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Understanding the Eggshell Skull Rule

eggshell-300x292In personal injury cases, there are times where an injured party has had a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by the accident.

As a result, the plaintiff’s injuries are more severe than they would have normally been had the plaintiff not had the pre-existing condition.

For example: suppose someone is rear-ended in a car accident. One week before the crash, the person had neck surgery.

Now, the rear-end collision completely messed up the neck surgery and, not only that, it caused the neck to be in worse condition than it was prior to the surgery.

Understandably, she would suffer significantly more damages than a person who had a perfectly healthy neck prior to the crash.

Does this mean that the at-fault party is responsible for all of her additional damages?

Understandable question, and not uncommon.

Under the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, or eggshell skull rule, yes, the at-fault party would be responsible for the additional damages, even though they were made worse by her prior medical condition and surgery.

Under the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, an at-fault party must take the victim as they find them.

An injured party’s damages are not reduced because he or she is more susceptible to an injury than most people. Essentially, the eggshell plaintiff rule holds the defendant financially responsible for all damages that his or her negligence caused, regardless of the plaintiff’s frail or delicate condition or preexisting injuries.

Even though the eggshell plaintiff rule is well-understood in the Dallas Metroplex area, and throughout the nation, that doesn’t stop insurance companies from trying to claim that a plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the accident – this is a dirty trick played by insurance companies.

If you had a pre-existing injury, don’t let that stop you from filing a personal injury claim. You  have every right to file a claim against the at-fault party.

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