Explaining the “Eggshell Plaintiff” Rule

Personal Injury • February 26, 2024

Jersey City personal injury law is designed to protect individuals who have been harmed due to someone else’s negligence or deliberate actions. An integral part of navigating these legal situations involves understanding key principles that might affect the outcome of a case, one of which is the “Eggshell Plaintiff” rule.

What is The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule?

The Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, sometimes referred to as the “Take Your Victim as You Find Them” rule, is a legal doctrine recognized in personal injury law. It means that if you are negligent and cause harm to another person, you are responsible for all the consequences of your actions – even if the injured party had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible to injury than an average person would be.

The rule’s name comes from the notion of a plaintiff with an ‘eggshell’ skull or a particularly fragile condition. Even if you couldn’t predict how severely your actions would injure someone due to their unique vulnerabilities or pre-existing conditions which were unknown to you at the time, such circumstances do not limit your liability.

Implications for Plaintiffs

For plaintiffs with pre-existing conditions, the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule is crucial because it ensures that any aggravation of these conditions caused by a defendant’s negligence can be compensated for.

The rule entitles you to full compensation for your losses, including both the injuries directly caused by the incident and any exacerbation of pre-existing conditions.

Tips for Documenting and Proving Impact

As you approach your case, it’s essential that you meticulously document and substantiate how the incident has impacted any pre-existing conditions. Here are several tips to help guide you through this critical process:

Consistent Medical Treatment

Always consult with healthcare providers as soon as possible after the incident and continue treatment consistently. This establishes a timeline that shows causation between the incident and any exacerbations.

Comprehensive Medical History Review

Gather all previous medical records pertinent to your pre-existing condition(s). Detailed documentation showing your medical status before the event can highlight changes post-incident.

Expert Witness Testimony

Securing medical expert testimony can corroborate your claim by providing an authoritative perspective on the nature of your injuries and how the incident exacerbated them.

Keep Pain Journal

Keeping a pain journal can be an extremely useful tool in documenting the real-time effects of your injury and its impact on your daily life, including any aggravations to pre-existing conditions. Record entries every day detailing your levels of pain or discomfort, alongside descriptions of how the injuries are impacting routine activities.

Seek Legal Advice As Soon As Possible

You should seek legal advice when you’re navigating a personal injury claim, especially if there are pre-existing conditions in play. Having a competent attorney by your side can make an immense difference.

Experienced personal injury lawyers understand how to navigate challenges presented by insurance companies that might argue your damages resulted solely from your existing conditions. They will know how to utilize the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule effectively and ensure comprehensive documentation of all the aspects related to the exacerbation of these conditions due to the accident.

A lawyer will guide you through every step – from evidence collection to negotiation or trial – to maximize compensation to handle not just the short-term issues you face but also future impacts on your health and quality of life. If you need help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.