Anyone who has ever spent some time in the kitchen knows that eggshells are delicate and can crack if handled carelessly. In a personal injury claim, eggshell plaintiffs are injured victims who were more likely to be susceptible to new injuries because of their preexisting conditions. While the defendant in a personal injury case doesn’t have a higher duty of care to an eggshell plaintiff, they are not allowed to penalize the plaintiff for their added vulnerability.
Who Qualifies as an Eggshell Plaintiff?
The term eggshell plaintiff is most often used to describe senior citizens, since older people are more likely to suffer from conditions that can be aggravated by a car accident. For example, bones become more brittle and are likely to break as a person ages. Arthritis and degenerative disc disease are two other common conditions that can lead to complications following an accident.
Even though older people are more likely to have preexisting conditions, this doesn’t mean a younger person can’t be an eggshell plaintiff. For example, a college student may be more likely to have complications from a car accident concussion if he received a previous concussion while playing as a high school quarterback. Another example is someone who was being treated for a back or knee injury with physical therapy before the accident but now requires surgery due to the additional damage from the crash.
What Do Eggshell Plaintiffs Need to Know?
If you qualify as an eggshell plaintiff, this means the insurance company can’t use your preexisting condition as a reason to reduce or deny your compensation. If your condition was stable before the accident and the defendant was negligent, they are responsible for the aggravation of your existing injury or any new injuries that occurred as the result of the accident.
If your injuries are severe enough to require ongoing medical care or prevent you from working in the future, expert testimony is necessary to properly calculate your damages. Once you sign a settlement agreement, you’re not allowed to go back and ask for more compensation at a later date.
Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.