Left turn

The Eggshell Skull Rule: Pre-existing Conditions and Car Accident Claims

In a perfect world, you would never need to be concerned about receiving the appropriate compensation after being injured in an automobile accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies operate on a for-profit basis and limit settlement amounts whenever possible. This is where personal injury lawyers who are familiar with the law (and with insurance company practices) can step in to make sure that the right thing is done and that you are made financially whole again. 

One type of case that is particularly difficult to navigate is when an accident aggravates a pre-existing condition or causes more severe injuries to you than you would experience without your pre-existing condition. In these cases, it is all too easy for the insurance company to claim that the most recent accident is not responsible for your pain, need for surgery, or medical problems; they may claim that your injuries already existed before. They may even deny your claim.

Fear not. There are laws in Indiana to protect you from this type of argument, and an experienced car accident lawyer will know exactly what your rights are. Indiana observes something that is known as the “eggshell skull plaintiff rule.” What is the eggshell skull rule? It means that the tortfeasor (person who did the wrong) has to take you in the condition they find you. Whether or not you had a pre-existing condition, and whether or not you knew about it – as long as the accident made it worse or made you suffer from symptoms you didn’t have before, they are responsible. 

Why is it called the Eggshell Skull Rule?

This comes from a law school example where a hypothetical person with a thin (eggshell) skull is badly injured after having a piece of chalk thrown at his head. The person who threw the chalk is responsible for the actual injuries incurred. The fact that a person without an eggshell thin skull probably wouldn’t have been injured, or injured as badly, is immaterial. The fact that the person who threw the chalk didn’t know about the thin eggshell skull is also immaterial. 

You and your lawyer must prove 

  • That you were living a normal life before the accident
  • That the accident aggravated or exacerbated the pre-existing condition

How can you help the situation?

  1. First of all, tell the truth. Don’t attempt to cover up a pre-existing condition. In any type of battle with the insurance company or in a court case, your medical records will be examined. If you leave out details, it will damage your credibility.
  2. Also important for your car accident claim is visiting the same doctor or specialist that you have seen in the past. That way, the doctor will be able to attest to the fact that the accident is the direct cause of your exacerbated or aggravated condition.

Types of conditions that can be exacerbated in a car crash:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Fibromyalgia

Types of previous injuries that can be aggravated in a car crash:

Consult with the personal injury lawyers at Crossen Law Firm. We will make sure that your settlement amount is fair, and that it reflects the actual injuries you are suffering from. We have experience fighting for victims in eggshell skull rule cases like yours. We will make sure that insurance companies don’t try to take advantage of you by claiming that everything that happened to you is simply a result of a pre-existing condition and not a result of the accident. You are entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

Get started on your case today by scheduling your free consultation with the Crossen Law Firm by calling (317)-401-8626 or by contacting us online. Our contingency fee pricing means that you pay nothing unless we win a settlement.