What is the Eggshell Rule in Law?

Accidents and personal injuries are largely unexpected and can affect people across every demographic. As such, every accident victim is unique. While some victims may be strong and healthy, others may have pre-existing conditions that can affect their response to treatment or make them more susceptible to complications.

Fortunately, California law protects personal injury claimants who suffer from medical conditions under the “eggshell rule.” Just because someone may be more prone to injury or complications does not bar them from seeking damages after an injury.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, learn more about how the eggshell rule may affect your claim.

The Eggshell Rule Explained

When in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit, many people may ask themselves, “What is the eggshell rule”?

The eggshell rule helps victims with pre-existing medical conditions recover damages in full. In other words, this rule ensures that defendants cannot minimize their liability just because the victim was more susceptible to injury than an average person.

This protection ensures that defendants remain financially responsible and legally liable for any damage they cause. The term “eggshell skull” refers to the idea that even if someone had a skull like an eggshell — one that was naturally more fragile — they would still be treated equally under the law.

How Can the Eggshell Rule Be Applied in a Personal Injury Case?

In a personal injury lawsuit, the eggshell rule helps protect plaintiffs from discrimination like lower compensation because of pre-existing medical conditions. 

Defendants often try to diminish their responsibility after an accident by citing a person’s advanced age, prior injury, or illness. The eggshell rule can be applied whenever the opposing party attempts to use pre-existing conditions as part of their defense strategy.

The eggshell rule holds defendants liable for the full consequences of their negligent actions, regardless of any health complications or medical conditions that may have led to a more severe injury.

Does the Eggshell Rule Apply to Non-Economic Damages?

The eggshell rule is designed to help victims recover only economic damages, including those for:

  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Long-term care
  • Lost wages
  • Future medical care

Unfortunately, this rule does not cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. When a victim suffers from anxiety, depression, or PTSD, these do not apply to the eggshell rule.

Courts can still award non-economic damages like pain and suffering, humiliation, loss of enjoyment, and reputation damage after a personal injury. Your attorney will look at the evidence to determine any possible compensation for emotional damage that resulted from your injury.

The Eggshell Rule in California

California laws are designed to protect the rights of injured people. In a trial, whenever evidence is presented to address pre-existing conditions, every California court makes sure that the jury doesn’t take that evidence into account when deciding the verdict.

The eggshell rule protects you whenever the opposing party looks to minimize their liability because of your medical condition. A personal injury attorney can defend your pre-existing conditions so that the responsible party is held fully accountable for your injuries.

Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, LLP. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including cartruck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, LLP. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!