According to the eggshell skull rule, anyone who causes you harm cannot use your frailty as a defense to deny you compensation. The best way to understand the rule is to look at application examples. Below are some cases where the eggshell skull rule applies.
Some diseases weaken your bones and make them more susceptible to fractures. The diseases also lengthen recovery times and complicate treatments for fractures. Here are examples of such diseases:
- Osteoporosis, which thins bones
- Osteogenesis imperfecta, which makes bones brittle
- Osteonecrosis, which causes bone tissue death and weakens bones
Say you are involved in a fender bender and have one of the diseases. You might develop a bone fracture that an average healthy person wouldn't have suffered. The defendant still owes you compensation despite your high susceptibility to fractures.
Blood Clotting Problems
Blood clotting stops blood loss, reduces the risk of infection, and starts the recovery process in case of an injury. Some people suffer from diseases that slow down the blood clotting process. Blood clotting problems can trigger serious health complications, especially internal injuries.
Consider a case where you suffer an accident that causes blunt force trauma to your torso. You might suffer organ failure if the trauma triggers internal bleeding and you suffer from blood clotting problems. However, the defendant should compensate you for the organ failure even if a healthy person wouldn't have suffered the complication.
Some people are more susceptible to heart attacks than others. For example, a family or personal history of diseases, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol increases your risk of a heart attack. At the same time, stress can trigger a heart attack.
A gruesome accident can shock such a person and trigger a heart attack. However, the defendant cannot use the victim's susceptibility to heart attacks to escape liability for the injury. The victim still deserves compensation if they can link the heart attack to the accident.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric disorder, can worsen if you suffer another stressful experience. According to enjuris.com, most states apply the eggshell skull rule only to physical injuries, but a few states also apply it to psychological or mental injuries. In such states, you can claim compensation for PTSD that worsened after an accident.
As you can see, you should never assume that you couldn't get compensation for an accident because of your pre-existing health conditions. Consult a personal injury lawyer to analyze your case and help you pursue compensation.