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Car Accidents and The “Eggshell Skull” Doctrine

Just because you’re in poor health or were previously injured on the job or in another accident doesn’t mean you can’t be compensated for your injuries in a more recent accident. Mississippi recognizes what is commonly known as the “eggshell skull doctrine,” or the “eggshell skull rule” in tort law. The basic idea of this doctrine is that when a defendant negligently injures a plaintiff, that defendant must take the plaintiff as he found him or her, regardless of a plaintiff’s medical condition. A defendant may attempt to exploit a prior injury as a reason not to settle a case or as part of an attempt to settle for a low amount, but consulting with an experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney can ensure your rights as a plaintiff are protected.

The Yolk of the Eggshell Skull Doctrine

The most important thing to understand about the eggshell skull doctrine is that it does not mean that a pre-existing condition is automatically the key to getting a big settlement out of a lawsuit. It has limits. If you were previously injured in a car accident and have long suffered from back pain, and then are in a second car accident, you cannot collect damages for the original back pain. If there is no change in your condition, and your back hurts just as much as it previously did, a court will not find that the second accident caused the back pain from the first accident.

However, if you have long suffered back pain from an initial car accident, and then after a subsequent car accident, that pain becomes more frequent or intense, and requires more frequent trips to a doctor, then a court  may find that the defendant is responsible for aggravating the injury. Though the defendant’s attorney may attempt to argue that the back injury was pre-existing and the defendant shouldn’t have to pay any compensation for it, courts have repeatedly held that this is not how the eggshell skull doctrine works.

The defendant must take the plaintiff in the condition he or she is in when injured by the defendant. No matter what medical condition you are in to begin with, if an accident puts you in a worse position, you are entitled to seek damages. Literally, the idea is that if someone has an “eggshell skull” and is extremely prone to injury, the defendant is still liable.

Need Legal Advice?

Any sort of car accident is a traumatic experience, but it can be even worse if you have a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by the negligence of another driver. Regardless of your prior conditions, you can still seek damages for your new medical bills if you were injured by a negligent driver.  If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in the Biloxi area, contact an experienced personal injury attorney with The Law Offices of Judy Guice today to determine how to proceed with your case.

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