624 x11.
Nothing in this blog is intended to be formal legal advice you are urged to consult a qualified attorney for guidance of your construction accident or personal injury case.