From a practical standpoint, this is a case that I won’t take if I know about it. If someone has information that relates to the lawsuit that they don’t want to disclose, it usually winds up being trouble for everyone on their side.
Because there is something you have to realize:
If the insurance company wants to find out badly enough, it probably will any way. Because they don’t have to give you any money until (1) they want to or (2) a jury makes them.
If the insurance company sees a “gap” in the records provided, it will ask about it. If suit has been filed, the court will make you sign an authorization that lets the insurance company ask your doctor for his records, and let it see whatever it wants.
Here is what I do; if I think prior treatment records will be a factor, I get as many prior treatment records as I can before I even ask the insurance company for any money. I read the records, and try to anticipate whether most jurors will think the prior treatment relates to the injuries that my client wants compensation for.
And if it’s pretty clear that there’s no relationship, I supply certified copies of the records to the other side, as soon as possible.
But if the records show that the injury might have started before the accident, I talk with my client about it, and we decide together what to do next together. If there’s going to be a lawsuit, the insurance company is going to see every document it wants to see, and it’s stupid – not to mention dishonest and impractical – to play “hide and seek.”
How do I know if the other insurance company will be curious about prior treatment? If it’s obvious that the injury resulted from the accident –like death, paralysis, or immediate surgery – it may get a “pass” from the other insurance company.
The insurance company will want to look at prior records before they decide whether to give credit for most other injuries – especially neck, back, and most joint injuries.
And finally, if the insurance company asks for something, you give it to them. Because if they don’t know enough to satisfy them, they don’t pay.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I won’t take a case if I know going in my client wants me to fool someone. If you’ve been injured in an accident, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.