When a Personal Injury Exacerbates a Pre-Existing Medical Condition; The “Egg Shell Skull” Theory.

California Personal Injury Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses egg shell skull theory.Many people live their lives with pre-existing medical conditions such as: Bad knees; degenerative conditions in the back, previous broken bones that have healed, etc.

Are you entitled to recover for damages in a personal injury accident when a pre-existing medical condition is exacerbated? Yes!

The Egg Shell Skull Theory

The Egg Shell Skull Theory goes something like this. Let’s say Humpty Dumpty, who has a skull as thin as an egg shell, is driving, and gets into a car accident that is not his fault. His skull being as thin as an egg shell shatters into a million pieces so that all of the king’s horses and all of the king’s men could not put his head together again. Can Humpty Dumpty recover for his injuries considering the fact that he had a skull as thin as an egg shell, which is not normal for human beings? Yes!

The law of personal injury in a nutshell (not to be confused with egg shell) makes persons who are negligent, liable for injuries that they cause that are reasonably foreseeable. The case law on the subject has concluded that it is reasonably foreseeable that persons who are injured may have pre-existing conditions, or deformities, and that a negligent person must take the injured person as they find them. Hence Humpty Dumpty is entitled to a recovery eventhough is head is as thin as an egg shell.

Pre-Existing Conditions

I do many personal injury cases where a person suffers an injury due to the negligence of another, and the injury is actually diagnosed as a condition that existed prior to the accident, but was exacerbated or became symptomatic after the injury accident.

Many people who have pre-existing conditions learn to live with their conditions, are pain free notwithstanding their conditions, or have minimal discomfort due to their conditions. Some may even have a large amount of pain or loss of mobility due to their conditions.

These people are entitled to recover for their losses just like anyone else who is injured in a Personal Injury accident that is not their fault. Crafty insurance company adjusters and insurance company lawyers will try to limit their liability by claiming that the injured person was not injured at all in an accident, and that they had a pre-existing medical condition which cuts off or limits their liability.

Some persons with pre-existing medical conditions may not even seek legal advice or retain a lawyer after they are injured, because they figure that they already had the condition before the accident in the first place. This is a huge mistake.

The bottom line is that any person who is injured due to the negligence of another, and who has a pre-existing medical condition, is entitled to recover compensatory damages that were caused by the accident. If a pre-existing medical condition or disability is made worse or symptomatic as a result of the accident you are entitled to recover.

It takes a good personal injury lawyer, who knows the law to get you what you are entitled to.

If you have suffered a personal injury, you can check out my personal injury website by clicking here, for valuable information on these types of cases.

If you would like a free consultation on your California personal injury case you may call me at 818-584-8831, go to my website at www.thepersonalinjury.com and click on the Free Case Evaluation Link, or you may email me at law@norman-law.com. I will tell you for free what I think of your case, and whether I can help you.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

4 Responses to When a Personal Injury Exacerbates a Pre-Existing Medical Condition; The “Egg Shell Skull” Theory.

    • When an existing condition is exacerbated or made worse, the person responsible is liable for the exacerbation. If an existing condition makes an injury worse than it would have been had the condition not existed at all, the person responsible is liable for the entire injury.

      Norm

  1. What if a diabetic ate at a restaurant. He ate a certain dish that normally had a certain amount of carbs but at this restaurant they added extra sugar and the diabetic suffered damage from the unknown change in the recipe. The diabetes is a pre-existing condition, so would you have a case?

    • I would say that it is reasonably foreseeable that restaurant patrons could have diabetes. Therefore dishes with sugar should be clearly identified. However, I have never dealt with such a case. This is almost analogous to a pharmaceutical company needing to warn about side effects. Maybe warning should be put on restaurant dishes concerning sugar, peanuts, etc.

      Norm

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