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Injured in an accident? You have to disclose ALL your past medical problems!

Posted by Guy DiMartino | Jun 06, 2013 | 0 Comments

You must disclose all medical issues if you're injured in a Florida accident

I have discussed the issue of credibility and disclosure before.  I continue to bring it up on this blog because this problem continues in court cases and is talked about in the appellate courts.

The Story

Here is the story in the reported case, which has a common thread to a number of cases that I have handled.  A woman was injured in an accident and her main continuing problem was headaches.  The case was not able to be settled so her lawyer filed a lawsuit on her behalf seeking compensation for her injuries. During the discovery process, the insurance defense lawyer took her deposition and retrieved her medical records.

At her deposition two years after the accident, the woman testified:

     Q. Have you ever suffered from headaches before this accident?      A. No, ma'am.

The same month, the was examined by a neurologist, whose report contained the following:

     CHIEF COMPLAINTS: 1. Headache; 2. Neck pain; 3. Low back pain

     HISTORY OF PRESENT ILLNESS: The patient relates prior to [the date of the accident] she did not have these problems.

During the discovery process, the insurance defense lawyer came upon a medical record that was from 2 ½ years before the accident where the woman said she had frequent headaches.

Based on the woman's deposition testimony and the past medical record, the insurance defense lawyer filed a motion to dismiss for fraud on the court.  The trial court dismissed the woman's case finding that she committed “fraud on the court.  The woman's lawyer had to appeal the matter and the appellate court ended up reversing the order of dismissal and the case is now pending.

Lessons to be Learned

In this case, even though the case was eventually reinstated the injured person had to go through a year or 18 month delay in her case forward.  Her lawyer had to spend a lot of money, which will come out the woman's pocket if there is any recovery, to appeal the matter.  But more importantly, the value of the case has been significantly diminished and the insurance company will most likely require the case to go to trial because the woman is not going to be able to get past that medical record written 2 ½ years before the accident.

The woman stated that she believed her problem at that time was sinuses causing the headaches, which was different from the headaches she received in the accident. Whether true or not is not the issue, the issue is that it appears on the record that the woman was trying to hide this information, and this is going to impact her credibility before a jury.

In personal injury cases, credibility is the only thing that matters and once a personal injury client's credibility is impugned, their case is sunk.

If you have any questions about a Leesburg Florida accident case, you can always give me a call at (352) 267-9168.

About the Author

Guy DiMartino

I have loved helping people in need for almost three decades.  It has been my privilege to serve people as their pastor, chiropractor, and lawyer.  The current focus of my legal practice and life’s passion is helping the seriously injured receive complete compensation for their injuries. I am a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. What that really means is that I am no stranger to the courtroom.  I have successfully tried and handled serious cases in state and federal courts.  My backgrounds in both law and chiropractic medicine have given me a unique perspective, extensive knowledge, and wide experience to serve those I represent. For years as a chiropractic physician, I treated my patients to alleviate their pain and suffering. Now as their lawyer, I fight to bring them financial compensation for their pain and suffering. During my years of service, I have handled many traumatic injury cases ranging from the traumatic amputation of a limb to brain and spinal cord injury.  I consider it an honor to serve you and your family. When a person entrusts me and I accept to represent them, I don’t take that relationship and responsibility lightly. My approach is that we work as a team. We are partners and our goal is the best outcome for you and your family with the highest level of communication throughout. I am always available by phone or email to discuss my potential representation of your injury case. I handle cases throughout Florida. Education: National University of Health Sciences – BS (1984), DC (1986) Valparaiso University School of Law – JD, summa cum laude (1999) Bar Admissions: Florida (2000), Indiana (1999), Illinois (2000, expired); US District Courts of Appeals (11th Circuit, 7th Circuit); United States District Courts: Southern and Middle Districts of Florida; Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; Northern and Central Districts of Illinois; and District of Colorado. Certification:  Civil Trial, Florida Bar Guy DiMartino on Google+ – Circle Guy on Google+ Guy DiMartino on Google+

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