What is the Eggshell Skull Rule and Does it Impact Your Claim?


Are most people a gentle nudge in a rear end collision isn’t going to do much more than produce a bit of whiplash. But, for someone with brittle bone disease, someone with a weak heart, or someone with pre-existing osteo conditions, a small crash could be devastating.  That person with brittle bone disease could end up with multiple fracture bones, an extensive amount of pain, and time lost from work. Some term this the eggshell skull rule.

Just the same, that a person who was exceptionally prone to heart attacks may have been spurned into an episode from the shock of the wreck.  The eggshell skull rule is by and large what refers to a plaintiff that has a pre-existing condition. Insurance providers still try to fight claims that contain pre-existing conditions, even when they were the insurer. Understanding this Rule and how it applies to no-fault claims in Florida is a bit complex. Let our Florida car accident attorneys explain it to you today.

What is the Eggshell Skull Rule?

The eggshell skull rule works two-fold. First it acknowledges that a defendant is liable for negligence or intentional action that led to injury, even unexpected injury. And it also works to explain that the defendant is liable for all injuries, even when those injuries are magnified as a result of pre-existing conditions or peculiar characteristics.

This rule boils down to the defendant or the negligent person, being responsible for all the injuries regardless of any pre-existing condition. This isn’t a new thing either, the eggshell skull rule goes back a long way and one of the earliest cases in the United States arose in 1891. The Vosburg v. Putney case finally ruled that the defendant was responsible after the defendant kicked the plaintiff in the shin. The defendant had no reason to know that the plaintiff had a pre-existing knee injury which led to infection, pain, excising the bone, and draining of pus.

It was early cases like this that established that the plaintiff is not responsible for these pre-existing conditions being aggravated by the actions of the defendant.

Can the Eggshell Skull Rule Apply in a No-Fault State?

Yes, one of the biggest misconceptions throughout Florida is that a no-fault system means that you cannot pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In most cases, that’s true.  If you have a situation such as a minor fender-bender, you’re not going to pursue a lawsuit against that driver, you would simply move your claim through your insurance.

However, when you have an especially egregious case of negligence, you can take action against that driver. Drunk driving is the most common situation of this, and no lawsuit against the driver is the only option to attempting to seek punitive damages.

The eggshell skull rule applies in both situations. Now, in the first situation where you’re filing through PIP coverage, you would address the eggshell skull element through your insurer. You would closely monitor the case to ensure they weren’t downplaying the seriousness of the injury because of the condition.

In the second situation, you would address the eggshell skull rule element during the lawsuit. When taking legal action against the other driver they would likely claim that they’re not responsible for all the damages because they carry no fault for the victim’s condition. But that does not excuse them for the extent of negligence or carelessness.

How Can You Move Your Claim Forward in Tampa?

Perhaps the best way to move a claim forward in Tampa is to bring on a Tampa auto accident lawyer. Even in a no-fault state like Florida auto accident attorneys serve to help with the victim. Typically the biggest fight is between the victim and the insurer who should be offering a fair pay out of compensation for damages.

An Auto Accident Attorney in Tampa Will Offer Support in the Claims Process

If you had any type of pre-existing condition which affected the extent of injury or damage you experience in the crash, then you need legal support. Most insurers, even through personal injury protection plans, will try to fight in the claim that they are not responsible for damages caused by pre-existing conditions. However, experienced auto accident attorneys in Tampa at the Winters & Yonker law office have fought this fight before.

We know that whether you’re making a no-fault claim through your personal injury protection plan or targeting the at-fault driver directly because of extreme negligence, you deserve coverage. The eggshell skull rule protects people with pre-existing conditions by ensuring that any Frailty of the victim is not used against them. Contacting Winters & Yonker is easy, dial our office directly and get help right away.

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