Pre-Existing Conditions: The Eggshell Plaintiff
“I had a pre-existing injury before the accident, can I still get compensation for the injuries suffered in this incident?”
When you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, you are entitled to compensation for your damages. Even if you suffer from prior injuries before the accident, the injuries you sustained from the incident are no less important. Pre-existing conditions do not invalidate or negate your injuries from the accident in question.
If you are an accident victim who suffered from pre-existing injuries and claim those previous injuries have worsened as a result of the accident, you are deemed to be an eggshell plaintiff. The eggshell rule, also known as the eggshell skull or thin-skull, is a legal doctrine that states that any individual who causes harm to another cannot use the frailty of the injured victim as a legitimate defense.
This doctrine is applied in accident cases, where the defendant aggravates a plaintiff’s existing condition. In such cases, the victim, or eggshell plaintiff, should be treated as they were unable to prevent what had happened. In short, the doctrine provides a safe haven for the victim’s susceptibility, leaving the defendant responsible regardless of the plaintiff’s health condition.
I’m an Eggshell Plaintiff – Now What?
If you have a pre-existing condition and suffered additional injuries as a result of another party’s negligence, it is important that you immediately consult with an experienced accident attorney to properly handle your case. Eggshell plaintiff cases can be complex. How your attorney handles the claim can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
An experienced accident attorney should:
- Promptly and fully disclose all pre-existing injuries.
- Hire a medical expert to compare past medical records and diagnostic tests with current ones to prepare an objective report determining how the accident worsened pre-existing conditions.
- Use clinical records to compare the degree of pain, extent of necessary care, or disability before and after the accident.
- Argue injuries suffered in the instant accident worsened the pre-existing injuries and made you more susceptible to new injuries.
The “eggshell skull” doctrine is particularly useful if you were injured in a low-impact motor vehicle crash, where a jury may doubt that the accident could have caused your claimed injuries. The doctrine will help prove that you had previous injuries that were worsened in the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent party, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates have achieved over $135 million for their clients so far. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation with one of the attorneys, call 949-727-9300.