What is an eggshell plaintiff and how does the term impact personal injury?

Categories: Personal Injury Law

Beth is a dance teacher. She first started dancing as a toddler, and Beth has been teaching aspiring ballerinas since she was in high school. After years of dancing and teaching, Beth began to have mild back pain. Her doctor found that she had a ruptured disk. 

Beth would occasionally take over-the-counter pain medicine to combat any soreness in her back. She continued to teach five days a week with no problem, but that all stopped after the accident.

Beth was driving to work. She was waiting at a red light when her car was hit from behind. The other driver was distracted when his dog suddenly jumped onto his lap. He could not stop in time. 

In seconds, Beth’s life changed forever. The accident aggravated her back issue. She no longer teaches dance. She can answer phones at the studio, but sitting or standing for too long causes significant pain. Her doctor thinks she needs surgery to maintain her quality of life.

The eggshell plaintiff doctrine

It is not accurate to say that the other driver caused Beth’s ruptured disk. Still, it is clear that the accident made the dance teacher’s condition exponentially worse and, ultimately, ended her career.

In this case, Beth’s case is covered by something known as the eggshell plaintiff doctrine or eggshell plaintiff rule. 

What is an eggshell plaintiff? The doctrine sounds like part farming expertise and part legalese, but it is quite simple.  

The eggshell plaintiff rule means the person responsible for an injury will also be responsible for the worsening of a pre-existing condition because of their negligence. In Beth’s case, this means that the other driver is not only responsible for any injuries caused by the accident, but also the fact that Beth’s pre-existing ruptured disk has increased in severity following the fender-bender.

A vital component of the eggshell plaintiff doctrine is that you must take the plaintiff as you find them. A person is not eligible for damages as a result of a pre-existing condition before an accident. Following an accident, they may seek damages for a pre-existing mental or physical condition that has worsened because of someone else’s negligence or lack of care. 

Under the State of Florida laws, doctor bills, hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering all fall under the damages. In certain instances, emotional distress and punitive damages may be covered as well. 

The insurance company game 

What do insurance companies try to do despite the eggshell plaintiff rule? 

When it comes to eggshell plaintiff cases or personal injury in general, insurance companies are not on your side. They are going to try some clever maneuvering and insurance company tricks to reduce your damages. 

Insurance companies will deny the defendant’s responsibility. They will say the injuries are a result of your pre-existing condition, not their customer’s negligence. That is precisely why you need a personal injury lawyer to fight for you.

What to do if you are an eggshell plaintiff? 

You should not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney if you believe you may fit the definition of an eggshell plaintiff. You want an attorney with knowledge of Florida law who has the experience to handle your case.

Hiring an attorney

As you look for your personal injury attorney, you want to make sure that they will Demand More® from the insurance companies. Brian D. Guralnick is dedicated to fighting for family, friends, and personal injury clients. He takes on big insurance companies and regularly gets five-star ratings for his efforts.

Filing for a claim 

Contacting an attorney is a must if you have a pre-existing condition and have been injured in a car accident. Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers combines the personalized attention of a solo practitioner with the resources and knowledge of a much larger firm.

We commit to each of our personal injury clients. We will guide you through your eggshell plaintiff case, step-by-step. 

The process will follow this timeline:

  • We will learn about your pre-existing condition
  • We will use your medical records to reveal the extent of damage caused by the accident
  • A medical expert will assess your current medical condition and compare it to previous reports
  • We will demonstrate that the accident made your condition more severe and may continue to cause adverse effects in the future

Our firm will Demand More® for you, with a focus on securing the compensation you deserve for your personal injury claim.

What to expect after filing for a claim?

The statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in Florida is four years. However, meeting with an attorney as soon as possible is crucial. Your case may take months, even years, to get to court, if you do not settle first. In any case, you want a trusted attorney by your side to put you at ease.

The eggshell plaintiff doctrine may serve you well, especially if your car accident would be considered minor in most cases. A jury may not see how a fender-bender could result in severe injury. Knowledge of the eggshell plaintiff rule will be illuminating and show that the plaintiff suffered real damages.

Your attorney’s skillful handling of your eggshell plaintiff case may make all the difference. While any attorney should be aware of the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, you want an experienced personal injury lawyer. You may receive significantly reduced damages if the attorney handles affairs poorly.

An experienced personal injury attorney like Brian D. Guralnick and his talented staff of legal professionals will work hard for you and Demand More® to help you get the compensation you deserve in your personal injury case.

If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County car accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call (561) 983-4395 now. 

Disclaimer: You should not take any information in this blog as legal advice in any situation. If you need expertise for a specific issue of yours, contact a qualified Personal Injury attorney.