If you have a pre-existing condition that aggravated your accident injuries, you may assume that you don’t have a shot at recovering compensation. Fortunately, there’s a principle in Texas civil law that allows you to pursue a personal injury lawsuit even with a prior condition. This is known as the eggshell skull rule, or the “thin skull rule” in some jurisdictions.
The eggshell skull rule is a legal doctrine that states a defendant must take the plaintiff “as he finds him.” This simply means that the at-fault party can indeed be considered responsible for your serious injuries, even if he or she could not have reasonably anticipated the more extreme effects.
By recognizing that all plaintiffs have different health needs and physical attributes, the eggshell skull rule evens out the playing field for those who are dealt catastrophic injuries because of a prior condition. Even if the plaintiff is "fragile," it’s crucial that they have the ability to recover funding after suffering serious injuries – and the law recognizes this essential truth.
Practical Application of the Eggshell Skull Rule
As an example, let’s say you have a minor spinal cord injury that you can manage through weekly physical therapy sessions, even though the condition occasionally causes you great pain. However, after getting into a major car accident, you suffer additional injuries to your weakened spine and become partially paralyzed. Now in a wheelchair, you require much more additional funding to cover the costs of your paralysis.
Thanks to the eggshell skull rule, the negligent party can still be considered liable for your injuries, even though these problems were made more likely by your pre-existing condition. That means you can pursue full compensation for your paralysis – although under the Texas comparative negligence rule, your compensation may be somewhat reduced if you were partially responsible for the accident.
Protecting Eggshell Plaintiffs in Dallas
Although the law allows for an “eggshell plaintiff” to file a claim, your insurer may try to talk you out of this tactic, and argue that you don’t have a chance of winning. While it depends on your unique case, it is certainly possible to win as an eggshell plaintiff, provided that you have the right legal counsel on your side.
At MR Civil Justice, we can help anyone file a personal injury claim after a car crash, slip and fall, or other accident. Because we offer direct access to our attorneys and a uniquely creative approach, we can take on any cases involving eggshell plaintiffs and increase your chance of recovery.
Call (214) 307-8387 today to schedule your free consultation.