Understanding the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule

Some individuals are fortunate enough to never have been involved in an accident. Others may have only been involved in one accident in their lifetime, and those individuals can also be considered quite fortunate. However, there is a large percentage of individuals who have been involved in two or more accidents in their lifetimes. Sometimes the severity of each accident causes personal injuries. This results in multiple lawsuits being filed against the negligent parties. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident or incident in the state of West Virginia, contact Colombo Law today. Our attorneys are happy to meet with you to determine your rights to compensation.

What is an Eggshell Plaintiff?

An eggshell plaintiff (sometimes called the eggshell skull) is an individual who is more likely to suffer more significant injuries in an accident or incident due to injuries sustained in a prior incident or a pre-existing condition. The eggshell plaintiff rule provides that an at-fault party must pay for whatever damages that individual caused as a result of the incident, regardless of whether the injuries were more severe than anticipated.

Take, for example, the case of Mary. Mary is a hemophiliac which means that her blood does not clot normally, which is crucial in the event of injuries. One day, John and Sue are driving behind Mary, following the regular flow of traffic. All of a sudden, all the cars ahead rapidly slow down. While Mary was able to stop her car on time, John and Sue could not because their brakes were not up to par. They had been meaning to change their brakes, but had not found the time. Although John and Sue slowed down significantly, they hit Mary going 12 miles an hour. Mary’s face hit the steering wheel causing her to suffer a minor laceration on her head and a slightly larger laceration on her lip. Mary had significant bleeding and had to undergo a blood transfusion. There were other complications associated with the cuts and Mary spent a week in the hospital.

Under the principles of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, John and Sue will be responsible for all of Mary’s injuries. While no one could expect Mary to be harmed so greatly from a low impact crash, they are responsible for any damages caused regardless of the fact that Mary is overly susceptible to injuries. This rule also applies when there are pre-existing injuries as a result of prior accidents that are aggravated as a result of the current accident.

Contact Colombo Law

While representatives for individuals like those in the above hypothetical are fully aware that they will be responsible for any injuries caused, they still try to avoid payment by making arguments that are not legally sound. This is why you need a lawyer to assist you in the event of an accident or incident where there are pre-existing injuries. For a risk-free initial consultation, contact Colombo Law today.


by Colombo Law
Last updated on - Originally published on