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What Is the Eggshell Skull Rule?

 Posted on January 29, 2019 in Personal Injury

When you’re pursuing a personal injury claim in New York, it’simportant to share the details of any pre-existing conditions or injurieswith your attorney. Although it might seem unnecessary, sharing this information from the beginning can save your case in the long run, as your lawyer will be better prepared to navigate around the “eggshell skull rule.”

Also called the “eggshell plaintiff theory,” this legal principle dictates that the defendant must “take their victim as they found them” - meaning that you are still entitled to pursue a personal injury claim when you have a pre-existing condition. However, without the right Greenwich personal injury lawyer, you may have a more difficult time securing maximum compensation.

How Insurance Companies Use the Eggshell Skull Rule

The eggshell skull rule was designed to protect plaintiff’s rights,as it prevents cases with pre-existing conditions from being automatically dismissed. In spite of this noble intention, insurance companies are infamous for using the eggshell skull rule to profit. By claiming that all of an eggshell plaintiff’s injuries stem from their prior conditions,and not from the accident at hand, insurers can often convince juries to reduce the total amount awarded.

In order to fight back against this manipulative tactic, your lawyer will need to have a complete understanding of your prior injury, especially as it relates to your accident. For example, if you were diagnosed with a chronic back condition several years ago, you will naturally be more vulnerable to serious spinal cord injuries during a car accident. Of course, a spinal cord injury is much more serious than even the worst chronic back pain, and a negligent driver should still be held responsible for your long-term medical treatments.

Do you have a pre-existing condition or prior injury? If so, here are some of the details you should share with your attorney:

  • The date you incurred your injury/condition
  • Duration of medical treatment
  • The medical providers who treated you
  • Whether you had an MRI or CAT scan
  • The extent of your recovery (if applicable)
  • Duration of time taken off work
  • Whether you were recommended for surgery
  • The last time you treated the injury/condition

When you share these details with an experienced personal injury attorney,they will be better able to sort through the honest facts of your case,and demonstrate why you still need significant compensation for exacerbated injuries. At Ivey Barnum & O’Mara, we have decades of combined experience helping clients bring complex injury claims. No matter your pre-existing condition, we’ll listen to your story and give youthe fair chance at recovery you deserve.

Call today at 203-661-6000 for more information! We can serve clients throughout Fairfield County, Westchester County, and Metro New York.
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