The Eggshell Skull Rule

Jul 28

If you are injured by someone else’s negligence in an accident, you can seek compensation for the losses you experience through a personal injury claim. While personal injury law is always challenging, your claim can be made all the more complicated by a pre-existing condition (that predates the accident in question); this is where the eggshell rule comes into play. If this is the difficult position you find yourself in, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.

What Is The Eggshell Skull Rule?

A case heard by the Indiana Supreme Court explains that the Eggshell Skull Rule (as it applies to personal injury claims) means the at-fault party in the claim “takes his victim as he finds him.”. This is a longstanding legal rule that can be easily demonstrated with the following simplified example:

  • The accident victim has a pre-existing condition that leaves her with a skull as delicate as an eggshell.
  • The other party throws a piece of chalk that strikes the victim in the head.
  • Her skull is fractured in the process. 
  • The chalk thrower is liable for her losses. 

Although we generally don’t consider throwing a piece of chalk as being particularly risky, we don’t get to pick and choose regarding pre-existing conditions. This means that if the injured party’s pre-existing condition causes him or her to be seriously injured by that chalk toss, the law says, so be it. The person throwing the chalk does not get a pass because he or she didn’t know that the victim was more vulnerable to injury. The Eggshell Skull Rule requires at-fault parties to take claimants as they are found. 


The Importance Of The Eggshell Skull Rule

If you have a pre-existing condition that is exacerbated by injuries you sustain in an accident, the at-fault party may be responsible for your related losses. It is important to note, however, that the other party cannot be held responsible for the pre-existing condition itself – or for a recurrence that is not related to the accident in question. This is where things tend to become much more complicated. 

It can be difficult to pinpoint where a pre-existing condition ends and a new injury begins, and they may intertwine. As such, it is very likely that your medical records will be taken into very careful consideration moving forward. 


An Experienced Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Is Here to Help

The experienced Indiana personal injury attorneys at Blackburn Romey are well equipped to skillfully advocate for a favorable claim resolution that carefully addresses your pre-existing condition. For more information about how we can help, don’t wait to contact or call us today.

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.