How do insurance companies know about my prior injuries and claims?
Mark Twain once said insurance companies are a "power behind the throne that is greater than the throne itself." That power is now in the computer programs and databases that catalog all of the information regarding your prior injuries and prior claims.
Trying to conceal a prior injury or denying a prior injury does not benefit you. The insurance company already knows about it. They are simply asking you as a test of your honesty and credibility. LexisNexis has a product out called "Attract with Claims" which insurance companies access to view your previous claims history. They also use the CLUE list (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) to view your injuries and claims history. And for each prior injury or claim they find, they try to diminish your current claim.
A prior injury or claim does not preclude you from making a claim. Your current claim still has value. Determining the value is not just about the negotiators, it really is up to you.
A person who is negligent or careless is responsible for the damages they cause, but only for the damages that they cause. If you have a prior injury to the same body part, your current injury will be seen as aggravation or exacerbation of the pre-existing injury. It is sometimes difficult for clients to separate out the initial injury which caused you pain (the pre-existing injury) from the current pain in the same part of the body (the aggravation or exacerbation). In other words, the current act of negligence did not cause the initial injury but it did make it worse and it did recreate the pain and physical limitations. The value of aggravation and exacerbation of an old injury is based on the degree to which the old injury has been aggravated or exacerbated. Measuring degrees are a medical determination, therefore, it is important, to be honest with your healthcare professional. Do not conceal prior injuries, discuss your prior injuries in detail. Be certain that your healthcare provider is fully aware of your condition before the current injury and all changes in that condition since the new injury occurred.