Eggshell Plaintiff and Reaggravated Injury

eggshell plaintiff

Even minor car accidents can cause major damage to the head, neck, back, and other bodily systems. Car accidents can also make a pre-existing injury or condition much worse than it was prior. This may result in even more medical bills, physical therapy bills, and lost wages than you had before the accident. So you may wonder: can I sue if a car accident aggravated a pre-existing condition? The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated.

If this is your current situation, you need to consult with an Albany personal injury lawyer from Bailey, Johnson & Peck. We can protect your legal rights and help you seek compensation. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation today.

Eggshell Skull Rule

The eggshell rule, also known as the thin skull rule, is a legal doctrine that states that the at-fault party is liable for all injuries the victim receives during an accident, regardless of their pre-existing condition or injury before the accident.

So, in other words, it doesn’t matter if an average person would have come out of an accident less injured. Even though a pre-existing injury or condition made the person more vulnerable in an accident, and even though the negligent driver could not have predicted the severity of the crash injuries, they should still provide fair compensation.

Common Reaggravated Injury Types

Car accidents can aggravate a wide variety of pre-existing conditions, including:

  • Traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion
  • Back injury or spinal cord injury
  • Scoliosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Neck pain from radiculopathy, for example
  • Knee pain
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Previous fractures and dislocations
  • Arthritis
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • And more

If a car crash aggravated one of these pre-existing injuries or conditions, you have grounds to contact our team of Albany car accident attorneys.

How Does the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule Complicate a Personal Injury Claim

A pre-existing injury or condition that’s made worse during a car crash can complicate the average personal injury case. In cases like this, the at-fault party will compensate the injured person for the injuries and other monetary losses they directly caused. A pre-existing chronic illness or injury is not something that the at-fault party caused in the car accident. Furthermore, there’s also an assumption of risk for some personal injury claims that may come.

Also, depending on the plaintiff’s condition, it can be difficult to determine if the accident actually caused more pain and other health issues. Both the human body and chronic conditions are very complex, so the causation factor can be difficult, especially without strong pieces of evidence like prior medical records.

In most cases, plaintiffs should be able to recover damages for re-aggravated injuries or conditions. With the right legal team on your side, you can prove that a driver’s negligence worsened your pre-existing condition; therefore, you should receive a fair car accident settlement.

How to Prove Negligence Aggravated a Pre-Existing Condition

Proving negligence is crucial in any car accident case. However, proving negligence can be slightly different when a car accident aggravates a pre-existing injury or condition. Instead of proving that the at-fault driver directly caused an injury, you would have to prove that the at-fault driver directly caused the aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition.

You’ll have to establish the other driver acted outside of the reasonable person’s standard through the four elements of negligence.

  • Duty of Care: All drivers owe each other a specific duty of care. In other words, all drivers should be focused, sober, and careful to protect themselves and others.
  • Breached Duty of Care: The negligent driver breached this duty of care.
  • Causation: The driver’s negligence directly caused a pre-existing injury or medical condition to worsen. This can be proven through the victim’s medical history.
  • Damages: The victim suffered various damages – such as more pain and financial distress from additional treatment – for which they should receive fair compensation.

Proving the four elements of negligence is often difficult for injury victims to do independently. That’s why contacting an Albany personal injury lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck is crucial if you think a driver’s negligence made your pre-existing injury or condition worse. We can help you determine if you have grounds to sue the defendant, prove the elements of negligence, gather sufficient evidence, and seek compensation.

reaggravated injury

Eggshell Plaintiff and the Chain of Causation

The chain of causation is generally the most difficult element of negligence to prove in any personal injury case. Still, it’s more straightforward than proving that a car accident caused your pre-existing injuries to get worse. All you would have to do in a regular personal injury case is prove through medical history that you now have an injury that you didn’t have before the accident.

For example, let’s say that you had a pre-existing neck injury, like a herniated disc, that got worse during a car crash. You could prove through medical history that you suffered from this injury before the crash. You could also explain how your pain was only really distracting on certain days, and so all you had to do to manage the pain on those days was take over-the-counter pain medication.

After the crash, maybe you have more than one herniated disc, or your pre-existing herniated disc pain is just unbearable most days. To manage this pain, maybe you now have prescription medication that you have to take every day. Maybe you also have to take steroids to reduce inflammation and see a chiropractor regularly.

All of this evidence can help strengthen your personal injury claim and help you get a better pre-existing neck injury settlement. However, it’s still very possible for defendants or insurance companies to claim that you’re not being truthful about your pain. That’s why you shouldn’t pursue compensation without an experienced legal team on your side.

Car Accident Aggravated Pre-Existing Condition Settlement

Calculating exact damages for car crash claims is, again, fairly straightforward. Generally, an insurance company or a legal team will add up all the costs of medical bills, physical therapy bills, lost wages, and car damage. They may also add a multiplier if significant pain, suffering, and emotional distress is involved. The result is how much the plaintiff would get in damages.

Calculating damages for a pre-existing medical condition or injury that was aggravated in a crash is different. If you can prove that your pre-existing injury did, in fact, get worse after the accident, the defendant would only be responsible for paying for your additional treatment as opposed to all of your past treatments. So, in the case of aggravated back injuries, the at-fault driver would probably only compensate you for the cost of prescription medication, chiropractic treatments, and maybe even corrective surgery.

Still, you will likely struggle with the defendant and their legal team claiming that the amount of compensation you’re asking for is excessive.

eggshell skull rule

Car Accident Aggravated Pre-Existing Condition? Call Albany Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today

If someone else’s negligence on the roads caused your previous injury or health condition to get worse, you could recover damages through a car accident claim. Our experienced legal team has decades of combined experience in handling all sorts of personal injury cases. We have what it takes to defend your rights and help you recover fair compensation either through an insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Call 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation today.


Helping Injury Victims
Put Their Lives Back Together

Schedule a Consultation

Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law, including car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. If you have questions about insurance coverage and how to get the financial compensation you need, contact us today to see how we can help.

We have represented many clients on both sides of personal injury and insurance disputes. Let us use our depth of knowledge and experience to help you and your family get the medical care and financial compensation you need and deserve.