What Is the Eggshell Skull Rule?

February 20, 2024 Personal Injury

After an unexpected injury, you can find yourself feeling confused, hurt, and overwhelmed. You want to hold the at-fault party accountable for these damages, but with a pre-existing condition, you may wonder whether you are eligible for compensation at all. In these scenarios, one doctrine in personal injury law offers important protections: the eggshell skull rule.

Explaining the Eggshell Skull Rule

The eggshell skull rule is a foundational principle in personal injury law. According to this doctrine, a defendant is liable for all consequences of their actions, regardless of the victim’s pre-existing conditions. If a person’s negligent behavior causes harm, they are responsible for the full extent of the damage, even if the injury is more severe than what a person without these conditions would have experienced. 

This rule comes from a scenario where a victim has an unusually fragile or thin skull—like an eggshell. If the victim slipped, fell, and hit their head due to the negligence of the defendant, they may suffer severe, life-threatening injuries. Although the victim was more prone to injury than an average person, they still deserve full and fair compensation, and the defendant should not be excused for their negligence. 

The eggshell skull rule is vital for protecting victims who might otherwise be unfairly penalized for their susceptibility to injury. It ensures that all individuals, regardless of their physical condition before an incident, receive the full protection of the law. 

Can a Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Right to Compensation?

A pre-existing condition can affect your compensation after an accident, but not in the way you might fear. If an incident worsens your existing condition, the party at fault is responsible for the aggravation. This means that you could recover compensation for your worsened condition as long as someone else’s negligence caused it.

For example, say that you have a pre-existing back condition. While your condition is manageable with medication and therapy, a rear-end collision exacerbates the pain, limiting your mobility and requiring surgery. Under the eggshell skull rule, the responsible party cannot use your pre-existing condition as a way to reduce compensation. Instead, they are liable for the full extent of your injuries, including the cost of the surgery that you now require.

However, proving the aggravation of a pre-existing condition can be complex. You must show how your condition has worsened after the accident by providing evidence such as medical records, expert testimonies, and possibly, detailed evaluations from healthcare professionals. The defense may try to argue your injuries were solely related to your pre-existing condition, but a strong case can help you overcome this challenge.

How to Counter Claims That Violate the Eggshell Skull Rule

When facing opposition that seeks to minimize your claim due to pre-existing conditions, having an accident attorney in Las Vegas by your side is crucial. A Nevada personal injury lawyer can help compile the necessary evidence to demonstrate how the incident aggravated your condition. They are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and defense tactics that aim to reduce your claim’s value. 

A lawyer can ensure that all damages, new and exacerbated, are accounted for in your final settlement and advocate for the compensation you deserve. To build the strongest possible case for your recovery, contact a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to initiate your case and begin your journey to justice.