That’s an excellent question and the answer is “maybe, it depends.” Whether a previous car accident lawsuit will impact your ability to collect for injuries in a later accident will depend on the specific details of the first case. What’s not in question is that you should definitely seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Let’s say you have been injured in a second car accident and want to get compensated for your injuries from the other at-fault driver. The other driver’s insurance company or attorney is going to do everything possible to deny your claim or, failing that, pay you as little as possible. They have many tactics at their disposal to achieve their desired end goal.
It is safe to assume that the opposing side will use your prior accident against you. They will know every detail of your driving history, any previous injuries that you’ve suffered, and the specifics of any lawsuit you filed as a result of the prior accident.
What are some common defensive tactics? The other side may try to argue that the injuries that you are seeking damages for were actually pre-existing injuries that were caused by a prior accident. They may try to minimize the extent of your injuries or argue that you are seeking double recovery for the same damages. A prior accident will be raised in the calculation of any damages, such as the determination of pain and suffering.
In addition, the defense team will painstakingly review your medical records. They may choose to depose your doctors and may even retain a physician to be an expert witness to offer an opinion about the cause of your injuries. All of these actions will attempt to bolster their argument that their insured or client was not at fault for the accident.
A prior lawsuit may be used by the opposing party to question your credibility or cast doubt on your claims by highlighting your involvement in previous accidents. They may argue that you have a history of accidents, which could imply that you are a careless or reckless driver. If you filed a lawsuit after your prior accident, the other side may try to argue that you are litigious and looking to capitalize on the accident.
Regardless of the approach the defense will use against your claim, it is essential to have a skilled attorney representing your interests. They will present evidence to support your claims and refute all of the defense’s arguments. A seasoned attorney will have extensive experience negotiating with defense attorneys, insurance companies, and adjusters and will anticipate their myriad defensive maneuvers.
If you’ve already recovered damages for a car accident but have been involved in another car accident, contact an experienced Chicago car accident attorney for a free case evaluation. They can assess the strength of your case and advise you accordingly.