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By Joseph Dell
Managing Partner

When you file a car accident lawsuit, prior lawsuits can have an effect on your case. Although every car accident case is unique, plaintiffs sometimes face hurdles for a second car accident, with defense attorneys attempting to label them “habitual litigants.” In fact, even if a second car accident caused your prior injuries to worsen, defense lawyers will often attempt to use this information to question the legitimacy of your claim. In this article, we discuss the effect that a prior lawsuit can have on your second car accident claim.

How Prior Lawsuits Can Be Used Against You

If you’ve filed a previous car accident lawsuit, the other party in your second lawsuit may attempt to use this against you. For example:

  • The other party may assert that your injury was caused by the prior accident. In other words, the other party may claim that you aren’t entitled to damages for your second car accident since your injury was a result of your initial accident. In pursuit of this argument, the defense may attempt to introduce evidence from your prior lawsuit into your current case.
  • The other party may claim that you have a history of filing personal injury lawsuits just to obtain money. In other words, the other party may attempt to label you a “habitual litigant.” By making this argument, the defense attempts to shift the focus from the accident and your injury to your past accidents and lawsuits.

Using Prior Lawsuits to Your Advantage

Fortunately, prior lawsuits may also sometimes be used to your advantage. For example:

  • Prior car accident lawsuits may provide you with the ability to compare past medical records and tests with current documents. And even if your recent accident resulted in a new injury in addition to your previous injury, your medical records should demonstrate to the court how your recent accident worsened your overall condition.
  • Using your previous records, medical professionals may be able to testify about how your recent car accident affected your condition.

Steps to Take in a Subsequent Lawsuit

If you’ve been involved in a second car accident, it’s important to take the right steps to increase your odds of a successful outcome in your personal injury lawsuit. The first thing you should do is hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in your case. By hiring a qualified attorney, you drastically increase your odds of a successful outcome. Next, you should inform your attorney of all previous lawsuits to which you’ve been a party. This will allow your attorney to examine your previous records and prepare an appropriate and effective legal strategy for your case.

Contact a Long Island Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been involved in a second car accident in New York, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC, are here to help. When you come to us for assistance with your personal injury claim, we will aggressively pursue financial compensation on your behalf. Please contact us to arrange a free and confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

About the Author
Joseph G. Dell, the firm’s Managing Partner, is regarded as one of New York State’s top trial lawyers and a zealous advocate of those injured through the negligence of others. Having founded the firm in 1994 with the singular goal of leveling the playing field for those injured, Mr. Dell has worked tirelessly for his clients since its inception. In addition to meeting with clients on a daily basis and trying cases, Mr. Dell is a frequent lecturer at Law School and Bar Associations on cases of significant importance in the fields of negligence and medical malpractice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact Mr. Dell here.