Mythbusting pre-existing conditions

The insurance company would have you believe that if you have a pre-existing injury then you can’t get compensation for your personal injury. That’s not true. Even if you have a pre-existing injury, you can still receive compensation.


Let’s look at two basic examples.


Example 1: degenerative spine

If you suffer back pain after your accident, the insurance company might point to an old X-ray or MRI and say that you had “age related degeneration” in your spine even before the accident took place.


It sounds so scientific, it must be true. Except it isn’t. Most people have some age-related degenerative changes in the spine. But if you had no pain before but now you suffer pain, you are entitled to compensation.


Example 2: pre-existing psychological injury

Unfortunately, people sometimes suffer serious depression after an accident, particularly if it has life changing effects. The insurance company might dig up some old report that states you had consulted your GP even prior to your accident and were diagnosed with “anxiety” or “adjustment disorder”.


Again, just because you had a mild psychological condition in the past (which many people have) it doesn’t mean you can’t get compensated for a similar but more serious condition now.


Be honest with your lawyer

Many people suffer from a pre-existing injury or pre-existing medical condition (whether hereditary, sustained in the current or previous workplace, in a motor vehicle accident, or the result of complications from birth). We often represent people with pre-existing conditions. If you are thinking about making a claim and you have a pre-existing injury, do not be concerned as in many cases it probably won’t make any difference!


But it is important to disclose to your lawyer the fact that you have a pre-existing injury or medical condition.


When you start a claim, you have to give a “Notice of Claim” to the insurance company. This notice is a statutory declaration which means you must tell the truth. This notice requires you to state whether you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions. If your pre-existing injury is not disclosed in this notice (because you deliberately did not tell your lawyer about it), the insurance company will say you are dishonest. And they will say that if you didn’t tell the truth about previous injuries, maybe you also aren’t telling the truth about your current injury. For example, about the level of pain which you are really experiencing…


Bottom line: in many cases, a pre-existing injury won’t be a problem. Don’t make it a problem by trying to hide it.


Where to from here

If you would like to discuss the impact your pre-existing injury or medical condition may have on your claim, please contact us on (07) 3063 2268 or email us at to book your FREE  consultation with us.