What happens if a person has a preexisting condition and is injured in a car accident caused by another driver? For example, Driver A, who suffers from back problems, is stopped at a red light. Driver B fails to stop and crashes into the rear of Driver A’s vehicle. This collision exasperates Driver A’s back issues, causing much more pain and injury. Will he still be able to pursue damages against Driver B for his pain and loss? Under Virginia’s tort law, the answer is yes.
The Eggshell Plaintiff Doctrine
The eggshell plaintiff doctrine basically means “taking the victim as you find him.” Even if the injured victim has a preexisting condition at the time of the accident, and even if the accident would not have caused injury to a healthy person, the person who is deemed responsible for the accident is still liable for this victim’s injuries. A defendant in a personal injury lawsuit cannot use the plaintiff’s preexisting medical conditions against him to avoid his or her own liability to the injuries.
There are many preexisting medical conditions that can make a person susceptible to serious car accident injuries. A person diagnosed with osteoporosis and has weakened and brittle bones is at a greater risk of suffering fractures in a car accident than a healthy person. Victims suffering from arthritis may also be more easily injured because of their medical conditions. There are also cases where there may have been a preexisting condition that the victim was not even aware of but is revealed during medical treatment for their car crash injuries, such as a degenerative back disc. The list goes on.
Most insurance companies will attempt to use a victim’s preexisting medical condition to get out of paying the victim the compensation they are entitled to and deserve, despite the eggshell plaintiff doctrine. This is why accident victims need a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney advocating for them through the entire injury claim process.
Virginia Accident Attorneys Fighting for Victims
Whether you were aware of and receiving treatment for your preexisting medical condition, or it was discovered after you were injured, your attorney will present the evidence needed to prove that the car accident did indeed result in the worsening of your condition and how that has increased your medical expenses, financial losses, quality of life, and other losses you have suffered from this accident. Our Virginia car accident law firm has successfully represented many clients who were injured in car wrecks and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.