What is the Eggshell Skull Rule in a Personal Injury Case?

eggshell skull rule

When you are injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligent actions, such as a driver running a red light, you can typically file a claim against them to recover compensation for your losses. Specifically, personal injury claims in Indiana can help you get compensation for things like your medical bills and lost wages related to the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident.

These claims can be challenging enough as is, but if you have a pre-existing condition, it can make things even more difficult. However, thanks to the “Eggshell Skull Rule,” injured victims can still recover compensation for their injuries, even if the injuries were made worse due to the fact that they have a pre-existing condition.

Let’s take a look to see just how the Eggshell Skull Rule works exactly.

What is the Eggshell Skull Rule?

The Eggshell Skull Rule is a legal ruling that specifically applies to personal injury cases. It basically states that “you take your plaintiff as you find them.”

This means that when the plaintiff (victim) is injured in an accident, the defendant (at-fault party) is responsible for the injuries they caused, no matter what pre-existing conditions the victim already had prior to the accident. The term “eggshell skull” comes from an example using a head injury for reference.

So, for example, if the victim has a skull as fragile as an eggshell and they suffer more severe head injuries because of this condition, the at-fault party is still responsible for those severe head injuries even if someone else who didn’t have an eggshell skull would have only suffered a minor bump to the head in a similar accident.

So, in a nutshell, the eggshell rule in personal injury cases protects those who have pre-existing conditions.

Does the Eggshell Skull Injury Rule Apply to Emotional Injuries?

No, the eggshell skull injury rule does not apply to psychological injuries. However, this does not mean that the victim can’t still recover compensation for psychological or emotional damage. It just means that they cannot recover compensation if it is tied to a pre-existing psychological condition.

So, for example, if the victim had PTSD previously, they cannot claim compensation for emotional distress after a car accident that is made worse because they already had PTSD. But if they suffer emotional distress that arises entirely on its own as a result of the accident with no connection to a previous mental disorder, then they can recover compensation for that. 

How Does the Eggshell Skull Rule Affect Personal Injury Claims?

When you file a personal injury claim, the Eggshell Skull Rule is there to help protect you from being discriminated against for having a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies will look for any way they can to get out of paying high-value settlements, which means they could try to argue that your injuries existed before the accident and, therefore, they are not responsible for them. But the Eggshell Skull Rule helps protect you against this.

Still, even with the Eggshell Skull Rule in place, it might still be a challenge for you to prove that you deserve more money for the injuries you have suffered. This is why it is beneficial to work with an attorney who has experience handling cases with clients who have pre-existing conditions.

An attorney can protect your rights and will know what evidence is needed to prove how your new injuries were affected by your pre-existing condition. There is often a fine line between where the pre-existing condition ends and where the new injuries begin, which is often what makes these cases so challenging, but a good lawyer can help and will know what to do to ensure you are awarded the settlement you deserve.

Consult With an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident and have a pre-existing condition that may be affecting your new injuries, our team can help. At Poynter & Bucheri, we have years of experience handling a wide range of cases, including those that are more complex due to pre-existing conditions. Let us help you with your claim so you can get the compensation you deserve.

Don’t hesitate — an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.